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Peach Tree Disease Management Diary

April 18, 2008

I always dreamed of having a peach tree in my garden. When I was a child growing up on a farm, we didn’t have peaches, but I always wanted them. So, just after we bought our first home, I visited a local nursery to buy a tree for the new garden. I bought the tree even before we had moved into the house. We planned to make this tree a celebration of our new life in this house the moment we moved in.

2005_05_peach_bed_h.jpgPeaches belong to the genus Prunus. I planted a Prunus persica ‘Frost’ about 9 years ago. It was a very young tree that we sited in a protected location in our back garden. It was placed in a mid-sided bed on the north side of the property, between two buildings. It had plenty of room to spread and grow and received great morning (Easterly) light and mid-day light from the south. The tree was quite lovely — in some respects.

In its first year it developed Peach Leaf Curl. Because I was fairly naive about fruit tree care at the time, I took a sample of the deformed leaves to a Master Gardener Help desk at a local nursery. The rudest MG I’ve ever met scoffed at me saying, “I just don’t understand why home gardeners in Seattle think they should plant these trees here. They’re so disease prone.” She then explained that the tree had leaf curl and I needed to start spraying it regularly to control the disease. What she didn’t realize was that

  1. I had purchased the tree at the nursery where she was giving advice
  2. she was horribly rude and insulting
  3. The reason I grew the tree was because I love them and was told it would do well in my garden.
  4. There are alternative methods to controlling leaf curl!

2008_04_peach_dormant_h.jpgI decided to skip the spraying she was recommending and did some additional research on my own. I learned that if I picked the sick leaves off the plant and removed diseased debris from the ground around the tree I might control the disease through manual methods rather than chemical methods. For two growing seasons I followed this approach. I had some fear that I would defoliate the tree so much that it would starve, but the tree survived and as it became established, it no longer had the curled leaves. Occassionally, one or two leaves would exhibit signs of the problem, but it looked like the tree and I won out. (Also, I should note that I did do about 2 seasons of compost tea applications to the tree, which I believe, but cannot prove, helped strengthen the plant.)

Peach with FruitAfter the tree was about 3 years old and had defeated the curl problems, it began to flower nicely and begin producing significant fruit. Before I knew better, I did mal-prune the tree, essentially topping it. Later I was to learn that topping a tree is bad, but in the case of a peach it is sometimes done to encourage new growth on which fruiting occurs. So, a mistake somehow became okay. Over the next couple of years I began better pruning to correct or adjust my mistakes. And, I continued to harvest bumper crops of peaches. Family members came to love the peach jam that came at christmas. And we gorged ourselves on peach tart tatin, peach cobbler, grilled peaches on salads, fresh peaches and so forth. And then the real nasty stuff showed up!

2008_04_peach_ooze_v.jpgYes, my peach began showing signs of peach brown rot. Likely, it had the disease long before I knew to look for it. But, when I did learn what to look for, I recognized it right away. Twigs would start to leaf out and then die back, turning brown. Blossoms would cover the tree, and some would wither and turn brown. Brown ooze would show up in the crotches of the tree. And, finally, the fruit was affected by the disease and would mummify on the tree.2008_04_peach_mummy_v.jpg

I refused to do a lot of spraying on my tree, and I’ve heard that the spray methods often don’t help much anyway. Sure, I could have tried, but being a mostly organic gardener, I had no interest in going this route. So, I tried to pick the fruit a little green and use it before it turned into a mushy, nasty fuzzy grey mass. This worked a bit, but then the situation got even worse — rats decided this tree was their party banquet.

Rats! A sick tree! Inedible fruit! I was done.

