Peach Tree Care - Knowledgebase Question

Porter, OK
Question by willhite9
April 21, 2000
I have a peach tree that is 3 years old. We haven't done anything to care for it since we planted it. Now fruit is small and every year it's infested with small white worms with black heads. We are new gardeners, and would like some advise on how to take care of this tree. We found some dark striped worms with a web earlier in the spring, and got rid of them with knocking them out and then spraying with malathion. But we were told these worms had nothing to do with the worms in our peaches. The peach tree is now starting to fruit, your help would be appreciated. Also when would we prune the tree?


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Answer from NGA
April 21, 2000

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is most effective -- othewise, you can kill many beneficial insects, which are more succeptible to pesticide damage than many pest species.

I hope this helps and that you get some good peaches soon! is most effective -- othewise, you can kill many beneficial insects, which are more succeptible to pesticide damage than many pest species.

I hope this helps and that you get some good peaches soon! all other branches and any root suckers (sprouts emerging from the roots).

If during the second summer you notice the scaffolds bending to a wider than 45 degree angle, you'll need to remove some wood, lessening the weight on the branch. It's the only summer pruning you should have to do. By the fourth year, the tree should be bearing, and your pruning should be reduced to removing dead/weak/crossing/damaged branches, with the goal of keeping the center open, and the lateral branches within easy picking height. Older, slower growing trees need even less pruning - head back lateral branches that have grown less than 8" in a year to the next outward-branched lateral limb.

Thin the number of fruits a tree sets to get larger, higher-quality fruit and to encourage steady, year-to-year
productivity. The best time to thin is once fruits are one-half to one inch in diameter. In most cases, thin to allow six to eight inches between fruits.

As for your pest problem, once your tree becomes stronger from the TLC you've given it, it'll be less succeptible to attack by pests. The larvae you describe attacking your fruit sound like oriental fruit moth larvae. Larvae overwinter in the soil and emerge as moths in spring, when they lay eggs on twigs and the undersides of leaves. A shallow cultivation around the base of the tree will kill some of the larvae. Don't cultivate too deeply, or the roots may be damaged. Also look for cocoons on the bark or in fall -- remove these as well. If some of the twigs die back in spring, they could be victims of the first generation of the fruit moth. You can spray a summer oil to suffocate eggs and larvae, but contact your county extension office (ph# 486-4589) to find out when to apply the oil. If your timing isn't correct, the spray will do no good. Also, don't spray pesticides unless you identify the pest first and determine which control

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