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Diseases - Spray Schedules

March 2014

QuestionI have a peach and a plum tree (plus a small plum tree for pollination). The peach tree was from the beginning infected with what I think is Monilinia. The fruits look great at first but rot on the tree, with white fungal growths on the affected parts. By November, the trees are full of fruit “mummies”. I have tried to collect and burn the “mummies” but it did not help much. I will have to spray – but how and what? Are there companies spraying your fruit trees in Fayetteville where I live? I will have to remove my trees (about 7 years old) unless I can fix this problem. 

AnswerBrown rot of peaches Monilinia fructicola is a devastating problem and one of the reasons it is hard for home gardeners to grow peaches. You think you are about to harvest a beautiful crop of peaches and then seemingly overnight they rot and turn to mush! Removing the mummies is important, since they are loaded with disease spores. Using dormant oil in the fall when the leaves drop and then again before they begin to break dormancy can help start the season clean. But it will not prevent the problem from occurring during the growing season. I do not know of any companies who spray home fruit trees, but you can do it yourself. Most nurseries carry a home fruit orchard spray which contains an insecticide and fungicide. Here is the link to our home fruit spray schedule:

 (April 2010)

QuestionI am having difficulty with my fruit trees.  Last year my peach tree produced lots of peaches, but they all dried up around the seed before they ripened. I also noticed that quite a few of the leaves and small branches dried up and died.   My apple tree made really good apples but the leaves dried up and died and I noticed yellow spots on the leaves that had several round dots in them. I assumed these to be some kind of insect eggs. The apples also had dark spots on them. I have already cut them back and am hoping that you can suggest some kind of spray, preferably something natural that I can use to solve these problems 

AnswerFruit trees can be challenging for the home gardener, especially peaches which have numerous insect and disease issues.  Brown rot is the most destructive and can wipe out a crop seemingly overnight, especially when we have periods of rain, which were almost constant last year.  Pruning is something you will need to do annually, but a spray schedule is also necessary to produce quality fruit.  Purchase a home fruit spray which has both an insecticide and a fungicide mixed together.  There are organic products as well as non-organic. Start spraying when two thirds of the flower petals have fallen and then continue throughout the growing season, about every 10 days to three weeks depending on the weather.  Your apple tree sounds like it was infested with cedar apple rust.  This disease has two hosts--Eastern red cedars and apple trees.  By the time you see yellow spots rimmed in orange it is too late to spray to control it. The key is to do preventative sprays the first few weeks following bloom.  Orange gelatinous masses form on cedar trees releasing spores which then infest the apples.  Typically apple diseases are a bit easier to deal with since you can usually peel off the damage and still eat the fruit.  Spray schedules, cultural information and pruning guides are available on our Extension website at:

(June 2005)

QuestionI have a peach tree that has peaches for the first time this year...lots of peaches. A lot of them fell off, but I probably would have needed to thin them anyway. However, I seem to remember that peaches seldom develop w/o some help in the form of insecticides. Is there anything I should treat it with, or is it too late?


AnswerI guess it is never too late.  With peaches, we worry not only with insects, but diseases as well.  Try to find a general purpose fruit spray, with a combination of insecticide and fungicide.  We normally recommend spraying when two-thirds of the flower petals fall off, and continue roughly every two weeks throughout the season.  Worms are the primary insect problem, but brown rot—a fungus, can take a crop seemingly overnight, especially following a rainy spell. Good luck.

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