2008_04_peach_stumpdug_h.jpgThe Seattle Times ran a piece on the various issues surrounding growing peaches and other fruit trees in our area. I suggest reading this article for additional information. (I will say here that in my experience ‘Frost’ does produce a very flavorful fruit, but if the fruit must be picked when young, due to disease issues, it gets a bit mealy and flavorless. Cooked or jammed it is just fine!) This article also discusses problems with growing cherries and apricots. Issues with apple and pear are an entirely other discussion.2008_04_peach_dug_h.jpg

So what’s next? Well, as you can see from the photos, our peach has been cut down and the stump has been dug out. Some suckers from the tree still exist, but they will be removed as we rework the entire area of the garden. (Yes, peaches sucker, which is another annoying thing about them in the residential garden.) The orange paint you see in the photos is part of our work in determining the flow of a new path we’ll install through the bed. azara_microphylla_haglund_1.jpg
The perennials will be moved and new trees added to provide them the shade they need. We’ve selected one tree, an Azara microphylla. And, I’ll be moving a Disanthus into this bed, but as for everything else, well I haven’t decided on everything just yet!

I guess I now know more about why the rude Master Gardener scoffed at a naive home gardener growning a peach. There really are better choices to be made. Still, I think the greatest lesson I learned from her attitude was to be kinder in teaching gardening lessons. None of us are born knowing everything, many of us learn through doing, and we look to our teachers for guidance and encouragement not ridicule.

February 2009 Update: If you’re interested in reading more about the renovation of this garden, here’s a bit on the Azara microphylla that went in. The beds are still evolving, so more to come later!


  1. susan says:

    This is just what I wanted to know. Except I was told what is happening can spead to other fruit trees that might be near by. The tree is loaded with peaches and sap oozing all over with cruled leaves and burnt leave droping constantly. The tree gets full and beautiful sun it is in the wee front garden here in Bisamberg Austria. My daughter will be heart broken to find the tree will need to go. But it is near 10 years old so I guess from what I read it has had a full like. Question however. Can any other tree be planted in its place or is the soil shot because of this.

    Thanks bunches this really helps. Suzy Just outside of beautiful Vienna Austria.

  2. rhaglund says:

    Suzy, glad this was helpful, and I’m sorry your peach tree!

    Brown rot is caused by a fungal infection that can rest in the soil. As well, it can spread easily to nearby plants as you were told. Because of this, I would look for a plant that is brown-rot resistant to replace any infected tree that you remove. Trees in the Prunus genus are particularly suceptible to this disease. Unfortunately, that includes plums, peaches, nectarines and cherries. Recently, I have read that apples can also fall victim to this nasty fungus.

    Thanks again for writing in.

  3. Tanya says:

    Thank you so much for your notes on peach leaf curl. I had picked off these leaves last year right away and the tree seemed to recover.
    However, this year it turned about 90% to curl it seemed overnight. I am not picking these leaves off one by one. I don’t want to spray either.
    I will certainly follow the recommendation re: compost tea.

    I have located the tree very close to forsythia bush. Well, it wasn’t close in the beginning but that “lovely” forsythia bush grows like a weed and I have a terrible time keeping it back. The ground covers quickly with new forsythia growth. Do you think this could be affecting the tree??

  4. rhaglund says:

    Forsythia can get quite crazy with new growth emerging far from the original plant. In my own garden, I cut mine to the ground each year just after flowering and watch it sprout right back up. I even chainsawed most of it out one year, and it still came back. Of course, I didn’t bother to remove the roots, so I get what I get, right?

    It certainly could be impacting the peach if its shoots are entertwining with the peach roots. They could be crowding each other for soil nutrients and for water. But, it is unlikely IMHO that the forsythia is causing any sort of peach leaf curl.

    Thanks for writing in. Please let me know if I can help further.

  5. lulu kelly says:

    I live in the central valley of California. The University of Washington and Dave Wilson Nursery are working on some varieties of Peaches that are not as prone to Peach Leaf Curl. I’m a twenty year veteran of the nursery business and I’m so sorry to hear about your experience with the snob at the Nursery. I use to teach my staff about making new gardeners educated.
    I love Fruit trees it’s my speciality. Remember it’s important to get good air circulation around fruit trees. The other important part is to buy rootstock that work in your area. Here we use different rootstocks then you would use. When you buy a package bareroot tree 60 percent of the roots have been remove to get in the package. You need to really cut the tree back to match that when you plant it. Thats why I perfer a nursery to get my bareroot.
    One of the other organic things I have read is that Austrailia is trying cover crops like nasturisums to catch spores popping from the soils. The jury is still out on this though.
    Good luck Lulu
    Bug Trapper Department of Agriculture.

