Fruit Mole - Knowledgebase Question

Rockvale, tn
Question by ricvergar
June 30, 2010
I have a peach tree that is bearing fruit, the problem is in that the last 2 years, just about the time the fruit gets ripe enough to pick, a fuzzy mole or fungus gets on the fruit and within a day or two destroys all the fruit on the tree. What can I do to prevent this next year? I also have another peach tree that is in my back yard that doesn't do that. They are separated my house and maybe forty yards.

Answer from NGA
June 30, 2010


It sounds like a fungal disease called brown rot. Brown rot causes the fruit to rot away on the tree. It starts as a brown spot on the peach itself, then spreads until it turns the entire fruit brown. Sometimes the fruit falls off the tree. It may also remain on the tree but whither and look dried out. Brown rot is caused by a fungus, Monilinia fructicola. The fungus lives in many temperature climates among other trees, leaves and more. It spreads by spores through the wind and loves moist climates, so you may notice this disease after a wet spring or a rainy season. This same fungus can also cause peach flowers to turn brown and fall off or new twigs to die off.

To prevent brown rot, always clean up rotted fruits. If the tree already has brown rot, it's very important to pick up and throw away the affected fruits, twigs and flowers. Don't compost them, since the fungus spores can live in compost, and if you spread the compost in the garden you'll only perpetuate the disease cycle. Use a fungicide such as Captan or an organic fungal spray according to package directions to prevent the disease. If you're planning a new peach orchard, make sure the trees are planted far enough apart to allow good air circulation and sunlight, which can reduce the spread of the fungus and keep the area dry, which prevents spores from developing.

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