T. E. Crocker and
J G. Williamson
Urniversily ot Florida
Institute ol Food .and Agricultural Sciences
Florida Cooperative EAlension Service
John T Woeste Dear
PEACHES AND NECTARINES IN FLORIDA
T. E. Crocker'
Commercial acreage of peaches and nectarines in Florida is now
estimated at 1500 hectares (3,000 acres), most of which is in Madison
County. The northern production area extends from Madison County
west, and the cultivars grown in this area require 400 to 650 hours of
chilling. In the central area of the state, cultivars that require 200 to 300
hours of chilling have been developed. Chilling hours are relative to the
amount of cold received during average winters in each area.
Peaches planted for home use represent a sizeable amount of the total
number of peaches grown in the state. The peach requires more special-
ized care than many homeowners give. This circular will provide informa-
tion to homeowners and outline production practices for commercial
Proper site selection and cultivar choice rank as two of the most impor-
tant factors in successful peach growing. Good air and water drainage are
essential to tree growth and production. In selecting a site, avoid low
areas (pockets) and sections characterized by late spring frosts. The ef-
fect of cold on crops has been studied in Alachua county for 11 seasons.
Out of 11 crops on a cold site, 7 were lost, but on a warm site a few miles
away there were only 2 partial crop losses due to spring frost after
Even in central Florida critical temperatures for fruit kill can occur
throughout February and March in cold locations; thus, late blooming -
due to delayed dormancy is not as good insurance as good site choice.
Peach flower buds that have just begun to swell withstand temperatures
to about 20 F (-7 C). Open blossoms show injury at about 260 F
(-3 C). Following petal fall, the young fruit are generally killed by
minimums of 28 F (-20 C). The generalized map (Fig. 1) shows last
dates when 280 F (-20 C) occurs in 30% of the years. Use of good sites
and recommended cultivars should reduce risks of spring frost injury to
10% to 20% of the years.
Peaches can be grown on a wide variety of soils, provided there is good
internal drainage in the upper 4 to 6 ft (1.3 to 1.8 m). Avoid "hardpan"
soils unless an excellent system of subsoil drainage tiles is provided.
Water damage has occurred on normally well-drained soils of heavy tex-
ture during exceptionally wet summers in northern Florida.
1Professor of Horticulture, Fruit Crops Department, University of Florida, Gaines-
,, Feb. 10th
Y Feb. 1st
Figure 1. Generalized pattern of date
after which the risk of a temperature
as low as 28 degrees is 30 percent.
Normal spacing is 20 X 20 ft or 108 trees/a (6 X 6 m). All common
peach cultivares are self-fruiting and should be planted in solid blocks for
easier spraying and harvesting. There have been some 10 X 20 ft and
15 X 20 ft (3 X 6 m and 4.5 X 6 m) plantings, with the expectation that a
larger number of trees per unit will result in increased yields per acre
during the early life of the orchard. Peach trees established at 10 X 20 ft
(3 X 6 m) have been more difficult to prune and handle than those
planted with normal spacing. On lighter soils the 15 X 20 ft (4.5 X 6 m)
spacing has been satisfactory.
June-budded trees 2/V2 to 4 ft (0.8 to 1.3 m) high are a good size to set.
Although acceptable, smaller sizes are likely to have rather limited root
systems and may start poorly in light soils. Larger sizes are more dif-
ficult to handle and more expensive, but they grow better in sandy soils
and yield more during the first 4 seasons.
Peach cultivars for home or commercial planting should be budded on
rootstocks resistant to root-knot nematode species Meloidogyne in-
cognita and M. javanica. Okinawa and Nemaguard peach stocks have
satisfactory resistance and are the only stocks recommended for Florida.
Other stocks such as Elberta, Tennessee "Naturals", Lovell and local
seedling rootstocks are susceptible to both root-knot species.
A new nematode (M. incognita, race 3) has been found that infests
Okinawa and Nemaguard, but it is not yet widespread in Florida. Long-
range studies are needed to make definate recommendations for northern
Florida, but in central Florida there is hardly any choice but to use resist-
ant stocks. If common peach stocks are used in northern Florida,
fumigate bands 6 to 8 ft (1.8 to 2.4 m) wide in the fall, before planting
with EDB, DD, or Telone as recommended by the manufacturers of these
Peaches are generally propagated in Florida by T-budding in May.