  6. rhaglund says:


    Thanks for writing in. I’ll have to check out the nastursium trials you mentioned. Its very interesting. In our neck of the woods that would probably bring the problem of aphid infestations, but I bet there are other “catching” plants out there.

    I also find it interesting that you’re advocating cutting back the top growth on a tree to match root cut back. In my studies, I have learned that this is no longer appropriate transplant behavior. Instead, I have come to understand that it is more appropriate to allow the top growth to adjust on its own, allowing the tree to determine which portions it will release on transplant. Then, after the tree has rooted in and released any upper growth it cannot support, making more appropriate corrective pruning cuts. If you have reading references that support your asseration, please share them. Lifelong learning is important to me.

    Again, thanks!

  7. lulu kelly says:

    Nope I don’t have documentation (I wish had taken pictures) just years of being in the field. yes some people do wait to see where die back occurs.
    We have short springs so this may be why we have a harder time with hydration then other places and things suffer here. For us heading back works, but that’s why it’s best to check with your local nursery and professionals.
    I’ll be moving up to Port townsend shortly and reading your blog. I’m sure it will keep me learning what’s appropriate for the area. Thanks I believe in learning too!!! Thanks if I can be of any help let me know.

  8. rhaglund says:

    Thanks Lulu. Definitely keep in touch!

  9. Tanya says:

    Well, I did pick off all the peach tree curl leaves. Both trees are doing well. I will be removing the forsythia as much as possible. Your comments regarding the roots I believe to be accurate.

    We’ll see. I did notice one tree starting to ooze a sticky stuff. I am thinking apple trees next.

    However, we have a few really old apple trees that came with our property. They have not been taken care of for fruit harvest, but I would like to tackle one of them. Is it too late to cut it right back and try to domesticate it?

  10. rhaglund says:

    Tanya, I prefer to do my apple pruning in winter here in Seattle. It may be different where you are. That being said, it should be safe to prune out any dead, crossing or rubbing branches now. I find it much easier (on me and the tree) to do my major pruning in winter/early spring when the tree is dormant. Also, I recommend getting a hand-in-hand lesson from a professional so you know how and where to make proper cuts. And, using the right tools for each task can also really help. Cutting improperly (for instance “to shape” or “to top” a tree) can lead to worse problems down the road. Removing too much from a tree in any one growing season can also lead to problems. And, removing the wrong kind of branches can lead to problems and may even reduce fruiting very significantly.

    Reading more at plantamnest.org might help out with some basic pruning info. Also, check out the ISA website (http://www.isa-arbor.com/home.aspx) to find a certified arborist near you for help with your trees.

    As always, thanks for writing in. I hope all of your efforts pay off!

  11. Brian says:

    To whomever,
    A friend of mine has two peach trees in her back yard. They are about 20 ft apart and bloom profusely each spring but have yet to produce any fruit. One tree is about 12 years old….the other is six. No sign of leaf curl or seepage of sap. Could heavy pruning along with a specific fertilizer help? Open to and would appreciate any and all advice.


  12. rhaglund says:


    There are several reasons that the peach may not be producing fruit. Since it is blooming, I don’t know that any specific pruning with necessarily help. Is there any chance these are actually ornamental fruit trees? There are many cherry trees that bloom beautifully but never form fruit. Perhaps this is the case with these trees?

    Other things that might be happening…absence of pollenators to help set the fruit…storms blowing out blooms so fruit cannot be set…poor tree cultivar/it doesn’t set fruit well…

    I suggest your friend try to bring out a specialist in your area to evaluate the tree itself since so many things could be at issue.

    Good luck & thanks for writing in!

