[NAFEX] Peach Drop

Dylan Ford dford at suffolk.lib.ny.us
Sun Jun 8 20:29:04 EDT 2003


Dear Don Yellman,
         I am on Long Island, in New York, but given the maritime influence,
etc.,  we are listed as Zone 6-7, which I suppose is similar to where you
are. The peach trees I raised from pits have not borne fruit yet - this
would have been the first year. I pruned the trees heavily toward the end of
their dormancy, and sprayed them with a homemade concoction that I hoped
would function as a commercial dormant spray would. (I don't use
any -icides). One tree in particular flowered extravagantly, and set fruit
as well. We (and most of the east) have been enduring the same sort of
miserable chill gray sopping spring you describe, and I was amazed at the
vegetative growth the peaches put on - which may have been part of the
problem, in terms of blocking air circulation (not that there was any dry
air to circulate).
        Could this lush vegetative growth be symptomatic of too much
nitrogen in the bed...and is nitrogen a deterrent to  stone fruits holding
their fruit as it is with grapes? The peaches had only just lost that little
cap left from the flowers, so I didn't think I had to hurry to thin the
fruits. They were too small when they fell to tell if they had any little
patches of fungus on them. Thanks for your information.   dylan


----- Original Message -----
From: "Don Yellman" <dyellman at earthlink.net>
To: "North American Fruit Explorers" <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Sunday, June 08, 2003 11:40 AM
Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Peach Drop


> Dylan Ford wrote:
> > Dear All,
> >         The blossoms on my peach trees (which survived a freak late
> > snowstorm) developed into a bumper crop of fruit. I was waiting until
after
> > fruit drop to thin them, but last week all of the peaches got squishy
and
> > fell off the tree. Is it possible that two months of unrelenting rain
and
> > damp (I am thinking of building an ark) could have rotted them off,
absent
> > any obvious additional disease symptoms? Thanks.
> >                                     dylan
> >
> >
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>
> Dylan:
>
> This is the kind of advice that always seems to come after the fact, but
> here is what I did to the peach trees this spring:  I began by
> aggressively thinning the branches (I did not dormant prune), heading
> back by 1/3 to 1/2, and removing nearly all of the vertical growth above
> the fruiting branches.  The objective was to get as much light and air
> circulation to the peaches as possible.  Then I thinned off 90% or more
> of the little peaches, which still left a heavy fruit set.  I did this
> in week 2 of May, during a brief dry period.  I have been doing the
> second thinning during the past week, removing still crowded fruits, and
> those showing mildew or insect damage.  I will have to do one or two
> more thinnings, since there are still too many healthy peaches up there.
>
> I credit this early intervention for the beautiful set of large,
> fast-growing peaches, perhaps the best I have had at this stage, in
> spite of the nearly continuous cloudy, rainy, and cool weather.  I have
> only been able to spray twice due to the rains and wind, once with
> Imidan mixed with a little lime/sulfur, targeted at plum curculio and
> mildews, and again with Malathion to try to keep the oriental fruit moth
> at bay.  I don't know that the sprays have been a critical factor at
> all; insect problems seem to have taken a back seat to fungal and rot
> issues this year.  I am a little surprised that I haven't seen peach
> leaf curl even though it is normally rare here.  The climate has been
> much more like the coastal Pacific Northwest than Northern Virginia so
> far this spring.
>
> I get two types of mildew on young peaches; one shows small rust colored
> patches, the other small white patches.  I am just guessing they are
> different mildew strains, but either one is the end of a young,
> developing peach.  Perhaps that is what caused your peaches to fall off,
> if your trees are mature and have set and retained fruit before.  I
> don't recall exactly where you are located (somwhere in the Carolinas?),
> but it sounds as if you have had almost exactly the same weather
> conditions I have faced.
>
> Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA
>
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