Stratified seeds should be planted in late January or early February.
Remove seeds from the pits in autumn and store in damp peat or perlite
at 35 to 45 F (1.7 to 7.2 C) for 40 to 60 days before planting. If the
seeds are not removed from the pits, the pits must be stratified and can
be kept in cold storage for up to 100 days. If soil temperatures are high at
planting, and seeds have not begun sprouting, seeds will revert into dor-
mancy. Nursery site approval is required by the Division of Plant In-
dustry to prevent spread of burrowing nematode if plants are to be sold
Peach trees are generally set bare-rooted in the dormant season in
December or as soon thereafter as possible so that new root growth can
develop before spring growth begins. In well-drained soils, plant trees
slightly deeper than they were grown in the nursery. Peach trees do not
need to be watered at planting if the soil is moist and packed well around
the roots. Trees that are planted early in the winter and kept free of weed
competition will require minimum watering the first season. Usually only
1 or 2 basin-type irrigations in April and May will be required, except in
unusually dry years or on coarser sands.
Keep the area 3 to 4 ft (0.9 to 1.3 m) out from newly-set trees free of
weeds the first season. Plant middle strips with oats or rye, or leave un-
cultivated until mid-April for protection from blowing sand. Cover can be
left in the middles, mowing as needed, throughout the first summer if
desired. In November, disc under all cover in the orchard.
Cultivate bearing orchards thoroughly up until early January, then
leave the soil as firm and clean as possible during and after bloom in
order to reduce frost hazard. Resume cultivation after the danger of frost
is past and keep the orchard clean until just before fruit harvest. After
harvest, native cover crops or hairy indigo may be grown. Avoid plant
covers that tend to build up stink bug populations (see insect notes).
Chemical weed control is being developed to supplement mechanical
control. A recommended procedure is to apply herbicide to a strip down
the tree row and mow the sod middles. Herbicides cleared for peaches in-
clude Terbacil, Dichlobenil, Simazine, Paraquat, Diuron, Trifluralin and
Oryzalin. Some of these should not be used on young trees, and growers
should consult label instructions. Paraquat, a contact herbicide, is
registered for use on trees of all sizes in the orchard and is effective for
burn-down or existing weeds.
Prior to setting trees, apply liming materials as needed to bring soil
within a range of pH 6.0 to 6.5. Use of some dolomitic lime is recom-
mended, especially on sandy soils where magnesium level in the soil is
Because of soil type variations, there is a distinct difference in the
fertilizer recommendations for peaches growing in loamy peach soils
predominantly west of the Suwannee river, and those growing on the
sandy peach soils of peninsular Florida. It is suggested that mixed fer-
tilizers for the western (heavier soils) area include 8-8-8 or similar
materials. Fertilizers for the peninsular (sandy) area should approximate
a 12-4-8 formulation. All fertilizers should contain 1% or 2% zinc oxide
(ZnO) equivalent when used on young trees. On older trees, zinc may be
applied as part of the regular spray program by including 2 lbs (1 kg) of
neutral zinc per 100 gal (400 liters) of water in 1 or 2 cover sprays each
year, or it may continue to be supplied in the regular fertilizer program
(also see notes under rust disease).
Quickly available nitrogen, applied sufficiently ahead of bloom to be
taken up by the tree, is believed to improve set of fruit. Delayed
availability of nitrogen may delay fruit maturity and reduce colors.
Therefore, it is recommended that only mineral sources of nitrogen be
used in spring peach fertilizers prior to harvest.
Sandy soils are sometimes deficient in minor elements other than zinc.
Boron, at rates of 5 lbs (2 kg) B2 03 per acre, and occasionally manganese,
in sprays containing 0.75 metallic Mn per 100 gal (400 liters) have been
needed to correct symptoms. Requirements for other minor elements for
peaches in Florida have not been determined.
Apply fertilizer in the first (or planting) year in a circular area 6 to 24 in
(1.5 to 6 dm) from the trunk as follows:
1/8 lb (0.05 kg) per tree in February
1/4 lb (0.1 kg) in late May
1/2 lb (0.2 kg) in July
On the loamy soils of west Florida fertilizer may be applied on a dif-
ferent schedule, one that provides 1/2 lb (0.2 kg) in February and 1/2 lb
(0.2 kg) in June. In wet seasons when nitrogen is leached rapidly and
trees show slow growth, apply 1/4 lb (0.1 kg) of sodium nitrate or calcium
nitrate or equivalent amount of ammonium nitrate per tree in August.