  13. Brian says:

    Thanks for the pointers on trying to determine why the lack of any fruit. Maybe I do need someone expert enough to be able to tell between an ornamental and a “regular” peach tree. Also need to be more informed in regard to how peach pollination is accomplished and what central Texas conditions could affect that.

    Thanks again

  14. Harry Nickerson says:

    I live 30 miles North of San Diego CA about 10 mileinland from the ocean.4 years ago I planted 6 Galaxy peach trees during the bare root season. For 2006 & 2007 I had a bumper beautifl crop. Last year 4 of them only partially budded and then proceeded to drop all leaves and the buds died back and had very few and very small fruit some of which turned brown.. I always sprayed my peach trees with an oil dormant spray and Daconil for peach leaf curl. I thought perhaps I had oversprayed. This spring these 4 trees have no cambium layer and are dry and stiff. After reading this I decided they died from brown rot. I have two questions. Can I put citrus in their place? and what can I do to protect the 2 peach trees that seem to have normal buds this year. Thanks for considering my problem

  15. rhaglund says:

    Harry, Thanks for writing in. I’m sorry to hear you’ve lost some of your trees. I’m not sure if there’s any reason you shouldn’t plant citrus in place of your peach trees. I suggest you talk with some growers in your area to learn more, however.

    As far as protecting the two trees that seem to be doing okay, it’s tough for me to make suggestions. The first thing I would do is lay off the spraying and try some organic control methods for the trees. Take a closer look to see if your trees have any dormant-season symptoms of brown rot — are they oozing now? If so, this systemic disease may continue to be a problem. If they aren’t oozing yet, be sure all the debris from the trees that are infected doesn’t get to these trees. Remove and dispose of the infected trees to help control spread.

    You might try checking out the ISA website for an arborist in your area who can evaluate your trees on site and help you with a long-term care program.

    Best of luck & thanks again for writing in.

  16. Harry Nickerson says:

    RHaglund: thanks very much for your rteply. I I foung it helpful. The trees that I assume are dead are not oozing sap. They lost their leaves in April/May last year, the buds dried up and had little or no fruit. What little fruit there was is now brown and mummified. When I sawer 1 off a foot above the ground, the trunk (2″ diameter) was dry and hard with no sign of the cambium layer. ON these dead trees there are no active buds, then, when I remove bark from a branch there is no moisture and no cambium. On the trees I consider live there are now buds and cambium. I will check these for oozing of sap. I nomally mulch these trees with wood chips to preserve moisture, but as a result of these posts u will rake everything out past the drip line and leave the ground bare uncer them at least for a year. I will dig out the 4 dead trees and not replace them with any stone fruit trees. I do have 3 Goldkist Apricot trees. One which is adjacent to a peach that failed, abt 12 ft, and one peach that survived, abt 10 ft. I am hoping the fungus does not spread to it.
    Thanks again for your insight

  17. Y. B. Fadana says:

    My peach tree are infested with a greyish flakky staff that is stuck on the barks. The trees have stopped producing and thre sterm is dying off from the inner side. I have taken some photo of the staff. I can e-mail those photos.

    Please help.

  18. rhaglund says:

    Y.B. – It sounds like your tree has lichens growing on it, which doesn’t harm the tree. However if the stems are dead and the bark is peeling off, it may be that the tree is indeed dead. The living part of the tree is just under the bark layer. If you would like to submit photos for review, please fill out the help form, and we will contact you for next steps. Or, take a sample to your local Master Gardeners to see if they can help diagnose the issue.

  19. Jim Hesson says:

    I have Red Haven Peach Trees. They are in a small orchard along with 6 apple trees. This spring. one tree has fully bloomed the others just a few. In the past, the trees have produced large amounts of small fruit. Do I need to remove some of this fruit in order to get larger fruit? This is the 1st spring that the trees are getting tent catapillars, I’ve used a all season spray in the past. When is the best time to spray after blossom, and how often? I live in SE pennsylvania, and all my trees have just bloomed with the summer like weather that we have experienced.

