JfL BIG BEND HORTICULTURAL LABORATORY
NORTH FLORIDA EXPERIMENT STATION
January 5, 1965
Big Bend Hort. Lab. Mimeo Report PEC 65-1
SUGGESTIONS FOR PEACH GROWERS IN NORTH FLORID -<
by H. W. Young, H. H. Bryan, A. M. Phillips, J. R. gel
Site Selection and Planting
A well-drained sandy loam or sandy clay loam soil with a well-drained su s is suitable
for peaches. A very steep or eroded hillside should be avoided; however, planting on a
slope with good air and water drainage is essential.
Several weeks prior to planting, the soil should be prepared and marked to indicate tree
locations. Trees may be planted to allow for cultivation both ways, or on the contour. A
spacing of 20 x 20 feet is satisfactory, but 25 x 25 feet will permit easier use of spray
and cultivation equipment. When planting on the contour, it may be desirable to have the
rows 25 feet apart and the trees about 15 to 18 feet apart in the row. Bands 6 to 8 feet
wide in the rows where the trees will be planted should be fumigated for nematode control
with EDB, DD, or Telone at the rate and preplant waiting period recommended by the company.
Trees about three feet in height are best for planting. Unless extra care is taken a very
large or very small tree may not survive. If acquired from a northern source, trees should
be obtained in December and planted immediately or "heeled in" (in a fumigated plot) until
January. If trees grown north of Georgia and obtained in January or later are planted,
premature leaf bud growth may occur that can be killed by spring freezes and result in tree
In planting the trees, dig holes wide enough to easily handle the roots and deep enough to
break any existing hardpan. A 14-inch tractor mounted soil auger is effective for this
purpose. Plant the tree at the same depth as it grew in the nursery. Any dead or damaged
roots should be pruned back to healthy tissue. Add top soil until the hole is half filled,
making certain that air pockets are not left under the roots. Continue to add soil,
pressing carefully with the feet. Water to settle the soil, and fill the remainder of the
For commercial production in this area a variety must produce fruit early and with
acceptable quality and firmness for shipment. Such a variety should require between 600 and
650 hours of temperature at or below 45 degrees (by February 15) to produce normal flowering.
Maygold is recommended for North Florida areas west of the Suwannee River. Springtime
(white fleshed) and Earligold, about two weeks earlier than Maygold; Junegold, larger
fruited and four to seven days earlier than Maygold; and Suwanee, freestone and two to three
1 Associate Horticulturist in Charge, BBHL; Assistant Horticulturist, NFES; Associate
Entomologist, BBHL; and Associate Plant Pathologist, BBHL, respectively.
weeks later than Maygold are suggested to extend the marketing season. Even with Maygold
which has a chilling requirement of 650 hours, there is a possibility that after mild
winters the flowering and fruiting may be abnormal.
The varieties Hiland, Sunhigh, Flordaqueen, Fortyniner, Saturn, Double Delight, Flordahome,
and the dwarf, Bonanza, may be considered for home plantings but are not suitable for
Peach varieties are usually budded onto a rootstock of another variety. Nematode resistant
rootstock would be advantageous but additional testing is needed. Nemaguard has performed
better than other resistant rootstocks tested. S-37 rootstock is not suited to the North
Florida area. A common rootst.k like Elberta or Lovell may be satisfactory if the land is
fumigated before planting and if the trees are planted in an area where nematodes are not a
serious problem. In lighter soils, nematodes may become a problem after planting. Cover
crops, such as rye, and the use of mulch around the trees have been reported to reduce the
A soil pH between 5.8 and 6.5 is suitable for peach production. Dolomitic limestone should
be used to correct the pi when soils are too acid. At times soil tests will indicate a need
for magnesium when the pH is acceptable. In that case:
(1) Use a fertilizer containing 2 to 5 percent magnesium oxide,
(2) Apply Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate)
(a) to the soil at the rate of 300 pounds per acre (0.5
pounds MgO per mature tree), or
(b) as a foliage spray at the rate of 10 pounds per 100
gallons of water per acre.
Two percent ZnO should be included in all the following N-P205-K20 formulations every third
(1) First growing season:
(a) apply 1 pound 10-10-10 per tree in February, or
(b) apply 0.5 pound 10-10-10 in February and 0.5 pound in June.
(c) If the leaves begin to turn yellow by August, 0.2 pound of
ammonium nitrate may be applied but should not be applied
after August 1.
(2) Two to Five year old trees:
(a) Apply 0.8 to 1.0 pound of 10-10-10, 10-5-5, 8-8-8 (depending
on the soil and/or leaf analysis) per year of age of tree in
the orchard in February or split in two applications, one in
February and one in June.
(b) This may be supplemented with 0.1 to 0.25 pound of ammonium
nitrate per year of tree age applied from June to August 1,
if excessive rainfall occurs and leaves are yellow.
(3) Six year and older trees:
(a) Broadcast 600 to 1000 pounds of 10-10-10, 8-8-8, 10-5-5 or
5-10-10 per acre (depending on soil and/or leaf analysis, and
shoot growth) in February, or split in February and June
(b) Supplement from June to August 1 with one application of 0.5
to 1.5 pounds of ammonium nitrate per tree if leaf analysis,
leaf chlorosis or excess rainfall indicates a need.
Excessive fertilizer in single applications, especially during the first year, may cause
death of young trees if rainfall occurs shortly after application. Shoot growth greater
than 2 feet on mature trees during a season is excessive and nitrogen levels should be
reduced accordingly. Recommendations listed here are only generally applicable. Soil tests,
possibly leaf analysis, vegetative growth and fruit yield the previous year should be con-
sidered and discussed with your county agricultural agent before a more exact reco .en.-r:: icn
can be made.
Since a dry period often occurs in April and May and since research in other areas indicates
that adequate moisture the month previous to harvest is essential to obtain good fruit size,
it is recommended that 2 to 3 inches of irrigation water be applied 3 to 4 weeks prior to the
first harvest if there is no rainfall at that time. The water requirement for peaches is
more critical during this period than any other period annually and water should be applied
if at all possible. Normally the crop would require a minimum of 2 inches of water every 2
weeks, and irrigation should be used when it is not provided by rainfall. Irrigation water
just before or during harvest is likely to reduce fruit quality and should not be applied
within 2 weeks of harvest.
Tree Training and Pruning
Prune to a height of 30 inches at planting and remove all except the most vigorous lateral
branches. If trees are large, select three or four of the best wide-angled branches
originating within a space of 12 inches on the tree trunk, with the lowest branch about 18
inches from the ground level. Cut or pinch off all low growing suckers. During the first
winter remove about one-third of the scaffold branches to an outside lateral branch. Remove
all watersprouts and limbs that are too low to the ground. Rub off sucker growth from the
main branches early each spring. The main objective of pruning young peach trees is to
develop strong well-branched frameworks. Keep the center of the tree fairly open, leaving
enough shoots toward the center and upward to protect the tree trunk from sun scald. Young
trees need to have scaffold branches on the main and secondary frcaework; therefore, cutting
back and thinning out of crowded branches is necessary. