Red Haven Peach Care - Knowledgebase Question

Lees Summit, Mi
Question by tjfemscor8
January 4, 2011
2 years ago I planted a dwarf Red Haven Peach. Last year 17 tiny peaches appeared but stayed around 2


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Answer from NGA
January 4, 2011

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What you describe sounds like a disease called Peach Leaf Curl. Peach Leaf Curl can affect leaves, flowers, tender shoots and even fruit. Diseased leaves eventually fall off, but unaffected leaves will grow on normally. Once you see the problem it is too late to correct it for that season. Sanitary measures certainly can't hurt, so you may want to collect and discard fallen, affected leaves, and to prune twigs with the small, seldom noticed swellings caused by the infection. Infection occurs in spring when temperatures are around 68 degrees and surface moisture is present on the buds. Therefore the problem doesn't occur every year with the same severity. The lowest toxicity option for effective control is to apply a copper fungicide at the beginning of dormancy in the fall. Copper will cause the peach to defoliate so that is why we wait until the leaves begin to fall to apply it. You missed the fall application but you can spray your tree in the early spring instead. Follow label directions for repeat applications. Note that copper can stain masonry blue, so be careful in applying the spray if your tree is near a sidewalk, rock wall of your home, etc.

Insects will often attack unhealthy trees and fruits so if you can help your tree maintain good health and vigor, you probably won't have similar problems next year. Almost all peaches are self-fertile so a second peach tree is usually not required for fruit set, but if you had a second, different type of peach, you'd have heavier crops from both. You didn't mention whether or not you pruned your peach tree. If you did, the flowering shoots may have been damaged, which can also account for small fruits that will not ripen.

Start by controlling the leaf curl disease; don't prune your tree this year; thin the fruits when they first form (peach trees need 40 leaves per fruit to maintain the tree's health and to have enough energy to fully develop the fruit); water your tree deeply once each week and feed in the spring with a 5-10-10 or similar fertilizer.

Best wishes with your peach tree.

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