In a second year, apply fertilizer to cover the area 1 ft (30 cm) from the
trunk to 1 ft (30 cm) beyond the branch spread. Apply 1 to 1/2 lbs (0.4 to
0.6 kg) per tree in January and the same quantity in late May. In the
third year, start broadcast applications of mixed fertilizer in quantities
sufficient to supply 30 to 40 lb/a (30 to 40 kg/h) actual nitrogen in
January and again in late May or after the crop is harvested. Apply 20 to
30 lbs/a (20 to 30 kg/h) of actual nitrogen if needed in August during wet
Table 1. Leaf Analysis Levels in Peach
-percent of dry weight basis-
less than 2.8 3.00 3.50
less than 1.0 1.10 2.00
less than 0.15 0.17 0.29
less than 0.80 0.90 1.50
less than 0.30 0.30 1.00
-parts per million dry weight basis-
less than 16 17 60
less than 30 40 100
less than 4 7 18
less than 40 50 100
less than 20 25 80
Peach orchards in Florida are usually mature at the beginning of the
fourth year. Differences in cultivar and grove practices dictate variation
in fertilization practices. It is suggested that the recommended fertilizers
be applied in quantities sufficient to supply 80 to 100 lbs/a (80 to 100
kg/h) of nitrogen each year. Use %/ of the fertilizer in the first application
2 to 3 weeks ahead of bloom, and % in the second application in late May
or, in the case of later ripening cultivars, after the crop is harvested.
Excessive nitrogen can delay fruit ripening up to 10 days. Very fertile
areas may need only 20 to 30 lbs/a (20 to 30 kg/h) nitrogen per acre in the
spring application. Weeds must be controlled so fertilizer is made
available to the trees.
In central Florida applications of 20 to 30 lbs/a (20 to 30 kg/h) of addi-
tional nitrogen in mid-August may help control leaf drop from rust and
subsequent premature bloom.
As a guide to fertilization, some growers have leaf samples analyzed.
Samples should be taken from mid-shoot areas of average terminals in
June or July. Based on limited experience, the following levels are sug-
gested (Table 1.)
Irrigation of bearing trees has materially improved fruit development
and significantly increased young tree growth. Most major commercial
orchards are equipped for irrigation with volume guns, perforated pipes,
or sprinklers. The cultivars of commercial interest in Florida ripen in late
April and May when rainfall is usually light. Trees probably need at least
4 in (100 mm) of water per month-from soil storage, rainfall, or from
irrigation-for maximum fruit growth. Applications should be made
before moisture stress becomes excessive. From 1 to 2 in (25 to 50 mm)
every 10 days is suggested.
Pruning is necessary to form a well-shaped, strong tree, and to control
fruit bearing. Peach trees are pruned to form an open-center. One method
of pruning or training calls for trees to be cut back at planting time to a
single stem 2 ft (40 cm) high. If laterals have formed on the nursery tree,
cut the lower laterals off flush with the stem, but allow stubs 1 to 2 in (3
to 5 cm) long to remain on the upper ones. This is necessary to insure
leaving buds for new shoot development. After the tree sprouts in early
spring, select 3 evenly-spaced, vigorous, wide-angled shoots to be the
major scaffolding (see Fig. 2). Remove or cut back other shoots and
remove all low-growing suckers, including those from the rootstock.
In the first winter, cut back the main scaffold branches approximately
one-third, to a lateral branch growing on the outside of the main
branches. Water sprouts and limbs that are too low to the ground should
be removed. Trees should be kept growing low; this enables more of the
fruit to be harvested from the ground in later years. Continue this train-
ing procedure for the second and third winters. Trees that are bearing
should not be pruned until January or February to avoid winter injury.
After the third winter, pruning consists of removing overcrowded
branches, removing water sprouts, heading back terminal growth to
prevent the tree from growing to excess heights, and keeping the center
of the tree open to allow sunlight to reach all parts of the tree. In order to
reduce excess fruit load fruiting laterals need to be thinned and renewed
depending on vigor, flower bud set, and cultivar habits.
