Peach tree problems

Asked August 10, 2017, 5:18 PM EDT

Hello. My peach tree is about 8 years old (only 1 on my Dewitt property) and is barely yielding peaches anymore. I had a lot of problems over the years with leaf curl and I was treating with copper fungicide in the fall. I feel I have gotten that under control as I no longer have a ton of leaf drop but despite my 100s of flowers on the tree this spring I only got about 7 peaches and they were very diseased and destroyed by bugs. I'm trying to stay organic or atleast use as little of anything as possible. Below are some pictures of what I believe to be signs of disease. What would a typical yearly spray or treatment regimen look like? My husband keeps threatening to cut it down if I can't figure out disease control.

Clinton County Michigan

1 Response

Your problem is not diseases but insects. You did not say if your lack of fruit was this year or every year. There was a widespread freeze in Michigan on May 8 that affected tree fruit across Michigan. It was cold enough in the Lansing area to significantly reduce the fruit at the MSU campus so I would think you lost the peaches after bloom to that freeze.
The pictures you sent indicate several other problems as well. The gumming of the tree is a general symptom much like you running a fever when you are sick but the ooze around the pruning cut and the ooze at the base of the branch in the upper left corner of your picture could be caused by Lesser peach borer. Here is a link to more information on this pest. Commercial growers use insecticides to prevent this pest and larger growers will use pheromone disruption to prevent the males mating with the females. This approach works best with large acreages of peaches and is not very effective with single trees and small home plantings. Home owners have access to fruit tree spray mixes that include the active ingredient spinosad. This is considered a natural or organic insecticide and will help reduce the population. You can look in garden stores or large stores with garden sections for fruit tree sprays and borer sprays. Since you do not spray you should also inspect the lower portion of the trunk near the ground to see if you also have peach tree borer. Growers will spray the trunk and lower branches for borers in mid to late June and July. Two sprays usually give good control. You can also dig the larvae out of the tree. You might search the internet for other control options. I attach a graph of the typical emergence pattern of lesser peach tree borer in Michigan.
The misshapen shoot and wormy peach are most likely Oriental fruit moth. There is a link to more information on this pest. It is a major pest of peaches and apples. I attach a graph of the typical emergence pattern of OFM in Michigan. There are 3 to 4 generations a year in Michigan and the first generation emerges at bloom time and attacks the shoot tips later generations usually attack the fruit but in your cause continued to attack the shoot tips.