Poor fruit on new peach tree

Asked July 17, 2020, 8:03 AM EDT

We bought a dwarf Redhaven peach from a local nursery. There were quite a few immature peaches visible on the tree when we bought in (maybe in May 2020?). It is planted in a sunny location, we thought we prepared the ground well and watered it regularly. When we picked the ripe fruit, almost all had blackened pits with worms visible. What can we do now and in the future to improve the quality of the fruit? Or is it hopeless and we should try to get our money back from the nursery? (I prefer to work on getting it back to health.)

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

Hi- transplanting a relatively large peach tree in May is quite stressful for the tree, even with regular watering. Fruit trees are usually planted in late winter/early spring while dormant or just beginning to push out new growth. Your tree's small root system was trying to support foliage and fruits. It's not surprising that it has struggled but the tree should recover if it is otherwise healthy- no canker diseases, borers, or root problems. Watering during dry periods is essential, including this fall and all next year.

1. flowers and fruits from newly planted peach trees should be removed for the first 2-4 years (depending on age and health of tree when planted) to direct energy to root system growth and establishment.
2. the insects inside the fruits were probably Oriental fruit moth larvae or plum curculio larvae. Pick up and dispose of all infested fruit to reduce the pest population.
3. Peach is vulnerable to quite a few diseases and pest insects. It is difficult to grow high-quality fruit without spraying pesticides. Please read our web pages on stone fruits and their problems and the VA Tech home fruit pest management guide which includes a spray schedule and recommended synthetic and organic pesticides (the fruit section begins on page 87):