Thursday, January 20, 2011

Winter Peach Tree Diseases

Delicious fruit is something that many gardeners look forward to all year round, but winter peach tree diseases can put a quick end to the fun. Quality peaches are extremely rewarding to enjoy, but often difficult to grow. Preventative care and regular tree maintenance are an absolute necessary – take the following action steps to prevent the most common peach tree problems:

Powdery Mildew

The sphaerotheca pannosa fungus goes dormant in buds and shoots of peach trees during the winter. This nasty infestation manifests as powdery white mildew on the host surface, causing new foliage to grow in damaged and distorted. The problem becomes noticeable as green peach fruit begin developing circular white spots, turning infected areas of fruit brown. Proper pruning leads to good air circulation, which can play a major role in the prevention of mildew attacks. The chances of an infestation increases greatly when rose buses are planted nearby.

Brown Rot

One of the most widely spread and serious peach tree diseases is brown rot, caused by the monilinia fructicola fungus. Although it is not a “true” winter disease, the fungus survives the winter in fruit that has been “mummified” by the infection. To prevent this unfortunate and damaging disease, collect and remove all affected fruit as it appears – both from the tree and off the ground.

Perennial Canker

Perennial canker occurs when sudden temperature changes damages a part of the tree, generally after a harsh winter. These cankers are caused when cytospora fungi attacks exposed areas, creating cankers that secrete foul purple sap. Cytospora can survive year-round, even on dead wood. Young infected trees can face a rather sudden death, while hardier specimens may slowly fade out of life as the canker grows. Annual pruning and protection from sudden changes in temperature can prevent perennial canker, and many other winter peach tree diseases. In special cases, a trustworthy tree service professional may be able to remove the infected portion to save the tree.

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