KC Gardens

Elberta peach trees

Q&A

I have two Elberta Peach trees. How do I know when to spray them? I really want to spray sparingly, if that’s possible with peach trees. Are some sprayings more critical than others? - Diane -

Comments

  1. 1 year, 10 months ago

    Hi Diane,

    Developing a spray program for your home orchard needs to take into consideration a number of factors.

    1. What is your goal? Are you expecting large quantities of perfect quality fruits? Or, would you be happy with just being able to get some “pretty good” fruits most years?

    2. How much are you willing to invest, in both time and money, to achieve your goal?

    3. Are chemical pesticides, used properly, ok with you? Or do you take a strictly Organic approach to gardening?

    Where your goals and desires fall in the above scales will affect your options for your peach tree care. There is no “one size fits all” peach spray program.

    First of all, peaches, at best, are iffy in this area, mostly because we tend to have occasional late freezes that can kill the buds, meaning very low fruit quantities in that year. Secondly, peaches are also susceptible to a number of diseases and insect pests. Choosing peach cultivars that are resistant to some of the most common diseases should be the first choice to an aspiring home orchardist. Unfortunately, Elbera is not one of these. It has very poor resistance to one of the most common peach ailments, Bacterial Leaf Spot. Also unfortunately, there are no spray programs for the home orchardist to completely control Bacterial Leaf Spot. Once you see the problem, it is too late to do anything about it for this years crop. The best you can do is to use preventative sprays to try to control next years crop. These sprays are usually considered beyond the resources of the home orchard owner.

    There are two more common peach diseases, that a spray program attempts to prevent. One is Brown Rot, the other is called Peach Leaf Curl. Brown rot control requires starting a spray program when the tree just starts to bloom and continueing to spray every 10-14 days after that. Peach Leaf curl requires spraying a fungicide after leaf drop in the fall, with 1 or 2 more applications during the winter or very early spring before the buds swell.

    The most common insect pests that can infest a peach tree are fruit moth, plum curculio, stink bugs, aphids, mites, and certain kinds of borers. Each insect has its own recommended spray programs, depending on the insect, and level of infestation.

    The best thing to do is to educate yourself on good peach tree culture and the most common diseases and pests. Here are a few links to get you started.

    K-State publications on growing Fruits and Nuts, “Bacterial Spot of Peach”, “Fruit Pest Control for Home Gardens”, “Peach Brown Rot”, and “Peach Canker” http://www.hfrr.ksu.edu/p.aspx?tabid=593

    Home Fruit Production: Peach and Nectarine Culture http://extension.missouri.edu/p/g6030

    Fruit Spray Schedules for the Homeowner http://extension.missouri.edu/p/G6010

    Hope this helps Meg Mullett - Johnson County Extension Master Gardener

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