  20. rhaglund says:

    Jim, yes, knocking off some of the small fruit should encourage the other fruits to become larger. I suggest you check with your local fruit tree societies or with a local arborist or horticulturist — one with a pesticide applicator’s license — to find out more about what to spray and when for your particular pest. Here is a useful post on controlling Western Tent Caterpillar in a variety of ways. I imagine the Eastern Tent control would be similar: http://toxipedia.org/wiki/display/ipmopedia/Tent+Caterpillar.

  21. Brian says:

    This forum has been very helpful. I am actually having a problem with my peach tree. My tree produced fruit for the first time since I planted it 10 yrs ago but the fruit was brown and not useable. This year I tried to do proper maintenance on the tree so I pruned limbs and branches (there was a fairly large one that had to be sawed off) that were not producing leaves after it finished blooming last month and I also sprayed it with Spectracide fungicide and also poured half cup of Bayer 12-18-6 fertilizer and insect control at the base of the drunk during the rain. It has started producing fruit (some the size of a golf ball so far) so I sprayed it again 3 weeks later to be safe and to make sure it would be ok. Well a week later, about 15% of the leaves are turning yellow, and are even turning brown and dying. I have some pictures, but I’m trying to diagnose what is wrong with the tree and to see what I can do to correct it and also give it proper care and maintenance going forward. Any help that you can provide will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  22. rhaglund says:


    I’m not sure what the problem has been with your tree/why the fruit was turning brown. Have you taken samples to a lab or fruit tree society or a master gardener or arborist near you to to have the problem fully diagnosed? That’s where I’d go to start.

    Also, was the fertilizer you applied designed for fruit trees? It sounds awfully high in nitrogen for a fruit tree. It could be “burning” the tree out.

    And, personally, I try to stay away from anything that’s a blended fertilizer and insecticide. Heck, I stay away from fungicides as well.

    So, get a local diagnosis. Know what’s going on with the tree to know what program to follow to manage it.

    Good luck!

  23. Carol Jo says:

    Hello, I was given 5 fruit trees for my birthday on the 22nd of april, 3 apple, 1 nectarine and a peach. All of the trees are still in the pots that they came in as I have not had the time to plant them yet. I live in the High Desert of California. I water them daily. Today I noticed that the peach tree seems to be wilting. It has been very windy here for the past week. I was wondering if I should be concerned? Also how much should I be watering them and how often?
    Thank you
    Carol Jo

  24. rhaglund says:

    Watering is tougher than we think. Ideally, you water when the plant needs it. If you keep the soil too moist you can suffocate the roots of the trees. If you let it dry out too much, you can deprive it of much needed water. So, the answer is to water when the soil is no longer moist, but not fully dried out. Water thoroughly so that the soil saturates and then drains. If the soil is really dry or the plants are root bound or the trees are grown/packed in clay, you may need to water multiple times to saturate the soil. If the trees are rootbound, you may need to water multiple times a day to keep the roots moist. When they’re rootbound, the pots don’t hold as much water. Watering is tricky despite seeming to be an easy thing to do.

    Best bet, get those trees in the ground and keep them watered there. Then they’ll have the entire planet for their roots to explore.

  25. Marty Foote says:

    I have two peach trees and of course when I planted them they had a few peaches on them. They are 2 1/2 years old now and I have yet to have peaches since I first planted them. I get the small peach after they bloom but they tend to dry up and fall off. What are they lacking?????

  26. rhaglund says:

    Marty, It’s really hard to say based on this information, what’s happening with your peach tree. You might consider hiring a local horticulturist on site to evaluate the trees, soil, site and so forth to help you correctly determine the root of the issue. Best of luck.

  27. Mike D says:

    I just had my garden done by a landscaper. I live in CO and wanted a fruit tree and he suggested a peach tree.

    It is a dwarf peach tree, which was just planted 2 weeks ago. It already had small peaches growing on the tree. Today I noticed quite a few of the peaches have a black spot with what looks like sap oozing from the spot.

    Does anyone know what this might be and what I should do?