Figure 2. Select three wide-angled
shoots for the framework branches
and cut back other shoots.
Pruning is a time consuming, costly operation. Along with thinning, it
is one of the major production costs. Studies from other areas show 18 to
23 hours labor per acre for pruning, and 21 to 35 hours for thinning.
Other studies made found that if mechanical top-hedging, followed by
some thinning cuts was done pruning time could be cut in half. Topping
in summer after harvest, to promote better fruit hanger limb develop-
ment and height control, may be practical if costs are not prohibitive.
Peach trees often set more fruit than can be matured to marketable
size, even though attempts are made to avoid excess cropping by careful
pruning. The fruit should be thinned before the pits harden, leaving one
fruit approximately every 6 in (16 cm) along the branches, depending on
the cultivar and market conditions. Thinning reduces total poundage, but
profit depends on the price as related to size. Determine the extent of
thinning in the basis of market demands and response of the cultivar to
For maximum effect on improving size and early ripening, thinning
should be done as early as possible. Some growers make a first thinning
during bloom, when conditions favor very heavy fruit set. At present, no
recommendations are available on the use of chemical sprays for thinning
peach fruits under Florida conditions.
Harvesting and Marketing
Peaches are harvested when nearly mature, but still firm enough to
ship well. Change in ground color is used to judge picking stage. Peaches
for local markets can be picked more mature than those to be shipped
long distances. A rapid increase in quality and size occurs during the
ripening stage, and very careful judgement is necessary to obtain
maximum maturity while avoiding losses due to over-maturity.
Pick and handle fruit very carefully to prevent bruising. Peaches do not
mature uniformly on the trees, and therefore it is necessary to pick over
the orchard 3 to 4 times at 2-day intervals in order to obtain fruit that
have reached the right stage for marketing.
Peaches must be carefully graded, sized, brushed, cooled, and packed
for long distance shipment. This requires a sizeable investment in a
packinghouse which isn't likely to prove economically feasible with much
less than 100 to 150 acres (40 to 60 h).
Growers having up to 20 acres (8 h) may be able to sell by customer
picking or on local markets without extensive packing. In such orchards
a succession of cultivars is essential. It is poor practice to transport fruit
more than a few miles to a packinghouse, so growers need to plan their
market outlets carefully before planting.
Another important consideration in harvesting and marketing is to
plan cultivar plantings to insure use of harvest labor and packing
facilities evenly over as long a period as possible. Additional new
cultivars are needed to give a ripening succession from late April through
early June, and the future of the industry will be primarily dependant on
such development. Fortunately, the supply and variety of fresh fruits is
limited in May, and market competition does not become heavy until
June, when volume production of southern peaches and other fruits start
moving to market.
Present production of peaches for fresh use in the eastern United
States average over 5,000,000 bu (100,000,000 kg) per month during the
summer season. One or more cultivars ripening together probably should
not constitute more than 15% to 20% of the total acreage, assuming a
harvest period of 7 to 10 days for a cultivar. Up to 2,000 acres (800 h)
produced per week in Florida has been marketed profitably, but approx-
imately 3,000 acres (1,200 h) of Junegold cultivar in north Florida has
often resulted in prices too low for good profits.
An ideal commercial peach tree should produce firm fruit 2 in (5 cm) or
over in diameter-with yellow flesh, capable of a week's marketing
life-and with 70% or more attractive surface blush. It would be
preferably freestone and in Florida, it needs local adaptation and early
enough ripening to market before other areas. These early ripening
peaches are usually not freestone. In such terms, all present cultivars
represent some compromise of desirable traits. Fruit without high blush
color or 2 in (5 cm) diameter for peach and 1 in (4.5 cm) for nectarine
have not been very acceptable in commercial markets. Cultivars suitable
for commercial use and others useful for home plantings are listed in
Table 2. For further information on area adaptation, see chilling require-
ment of cultivars.
Ripening dates for each cultivar can be determined or based on bloom
date (Fig. 3) and days from bloom to ripening (Tables 2 and 3).
