Peach Tree Disease

Asked May 19, 2015, 4:29 PM EDT

For the last 2 years my peach trees had a good crop and right before they ripen all fruit shrivels and turns fuzzy brown. Is this Peach Tree Fungus Disease and what should I use to treat and when? Trees are several years old and produced two crops before disease set in. Full sun and water fairly good soil. One tree looks like it may die. I have a small yard orchard and besides peach I have apple, pear, cherry, raspberry and blueberry.

Frederick County Maryland

1 Response

This is Brown Rot, the most common fruit disease of peaches in Maryland. It is a fungal disease and typically, just as you have observed, the fruit looks terrific until is starts to swell and ripen, then it turns brown and fungal growth covers the exterior. The hard shriveled fruit as called "mummies."

This fungal disease required a fungicide spray schedule to combat it. The disease overwinters in mummies, fruit stems, and in cankers on small branches. Warem, rainy weather during the bloom period will greatly increase the amount of disease.

Non chemical management includes:
1.removing mummies from the ground the tree, including fruit stems
2. harvesting prior to full ripeness (complete ripening indoors)
3. a thin mulch of yard compost during the growing season spread under the tree may reduce brown rot incidence

Sprays (captan or immunox) are critical (especially during wet springs)to apply at least:
1. when blooms begin to open (5-10% are open)
2. at full bloom
3. 2 weeks prior to harvest

Organic growers use sulfur sprays.