  28. rhaglund says:

    Could be brown rot. Contact your local fruit tree society or master gardeners for help identifying to be certain. Often knocking the fruit off a newly planted tree is a good idea. It takes a lot of energy for the plant to produce fruit, and in the first phase of its life in your garden you may want it to focus that energy on rooting in rather than production. Good luck!

  29. Gale Stryker says:

    I haave a peach tree that was on the property when purchased 6 years ago it make fruit and then it begins to ooze clear sticky jelly like substace at the stem of the fruit at about golf ball size so far I have not seen the fruit mature is this brown rot

  30. Erich says:

    In the reply to Brian “Also, was the fertilizer you applied designed for fruit trees? It sounds awfully high in nitrogen for a fruit tree. It could be “burning” the tree out.”

    What is a good recomendation for nitrogen content for fertilizer for a peach/apricot and cherry trees. I have a feeling that I might be doing that to my trees. I leave near Seattle (Gig Harbor), and my peach tree leaves show no signs of curl. But they yellow out, they turn orange and fall off. It looks like fall. IT has small brown spots on the leave that eventually fall off, but not on the others.

  31. rhaglund says:

    Gale- could be brown rot; sure sounds like it. Take a sample to your local nursery, fruit tree society or master gardener for confirmation. Or, call in an arborist or local gardening consultant.

    Erich – I’d take a sample to your local nursery, fruit tree society or master gardener for confirmation on the leaf spotting. As well, before fertilizing, it’s a good idea to test your soil to see what’s available (or not available) to the tree already. Mature trees often do just fine without any added fertilizers. Here’s a link to the Seattle Fruit Tree society, which serves your area as well: http://www.geocities.com/wcfsfruit/STFS_Welcome.html

  32. Laura says:

    I got a great deal on 2 peach trees. Planted in 5 gallon buckets. Some of the trees at
    the nursery were wilted, had yellow leaves that were dropping off, at least 1/3 of the upper stems were bare. the trunks were turning yellow with brown spots. I chose the
    trees that were all green but a little wilted and had dead ends that needed to be cut off. I figured I could keep them healthy. They do look better but still seem to wilt and now some of the leaves on my trees are turning yellow and falling off. They are about 3 feet tall. what can I do to save them?

  33. rhaglund says:

    Sometimes a great deal on sick plants isn’t really a great deal; sometimes it is. So, to give them a fighting chance:
    Plant them.
    Prune out the dead using sterilized shears and sterilizing between cuts. Monitor for disease.
    Water as needed.
    Fertilize as needed.
    Talk to your trees.
    Spin a prayer wheel.
    Hope for the best.

    Good luck!

  34. I purchased 2 dwarf peach trees 7 years ago. It is apparent they are not dwarf. This year and most years, they have so many leaves, I cannot spray them properly. Most years they have huge crops of fruit of which we get about half because of brown rot. We try to keep the mummies off and pickd from the ground. Brown rot is not the problem I seek an answer for, how can I eliminate all the foliage so I can take care of the tree properly.

  35. rhaglund says:

    Juniort, if you are fertilizing your trees you may be causing them to put on loads of green leafy growth. Holding back on that might reduce the foliage growth. Remember that your tree needs leaves to photosynthesize, so eliminating foliage isn’t really an option. And, I’m curious about what you’re spraying on your tree and when. It may be that you could be doing a dormant season care program when the leaves aren’t an issue. Good luck!

  36. elly miller says:

    I have the opposite problem from Junior Poling My Babcock peach, which is about fifteen or twenty years old, produces many fine peaches, but this year there are few leaves. I did fertilize with the usual amount of nitrogin, could it be a lack of water?

  37. rhaglund says:

    Elly, did it leaf out and then lose leaves or just not create leaves? Also, how are you fertilizing it? Have you tested the soil? Examined for pests?

  38. Eddie says:

    I have 2 peach trees that get leaf curl early in the season but somehow recovers each year some years I get loads of peaches and some years very few is this common? Also are carpenter ants harmful to the trees? The trees are about 17 years old how long before they die or need to be cut down I really love the trees and would be heartbroken if they died. And I dont have the heart to cut them down. Sad in Chicago any advice?