Chilling Requirements of Cultivars
Depending upon the cultivar, varying amounts of winter chilling are
necessary to provide good dormancy break and heavy fruit set. Chilling
should be completed by the end of January in central Florida and by
February 10 to 15 in north Florida. Extreme south Florida receives less
than 100 equivalent hours and north Florida over 600 hours. It is recom-
mended that cultivars be chosen that receive their chilling requirement in
at least 75% of the winters. Thus, by consulting the chilling requirement
of the cultivar (Tables 2 and 3) and the map (Fig. 3), proper choices can be
Table 2. A summary of peach cultivar characteristics for Florida
chill bloom Flower
needed to ripe Flower Stone bud
Cultivar (hr.) (days) type freeness setz
FlordaGrande 75 104 showy semi-free 7
Okinawa 100 120 showy free 9
Flordabelle 150 105 showy free 8
Floraprince 150 80 showy semi-cling 8
Flordaglo 150 78 showy semi-cling 9
TropicBeauty 150 89 showy semi-cling 8
Rayon 175 105 showy free 8
TropicSweet 175 94 showy semi-free 9
Flordabelle 200 106 showy free 8
Flordadawn 200 58 showy semi-cling 9
EarliGrande 200 75 non- semi-cling 6
TropicSnow 225 84 showy semi-free 9
Flordastar 225 75 showy semi-cling 8
color Ground Flesh Size
(%) color color Shapez Firmnessz (g)
60 yellow yellow 8 7 98
10 greenish white 6 6 60
60 greenish yellow 10 8 120
80 yellow yellow 9 8 82
80 creamy white 9 9 94
80 bright yellow 10 9 100
80 yellow yellow 8 7 109
70 creamy yellow 10 9 122
80 yellow yellow 10 9 120
80 bright yellow 8 9 75
40 yellow yellow 8 6 80
40 creamy white 8 9 108
70 bright yellow 8 8 80
Tastez Browningz usey
7 10 H,L,C
3 1 R
10 7 H,L
8 8 H,L,C
8 9 H,L,C
9 9 H,L,C
8 10 H,L,C
10 8 H,L,C
10 9 H,L,C
9 9 H,L,C
7 8 H,L
10 10 H,L,C
6 8 H,L,C
Table 2. A summary of peach cultivar characteristics for Florida
chill bloom Flower Red
needed to ripe Flower Stone bud color Ground Flesh Size Main
Cultivar (hr.) (days) type freeness setz (%) color color Shapez Firmnessz (g) Tastez Browningz usey
Flordagold 325 88 showy semi-cling 10 60 bright yellow 7 10 102 9 8 H,L,C
Flordacrest 350 75 showy semi-cling 8 80 bright yellow 7 9 92 8 9 H,L,C
Flordahome 400 110 double free 7 30 creamy white 6 6 60 4 3 H
Flordaking 400 68 non semi-cling 6 50 yellow yellow 7 7 96 7 9 H,L,C
Flordaglobe 450 63 non semi-cling 9 90 yellow white 9 9 85 8 8 H,L,C
JuneGold 650 80 showy semi-cling 8 40 bright yellow 7 9 90 7 9 H,L,C
Springcrest 700 75 showy semi-cling 8 80 yellow yellow 10 9 75 7 8 H,L
yH home, L local, C commercial, R rootstock
1 least desirable, 10 most desirable
Table 3. A summary of nectarine cultivar characteristics for Florida
chill bloom Flower Red
needed to ripe Flower Stone bud color Ground Flesh Size Main
Cultivar (hr.) (days) type freeness setz (%) color color Shapez Firmnessz (g) Tastez Browningz use
Sunblaze 250 90 non- semi-free 9 90 yellow yellow 10 9 90 10 6 H,L,C
Sunred 250 94 showy semi-free 10 100 yellow yellow 10 7 70 9 8 H,L
Sundollar 400 70 showy semi-cling 8 90 yellow yellow 9 9 90 10 6 H,L,C
C Sungem 400 85 showy semi-cling 10 100 yellow yellow 10 9 80 8 9 H,L,C
Sunlite 450 94 showy free 9 80 light yellow 8 8 80 8 9 H,L,C
Sunfre 525 90 showy semi-free 7 80 dull yellow 9 9 100 8 9 H,L,C
Sungold 550 110 showy free 8 70 yellow yellow 8 7 85 9 7 H,L
Armking 600 70 non- semi-cling 7 40 greenish yellow 6 8 90 6 8 H,L,C
yH home, L local, C commercial
z least desirable, 10 most desirable
Figure 3. Generalized map showing
chilling hours below 45 degrees
received to February 10 in 75 percent
of the winters.
