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Juicy peaches are delicious fruits that we can eat as they are or use for desserts. Unfortunately, peach trees can get diseases that will affect not only the fruits but might even cause the tree to die. Check out the next sections to find out about the most common peach tree disease and how to treat them, so you can enjoy fresh, healthy peaches for years to come.
1. Crown Gall
Crown gall is a common disease among numerous plants. Although it may not lead to the death of your peach trees, this disease can stop fruit production if not treated. You can identify this disease by the irregular shapes growing on the crown, roots, branches, trunks, or stems. In the beginning, these tumors are small and quite soft when touched, then they harden as the disease advances.
When not treated, the crown gall can stop fruit production because it stops the circulation of water and nutrients. This disease can be easily prevented by dipping the seedlings into an antibacterial wash before you plant them. Make sure your trees do not get injured and keep pests at bay.
2. Peach Leaf Curl
When you see the peach leaf curl, as shown in the picture above, it’s already too late to treat your peach tree. This is caused by fungi that, as expected, thrive in a wet and warm environment. The disease affects leaves and fruits, so you will be able to see thickened leaves or swellings that turn red. The compromised leaves wilt and fall while peaches rot.
Peach leaf curl must be prevented. If the weather goes above 50F, the fungus may affect your peach trees. To avoid this, spray your peach trees with a spray that contains a copper fungicide. The best time to do so is in fall, after all leaves fell to the ground, and once again in early spring, right before the new buds open.
3. Bacterial Spot
The bacterial spot can cause you to lose the entire peach production if it is severe. It is a pathogen that grows on fruits, leaves, and twigs. You can identify this disease by the tiny dark-colored lesions that appear on leaves. The affected part dies, leaving a hole behind, then wilting the entire leaf. Peaches are vulnerable to rot due to these cracks. To treat this disease, you should use a copper-based fungicide to spray your tree in the fall when the leaves start to yellow and drop to the ground.
4. Bacterial Canker
Bacterial canker causes weeping cankers on the affected trees. It is a severe disease that can kill your peach trees because it stops them from carrying nutrients and water, although it does not affect the roots. You will notice long and oozing cankers on the trunk, bud bases, or limbs of your peach tree. It also has a sour smell.
To treat bacterial canker, use a highly concentrated spray with copper-based fungicides. Then, prune the damaged twigs and stems from 2-3 inches behind the canker. If the disease affects the trunk, call a professional. Sterilize pruning tools between trees to avoid contamination.
5. Brown Rot
Brown rot is one of the most common diseases that affect peach trees. It is caused by fungi and spreads extremely quickly to fruits, shoots, and flowers. Brown rot affects healthy trees in the spring; the common symptoms include wilting flowers, twigs with cankers, and peaches that have brown spots, rotting very quickly. As shown above, affected fruits get covered in spores.
To treat this disease, make sure you remove all the affected fruits from the trees and the ground. Prune the peach trees during winter to remove all cankers. Use a safe fungicide solution every 10 or 14 days at full bloom. Once the peaches start to mature, spray them every week.
6. Shot Hole Blight
Shot hole blight affects numerous fruit trees, including peach ones. The fruits, buds, twigs, and leaves have lesions. You can initially notice these small spots, especially in wet weather. Copper fungicide is effective against this disease. Spray it either in the fall, after the leaves drop, or before the buds open in the spring.
Have you noticed falling leaves lately? If these leaves have rust-like dead spots, your peach tree is most likely affected by fungal rust. In an early stage, the leaf develops bright yellow spots, turning darker as the infection becomes more severe. Rust can also affect the fruits. You can use sulfur fungicide in the spring to treat this disease.
8. Peach Scab
This is another disease caused by fungi that can destroy your entire peach production this season. Although the infection takes place in spring, symptoms appear later. You can notice raised, unsightly spots on the shoots, fruits, and leaves. Once you see the peach scab symptoms, it cannot be treated anymore. To prevent the disease, spray your tree with a sulfur fungicide after the flowers drop. It’s recommended to spray it three times, leaving about 7-10 days between each application.
9. Powdery Mildew
Green fruits can be affected by powdery mildew, but this can also develop on new shoots or leaves. This disease is often spread by apple trees and rose bushes. In an early stage, you can notice white spots on your green peaches, turning into brown, cracked areas that can lead to rot. To treat this disease, you need to remove the affected tree parts when pruning it.
10. Peach Mosaic
Peach mosaic is caused by a virus spread by mites. You will notice small and deformed leaves with yellowish hues. Fruit production is stunted, while affected fruits are lumpy and small. There is no treatment for this disease, so you can only remove the affected tree. Although it may survive a few seasons, it will not bear fruits.