The deciduous peach is a stone fruit tree native to the Asian region. Healthy peach trees thrive in well-drained areas with nutrient-rich soils. They require full sun, ample irrigation and cold dormancy to produce their sweet fruit. The peach tree is, however, susceptible to several common diseases that can be found throughout the Tennessee region. Though most are not fatal to the peach tree, these diseases require immediate attention and treatment to prevent permanent damage.
Peach Leaf Curl
Peach leaf curl is one of the most common peach tree diseases. This fungal disease attacks the foliage of the tree, causing reddened warts and curling. It is spread through the tree by microscopic fungal spore that are developed during the summer and late fall. These spores establish themselves on old leaves and debris around the tree and lie dormant throughout the winter months. In the spring, the spores are carried, by rain and wind, onto the foliage of the peach tree. These spores then infect the tree, attacking the newly developed buds and foliage. Peach leaf curl is easily treated and prevented with the application of fungicidal spray. The spray should be applied to the peach tree in the fall months and reapplied in early spring.
Brown rot, common to most stone fruit trees, is a fungal disease that can infect an entire orchard, if left untreated. This disease infects, not only the fruit of the tree, but the blossoms, branches and twigs. Infected trees will show signs of twig and blossom blight, growth stunt, fruit rot and dieback. Cankers will appear on severely infected trees. Brown rot infects fallen fruit that lie around the peach tree, as well as the fruit that is left on the tree after the final harvest. This fungus lies dormant in this fruit throughout the winter months. During the following spring months, these fungal spores spread to the newly developing buds and fruit. Brown rot can be controlled with a routine fungicidal treatment. Removal of debris and fallen fruit, as well as the removal of all peaches from the tree, are also required to control the disease.
Powdery mildew, often called rose mildew, infects the foliage, shoots and fruit of the peach tree. Infected peach trees will show signs that include distorted buds and shoots, stunted twigs and fruit with whitish fungal patches. The foliage of the peach tree will develop a powdery, white coating on the underside of the leaf. Like many peach tree diseases, powdery mildew lies dormant on and around the tree throughout the winter months. In the spring months, rain and wind transport the fungal spores onto the newly developing buds and fruit, infecting the tree. Though the powdery mildew causes an unsightly tree, the damage to the tree is actually minimal. Powdery mildew is easily treated with fungicidal sprays that are developed especially for this disease.