PREVENTING MOLD FROM DESTROYING MY APRICOTS AND PEACHES
I HAVE CHICKENS AND AM CONCERNED ABOUT USUNG PESTICIDES ON MY FRUIT TREES; HOWEVER I HAVE BEEN LOSING ALL OF MY NECTARINES AND MOST OF MY PEACHES O MOLD. WHAT CA I DO
Prince George's County Maryland
It sounds like you may be describing brown rot.
Brown rot is a common, destructive fungal disease that makes growing stone fruit (peaches, plums, nectarines) a challenge for Maryland homeowners. Our overly wet weather last year and this makes it even worse.
Sanitation and properly timed fungicide sprays help to combat the disease. The fungus overwinters in twig cankers and in mummified fruit that is left hanging on the tree or has dropped to the ground. So, pick off and dispose of infected fruit (and fruit stems) from the tree and rake up any that have fallen around the tree.
Prevention starts early with labeled fungicides when the blooms are between 5-10% open, at full bloom, and about 2 weeks prior to harvest. It is best to apply fungicides before a rain event is predicted instead of waiting until after. Additional cover sprays will be necessary if we are experiencing a cool, wet spring and summer. Rotating fungicides helps to reduce the fungus from becoming resistant to the preventative sprays.
We are not livestock specialists, but we'd think that done carefully a distance from the chickens (or keep them in the coop during applications) fungicides should not be an issue.
You will want to read through the links on our webpage on stone fruits and their care here: https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/stone-fruit-peaches-cherries-plums-apricots-nectarines