6 Common Peach Diseases & Insects and How to Stop Them?

Peach Diseases
Peach Diseases

In this short blog, we are going to discuss “Common Peach Diseases”. Dr. Arlie Powell at Auburn University used to say, “Peaches are the queen of the fruit.” They are, perfect. I like all kinds of fruit, but peaches are super good. But they have a lot of issues.

They are, hard to grow. My hat is off to commercial peach producers. Because they have insects and diseases. You know, a lot of fruits have insects and diseases. Peaches have one or two insects that can kill them. They have one or two diseases that can kill them.

If you don’t control those, then you’re going to have real problems. So let’s talk about diseases of peaches. We’re going to start with brown rot.

Common Peach Diseases

Brown rot

Brown rot is a very common Peach Disease that affects the twigs. It’ll affect the leaves and it affects the fruit. On the fruit, it gets its name brown rot from the way it looks on the fruit. The whole peach will turn brown starting as a little small spot on the peach and it will spread and it will eventually envelop the entire peach the entire thing and it’s just a brown rot.

Peach Diseases
Peach Diseases
Peach Diseases

And on leaves, the way it affects leaves is the spots on the leaves and the spots will grow.

Peach Diseases

And the twigs, discoloration on the twigs that it’ll die. The fuzz on a peach, the fuzz interferes with the spores attaching and a nectarine is naked.

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Common Peach Diseases and Insects and How to Prevent Them 1 39 screenshot
Common Peach Diseases and Insects and How to Prevent Them 1 44 screenshot

So brown rot is worse on nectarines than they’re on peaches. So that’s why we go with preventative fungicide applications on peaches.

Best fungicide for peach brown rot

  • Captan
  • Boscalid
  • Myclobutanil
  • Thiophanate-methyl

Read more about Brown Rot

Peach leaf curl

Peach leaf curl. What does that look like? – Peach leaf curl is pretty self-explanatory. The leaves will kind of curl and they’ll be light, discolored, they’ll be yellow and then they’ll eventually fall off.

Peach leaf curl
Peach leaf curl
Peach leaf curl

Phony Peach

So let’s talk a little bit about phony peach. Phony peach is a devastating disease of peaches. It spends part of its life cycle on a plum tree and part of its life cycle on a peach tree. And it will kill both of them. On plum trees, it’s called plum leaf scald.

On peach trees, it’s a phony peach. And the symptoms that you’ll see. You know, peach leaves are folded kind of like a boat, – Right? – If they open up and they’re flat and they don’t have that fold to them, that’s a good indication that you might have phony peach.

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And it’s caused by a rickettsia-type organism that’s spread by leaf hoppers. Feeds on a plum tree and then feeds on a peach tree and spreads that organism.

Phony Peach
Phony Peach

That’s why we don’t recommend planting plum trees next to peach trees. And also even wild plums. If they’re close, can be a vector or a source of infection.

Common Peach Pests and Insects

Plum curculio

Curculio. You’d like to talk about that one a lot. Plum curculio is the most devastating insect that affects peaches, plums, and nectarines. The symptom of that is easy, on a small fruit you’ll see a little crescent-shaped scar.

Common Peach Diseases and Insects and How to Prevent Them 3 42 screenshot
Plum curculio

Because the adult will land on the fruit. She’ll cut a little opening and then she’ll lay an egg underneath that flap and go on about her business. And that egg will hatch, and little larvae or grub will burrow throughout the fruit.

Plum curculio

Plum curculio

and eventually damage the whole fruit. And most of the time, the fruit will fall off. But if you go out there, if you haven’t been spraying your peaches and you go out there and there’s a little crescent-shaped scar on the fruit, it’s already infected.

Plum curculio

White Peach scale

Alright, so let’s move to the peach scale. The peach scale is a white scaly substance. Peach scale is one of the insects that can kill peach trees. Every limb that the scale completely encircles will die. If it completely encircles the trunk of the tree, the trunk will die. Now in our area, here in the Memphis area, there are three generations of peach scale per year.

White Peach scale
White Peach scale
White Peach scale

You get further south down toward the Gulf Coast, they have four generations per year. The crawlers that as these generations occur, the crawlers are easy to kill. The malathion will kill them. but when you see the white adult structures on the plant, insecticides can’t get to the scale and they’re pretty much ineffective.

Oil, the oils will, if you spray with oil that will take care of the adults. But if you, if you’re at the point where you’ve already got the adults showing up there, you better get to work with the oil very, very quickly.

Peachtree borer

So, all right. So let’s get to the borer – Peachtree borer, insect number two that can kill your tree. A symptom of a peachtree borer is gum oozing out of the base or the lower trunk of a peach tree. What it is, is that tree is trying to flush that borer out. And it’s like, you get something in your eye, your trees trying to flush it out, but it can’t, it won’t do it. It can’t do it.

Peachtree borer
Peachtree borer
Peachtree borer
Peachtree borer

Peachtree disease treatment, Pests and insects treatment

The cover sprays, basically captan or sulfur plus malathion. That’s what we recommend for cover sprays. Chlorothalonil is also recommended, during bloom. To spray fruit trees, you, to do it correctly, you need to go with a dormant spray or oil during dormancy.

Peachtree disease treatment

at bloom, you need to go in and spray with the captan. Do not mix insecticide with fungicide during bloom. Anytime that it’s blooming, because we don’t want to hurt the honeybees, but fungicides don’t do that.

and it’s important to apply fungicides during bloom. The petal, at petal fall, when most of the petals have fallen off, go back in there with, and I would probably mix it up a little bit. You could use captan, but sulfur or chlorothalonil is recommended at petal fall. When the petals are all off, include your insecticide and your malathion. So that’s where you could go with a regular home orchard spray that’s already mixed up for you.

I prefer to mix my own because if you use the same home orchard spray all the time, you’re using the same fungicide all the time, and you may get some resistance issues. So I don’t like that. So that’s why I would have some captan and I would have some chlorothalonil. Those are the two that I would use.

and so, we talk petal fall use either captan or chlorothalonil plus malathion. And then when the shuck splits, the same thing, captan or sulfur or chlorothalonil plus malathion. And then when the fruit forms, and this is 7 to 10 days later either captan or sulfur plus malathion, and you do that throughout the growing season. every 7 to 10 days.

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If it doesn’t rain, you can stretch it out to 10 days. – Right. – If it rains, just assume you didn’t spray. You want to keep a protective coat, a protective coat of fungicide. And, the insecticide needs to be there for when to meet the plum curculio when she’s looking for a place to lay her egg.

Hopefully, there’s malathion there on that little fruit when she lands. – That’s a lot of spraying. – In addition, to the cover sprays, and this is up until, you know, close to harvest, you know. In addition, to control the peachtree borer, you need to use esfenvalerate or gamma-cyhalothrin. One of these two insecticides.

Peachtree disease treatment

You spray the trunk and lower limbs of the peach tree, on May 31st, June 30th, and July 15. And that’s when the females’ going to be out there trying to lay eggs on the bark or on the lower portion of that tree. And then you can do another application after harvest.

You don’t want to apply this within 14 days of harvest. So depending on the variety that you’ve got. Now, there are a lot of problems you don’t see with peaches if you go with a regular spray program. – Right. But you have to have a spray program.