Insufficient chilling results in light to no cropping, irregular fruit
development, and late and sometimes inadequate leafing-followed in
severe cases by sunscald and damage to the main framework. Although
choice of cultivars requiring more chilling than the average for an area
may result in late bloom and reduced spring frost hazards, fruit set is
often unsatisfactory and ripening is delayed in seasons with inadequate
winter chilling. Excess chilling for the cultivar is also undesirable.
Cultivars with low chilling requirements such as Flordaprince, bloom too
early in northern Florida and fruit is generally lost to spring frosts.
It should be recognized that chilling effectiveness is not entirely
measured by hours below 45 oF (7 C). Temperatures in the range of
450 F to 550 F (70 to 130 C) also have considerable benefit. For such low-
chilling cultivars as Earligrande or Flordaprince, 550 F (13 C) is fully as
effective as 45 F (7 C) in inducing dormancy break. Temperatures
above 700 F (210 C) during the chilling period appear to be detrimental.
Thus, a winter marked by considerable cloudy weather usually is
followed by a better dormancy break than one with an equal accumula-
tion of chilling hours that is marked by generally dry, sunny conditions.
Peach Pests and Control
See the latest recommendations from the Cooperative Extension Serv-
ice for control of the most important insects and diseases on commercial
bearing peaches in Florida.
Dooryard trees will generally require some spraying to produce
satisfactory fruits. In southern Florida, the Caribbean fruit fly has
become a serious pest of the peach, and no practical control is now
available. In central and northern Florida, where native plums are
common, sprays for curculio are required. While peach scale is common
throughout the state, most common diseases are scab and brown rot.
To control curculio and stink bugs in dooryard trees, use a mixture of
Malathion plus Sevin or Methoxychlor. To make these sprays, mix 4
tablespoons of 25% Malathion wettable powder or 2 teaspoons of 57%
Malathion liquid concentrate per gallon. Then add 3 tablespoons of 50%
Methoxychlor wettable powder or 2 tablespoons of 50% Sevin wettable
powder. For disease control, add 5 tablespoons of wettable sulfur (80%)
or 2 tablespoons of 50% Captan wettable powder or 1 tablespoon of
Benlate wettable powder per gallon. Do not apply Malathion within 7
days or Sevin within 1 day or Methoxychlor within 21 days of harvest.
Apply a Petal-Fall spray (using one of the combination sprays dis-
cussed above) after all petals are off and before fruits are showing. Follow
with 3 additional sprayings at 7 to 10 day intervals. Apply a spray con-
taining Malathion plus Sevin plus Captan or Benlate 2 weeks before
harvest and 1 week before harvest. For southern Florida, see notes under
curculio and Caribbean fruit fly. The summer sprays for rust may be
needed if defoliation occurs before October, but isolated trees usually can
be kept in good condition by proper culture and fertilization.
White peach scale can cause much tree damage if allowed to become
established. Check carefully and spray infected orchards with 3% oil
twice in the dormant season. Dormant sprays may not be necessary if in-
secticides are properly timed during the spring and summer. In problem
orchards, diazinon, ethion, or other materials, applied as recommended
on the label for scale, should be used at times of major crawler activity.
This is generally mid-April, mid-June and late August. Best timing is
regularly announced by Extension personnel, as it varies somewhat by
seasons (Fig. 4).
Curculio appears not to be a problem at present in southern Florida,
but is the most serious pest of peaches in central and northern Florida
where wild plums are common. At Gainesville, major egg-laying periods
on fruit have ranged between March 8 and April 10. Egg-laying activity
appears to be timed with the shucksplit (usually 15 to 20 days after full
bloom) stage in wild plums. Sprays applied during the middle to end of
March are generally effective but should be modified with seasonal dif-
ferences. Egg-laying is prolonged through the month of March if cool
weather persists, and an additional spray may be needed.
Fig. 4. White peach scale on peach. Fig. 5. Plum curculio is making cresent-
shaped cuts on fruit where eggs are laid.