  39. rhaglund says:

    Eddie, if your tree is productive and relatively healthy, there’s no reason to cut it down. Just stay on top of the curl and enjoy it. If you feel you need an evaluation, look for an arborist or fruit tree society in your area to help you with your tree. Enjoy…those peaches must be close to harvest. I’m jealous!

  40. Linda says:

    I live in CA central valley and have two peach trees, one we planted this year in May and the other is several years old. Last year after we harvested all the peaches from the mature tree, I noticed all the leaves on one of the main branches turning yellow and falling off even though it was only August and still very warm outside. The following spring it was obvious that the branch was dead since no leaves came back on it. So we cut it off when we pruned the tree, which we sort of pruned severely since we hadn’t pruned for two years since we are just learning about caring for fruit trees. We fertilized both in the spring and water about once a week mostly. Anyway, we just harvested all the peaches this year, and now we have leaves turning yellow and falling off all over both of our peach trees. Not sure what’s wrong. Would like to keep them from dying. Appreciate any suggestions. Thanks.

  41. rhaglund says:

    Linda — try getting a local ISA-certified arborist or fruit tree specialist out to look at your trees. Mine usually started yellowing and dropping leaves not too long after fruit harvest, but I didn’t have dieback that you’re describing. So…probably need to have an on-site evaluation done. Could be a systemic issue since it seems to be repeating and spreading. Good luck & enjoy those peaches! This is the time of year I miss my old tree!

  42. I have two peach trees planted this past spring and one nectaurine and they all have small holes in the leaves. Every leaf is affecteed. I have sprayed weekly but it does not appear to be doing any good. Do you know what this could be and how to control it??


    Bobby Davidson

  43. rhaglund says:

    Bobby, thanks for writing in. Hard to say what’s wrong with the tree. What are you spraying and why did you pick this spray? Was the tree problem diagnosed before a spray was applied? If not, you might be using the wrong tool for the job. Try taking samples of your tree to a Master Garden Workshop or to your local fruit tree society or hire an arborist to come to your site to give you a proper diagnosis and care protocol.

    Best of luck. Hope you got some fruit from these trees. Now’s the time!

  44. Judy L. says:

    I planted a Red Haven Peach tree 10 years ago. It was a healthy looking tree, but did not have a single fruit on it for the first six years. On the 7th year it finally bloomed and had small but great tasting peaches.

    I put some fruit tree fertilizer stakes around the base of the trunk, and the 8th year it was covered with wonderful peaches. So many, in fact that they knocked other peaches off, as they grew, until there were piles of peach pits under the tree at the end of the season. The weight of all the peaches was so great that even large branches began to break off. Because of all these large broken branches, I had to severly prune and cut back branches and paint the open cuts.

    The 9th year only produced a couple of blooms and no peaches. Now the 10th year is here and there was not one bloom or peach on the tree. And on some of the pruned branches there is a scale, with some of the large branches, completely void of leaves. Also the sticky jelly substance is seen. Is it time to cut this tree down? Please advise.

  45. rhaglund says:

    Judy, from your description, your tree may be on its way out already. Consider bringing in a fruit tree specialist or arborist to evaluate it in person for best recommendations or take a sample and photos to your local fruit tree society or a Master Gardener Workshop to have it evaluated. Good luck & thanks for writing in.

  46. S Brown says:

    Here is some useful info on caring for fruit trees by Michael Phillips in NH:

  47. jim says:

    My peach tree is 9 years old, I have lived here 4. The first year the tree was loaded with peaches, but the leaves had the curl that I have been reading about on this site. I did not spray nor will I ever. The second year the frost got it, last year I had 5 peaches, squirrels got 4, wind got 1. This year it’s loaded with little peaches, but the branches are seeping large amounts of a clear sap and some of the leaves are turning brown and falling off. Is my tree dying of old age? For my second problem. I planted a new peach from seed, the first year it grew 20 inches, and then one of my dogs chewed the top 10 inches off. Now this year it has 15 new shoots making it look like an upside down umbrella. Will those branches hold up the weight of the peaches or will they snap, or should I replant n w ohio

