Multiple Peach Tree Issues
We have a peach tree that was there when we bought the house 20+ years ago, but that never produced more than a handful of hard little peaches which the squirrels always ate. Then, last summer, I was delighted to see it full of large, and as it turned out, flavorful peaches. However, a majority of the fruit started rotting on the tree before it was ripe, or had worms. A good portion of the peaches had this sticky, clear, jelly clinging to the outside which looked like it came from a black, crusty worm hole. On the inside, when I cut them up, there would often be a worm associated with that hole. There was another kind of worm that made tiny, hard pathways all the way through to the pit, or sometimes ended in little hard knots. After the things I've read, I think the rotting was caused by Brown Rot. I cut them all up, good and bad, and saved what I could of the bad ones. I had to be very careful because it was easy to miss some of the tiny paths that didn't end at the seed and inside a normal looking chunk of peach would be a little knot of worm remains (or whatever else might be inside those little knots). The tree is located on a steep little hillside surrounded by lots of undergrowth, bushes, ivy, and other trees and is very difficult to get to. I finally bought a fruit picker because I couldn't reach much without it. I eventually had to get my nephew to park his truck at the bottom of the hill and place a ladder in the bed and even from the top of the ladder using the 13-ft. extension pole, I couldn't reach a lot of the ones at the top. I'm hoping to come up with an easier way to get to them this year. So that's the situation. From what I've read online, I should have started at the end of the season or in the fall doing things to treat the problems, but since I didn't, I need to know what I can do now to improve the chances of having usable fruit this year. I'm not a gardener and I know nothing about fruit trees except from what I've read online, much of which I didn't really understand. Also, I was shocked to discover a few days ago that the tree is already in bloom, which I was not expecting to happen in late February! Knowing all of this, is there any insecticide/fungicide I can use/spray to keep the fruit healthy this year? I plan to clear the ivy and other undergrowth away from the base of the tree since that seemed to be something that was recommended, but what else can I do? Any help or advice you can give me would be much appreciated. I'm attaching a couple of pictures of some of the better looking specimens (since I didn't take photos of the really bad ones) from last summer. Thank you in advance for your help! Beth (Sorry to be so wordy!)
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
The holes an 'goo' are likely caused by the pest Plum Curculio, this pest can effect most stone fruits.
Here are some articles with more information.
I would also encourage you to check with your local County Extension Office.
They will have specific care information for your growing zone.
Here is a link to help you locate the office.