Peach tree wood rot issues

Asked June 4, 2016, 1:08 PM EDT

I have a peach tree that is about 7 years old and has produced fruit 3 out of past 5 years (mainly due to spring frost / early springs). It generally produces a good health crop even though it often has leaf curl. There are a few additional issues that I'm unable to identify, but would like to get some help to treat the tree if possible.

There are small black bulbs on the bottom sides of most of the branches along with some very small oblong shaped blue-grey speck on the branches. There is also a fungus (I think) growing on the center of the tree, but I'm not sure if it is related or not. The fruit is still young at this point and looks healthy.

Wayne County Michigan

3 Responses

I have bad news. The brown bumps are tortoise shell scale. This insect sucks the sap from the tree weakening it. Scale insects are hard to kill because of their hard shell. Control is usually with the dormant oils applied during the early spring before growth begins.
The white fungi is a serious problem. It looks like White bracket fungi (Irpex lacteus). There is no cure or treatment. The fungus lives on the wood of the trunk and eventually the limbs will break because of the soften, weaken wood. I have seen a fair amount of this fungus and I think the initial infections took place following the winters of 2014 and 2015 which injured the trunks and branches of the tree.
I think you should plan on replacing the tree in the next few years. If you have the space you can plant one next spring and remove this one as it starts to collapse.
I attach a picture of whit bracket fungus on a tart cherry tree

Thanks for the quick and comprehensive reply. While not great news it does allow me to plan ahead to replace the tree. Is there anything routine and preventative that can be done to protect the tree from issues like this. I usually use fertilizer stakes and prune in the early spring and spray with copper sulfate in the late fall, but that is about it.

Maintaining a healthy tree is the most effective means to reduce wood rots. You might want to add a dormant oil spray to control San Jose scale every 2 or 3 years. Avoid really large cuts if you can. I really think the cold winters of 2014 and 2015, which killed a lot of peach trees in Michigan set your tree up with injury and the fungus took advantage. As I said I have see a lot of it recently. Last fall, I visited a cherry orchard where most of the trees had it.