  48. terri saelzer says:

    i have a clear gel on my peaches. Is this some sort of disease? This is a mature tree that has had plenty of fruit with n problem

  49. Terri…could be. Hard to tell without seeing in person. Try asking a local arborist or extension office. Good luck!

  50. DALE FISHER says:


  51. Things to consider:

    Did you knock off some of the fruit?
    Did the tree drop some of the smaller fruit earlier this season?
    Have you read the article/have you ruled out or identified the disease problem?
    Have you taken samples to a specialist/arborist/extension agency/master gardener near you?

    I can’t say it often enough: without seeing the problem in person, its nearly impossible to verify what’s what.

    Sorry to hear the peach is declining; I’ve been there. Get a pro in to help.

  52. […] ago, we took out our peach tree because of pest & disease issues that simply weren’t worth trying to manage any longer. […]

  53. DJ says:

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your peach tree. I’ve just begun growing them, and your experience and article are invaluable. Seeing that tree laying over is so sad. You gave it your best try though, and stayed organic, so that’s a very good thing. I hope you can get more peach trees later, and not have this problem.
    Blessings, DJ

  54. Thanks DJ. Fortunately, I can buy locally grown organic peaches at the local farmer’s market. Now, where the peach tree grew, I keep honeybees, and they’re working much better than that tree ever did!

  55. Laurel Slaninka says:

    I have a peach tree that began oozing a huge amount of jelly-like substance about a month ago. I peeled back the bark and exposed a opening in the tree tissue and it was brown. Do I have brown rot? I had one peach this year and it was delicious so would like to save the tree. It is 5″ in dia. at base and about 15′ tall. I am on a rental farm property so cannot afford to spend $ on the tree. However, I would like to save it. I have put lime down around it so far. I’ve checked for borers but don’t see any holes. Help! Thanks.

  56. Laurel, the jelly ooze sounds like brown rot, but without seeing and testing your tree in person there’s no way to guarantee what’s what. Our peach gave delicious fruit for several years even with the infection. Avoid spreading the jelly stuff and don’t peel off the bark!

  57. Jessica Babb says:

    I just moved and there a peach tree It looks like it hasnt been pruned in a couple years. It already has begun growing peaches but some of the leafs are curling up and looks like they have mold on them. Some look like bugs are eating it. Some parts of the tree have big brown things on it (looks like round balls). Are the peaches still gonna be good to eat or not? This is are first time dealing with a peach tree.

  58. Jessica, It sounds like your tree may have leaf curl and other issues, but it may still produce fruit. Best bet: bring in an arborist or tree fruit specialist in your area to do an in person evaluation.

  59. Crystal says:

    Hey there. We have a saturn peach tree, new this year. Early on, the growth was great, leaves were full and green, etc. Now, we have dieback on the tips of branches, leaves wilted and dried and there is blackened and dried sap at many axils. We found a mention of boron deficiency on one blog. Any suggestions as to whether this is correct? Thanks!

  60. Crystal, it could be brown rot. Hard to say though. A lot of disease issues look alike. Try taking a sample to your local extension office or bring in an Arborist for complete diagnosis. Soil testing may reveal some answers as well.

  61. […] could be that your peach has a disease like I discuss here. Enough disease and a tree may experience tip or blossom dieback and not be able to produce. Or, […]

  62. Ingrid Buxton says:

    Frost is evidently one of the leaf curl resistant varieties, especially after they are 3 years old. Picking the leaves off doesnt really help the tree as it will push out new leaves which force the disease leaves off the tree. I had mine sprayed with a copper fungicide which I consider organic enough. This year I ordered the spray again but they didnt tell me they had discontinued using copper fungicides and sprayed with dormant oil and now my peach has leaf curl again. I have been told that peaches are just not very long lived. So if my peach doesnt make it I will be getting a Frost variety and just spray the tree myself.

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