[NAFEX] No spray peaches in the SE (at least Bristol, TN)

Richard Moyer ramoyer at gmail.com
Sat Apr 29 22:55:30 EDT 2006

Shirley wrote:
Does anyone know any varieties that are less susceptible?

We're in NE TN, but hundreds of miles from you.   We inherited a peach tree
when we moved in '92, and unless blooms freeze in the spring, it reliably
gives peaches with no sprays at all.  A tree across town was laden with
fruit last August, and the owners shared while apologizing that they had not
sprayed it (they were apologizing for some brown rot).  Across town the
other way, we harvested fruit from 4 peach trees, also with no spray on any
of those.  Contrast this with a yard about 1/4 mile from our house where
multiple peach trees have come and gone, and even when we avoid spring
freezes, they have a tough time getting much good fruit. These
folks practice no orchard management other than jerking up dead trees and
putting new ones in beside ones on the way out.
Peach trees bearing well locally appear to have these in common: full sun,
pruning for wide spacing between branches, and orchard sanitation (all dead
branches and damaged fruit removed).  In summary, a good pruning and orchard
sanitation program can go a long way toward getting sound fruit, whether
peaches, pears or apples, with less need to spray, at least where I live.
It probably matters are least as much how peaches are managed than the
variety you are planting, for peaches can have multiple insect and disease
challenges.  My new peach trees are resistant to peach leaf curl, bacterial
spot, brown rot and/or late freezes (high chill).

Don noted that you need to thin fruit, removing all with bug damage.
Important to pick up all fruit that drops off the tree as well, and dispose
of these, too, to break the insect life cycle.
If you know the diseases and insects that you face, and manage toward
interrupting their life cycles, you have a much better chance of getting
peaches, whether you choose to spray or not.  Your county ag extension agent
can send in samples to the state entomologist, for positive ID of the bugs
damaging your peaches.  Glad to share more details offline of how to do this
in TN; our state entomologist gives helpful advice with the reports he sends
back to us.

As for varieties resistant to insects, peaches do better than plums or
nectarines for us.   Whether there are any peaches resistant to OFM, I do
not know.  I'd try sending in some of your damaged peaches through your
county ag agent, just to be sure what you have, for best management in the

Richard Moyer
Bristol, TN
Zone 6, 1800 ft
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