Fig. 6. Peaches gnarled as a result of egg laying and feeding punctures of the plum
-* 1- t,*"S 3
1La-AS*& rS VPMI
Stink bugs are sucking insects that cause "catfacing" or "dimpling" of
fruits from early season feeding and gumming later in the season. They
also increase brown rot damage. Sprays may be needed prior to first
cover on early flowering cultivars. Use insecticides at rates used for cur-
culio. Where cultural conditions permit, some reduction in populations
has been reported by eliminating cover crops such as peas, beans,
crotalaria, beggar-weed, and citrons.
Caribbean fruit fly has become widespread in southern Florida, and
peaches are a favorite host. Infestation is normally detected by the
presence of small white worms in the fruit. At present there is no prac-
Borers are a problem throughout central and northern Florida. Uncon-
trolled populations ruin trees by severe girdling of the branches or tree
trunk at the soil line. The lesser borer attacks the tree framework at in-
juries or at large pruning cuts, and is becoming more important in
Florida. The lesser borer lays eggs earlier in the season, has more life
cycles per summer, and requires sprays as soon as possible after fruit
harvest. Thiodan is commonly used for borer control. Borers in dooryard
trees can be removed by hand digging under gum spots in late summer
and fall. The immature insect is a small white grub. There are at least 2
generations of the main borer and 3 to 4 of the lesser borer in Florida.
Scab affects peaches in all areas of the state, causing small brown spots
on skin of fruit. Sulfur sprays 4 to 6 weeks after full bloom are essential
for control. The earliest cultivars ripen before spotting is too noticeable.
Bacterial spot is serious on Maygold in the Quincy area in some years,
Fig. 7. Ripe peach showing the effect Fig. 8. Peach tree attacked at the base by
of attack by leaf-footed bugs several the peach tree borer.
Fig. 9. Scab spots on peaches, showing the cracking that often develops when the
spots are numerous.
and is not effectively controlled by sprays. It has not yet become serious
in central Florida areas. Trees with good fertilization are less susceptible
to bacterial spot than are under-fertilized ones.
Brown rot has not been a very serious problem on early peaches in cen-
tral Florida, probably due to the characteristically dry climate in April
and May. It can be quite serious in northern Florida in springs that are
wet, for at this time the late-ripening cultivars grown for local use are
Rust can be one of the more serious diseases in central Florida. Severe
defoliation has occurred by mid-summer in some instances and un-
doubtedly weakens the trees. In northern Florida infection usually does
not appear until late summer or fall, as it does in Georgia and South
Carolina where the disease is considered of minor importance. Sprays of
zinc sulfate-lime, 4-4-100 for control of zinc deficiency helps to control
rust. Sulfur has some control value. If desired, Zineb may be used at 2 lbs
per 100 gallons.
Mushroom root rot is a fungus disease often present in newly cleared
red oak land. There is no practical control, other than planting on sites
relatively free of decaying oak roots. Peach trees wilt suddenly, usually
starting about their third year in the orchard. Cutting through the bark
at and just below the ground line discloses a thin white fungus growth be-
tween the bark and wood. This white growth may be visible on only one
side of the tree or may completely encircle the tree.
Phony peach caused by a bacterium occurs in all established peach
growing regions in Florida. It is introduced in nursery stocks, in infected
budwood, or through wild hosts. Phony is found in wild plum trees in
Florida but causes no observable damage to these plums. When transmit-
Fig. 10. Peaches covered with spores of the rot fungus. The infection spreads to the
twig from the blighted blossom still attached to it, and to the fruit from the twig.
ted to the peach by leafhoppers, it causes tree dwarfing, distorted small
fruit, and poor fruit production. Before planting peaches, remove or kill
all wild plums within one quarter mile of the orchard where possible.
Spray with 2, 4, 5-T or Ammate in the spring after leafing to kill wild
plums. Examine orchards for dwarfed trees in early summer and remove
them promptly to avoid spread.
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, INSTI-
TUTE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES, John T. Woeste, Director,
in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture, publishes this ,
information to further the purpose of the May 8 and June 30, 1914 Acts of E
Congress; and is authorized to provide research, educational information and *
other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to
race, color, sex, age, handicap or national origin. Single copies of extension *
publications (excluding 4-H and youth publications) are available free to Florida 10
residents from county extension offices. Information on bulk rates or copies for
out-of-state purchasers is available from C.M. Hinton, Publications Distribution Center, IFAS Building
664, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611. Before publicizing this publication, editors should
contact this address to determine availability. Revised 4/93.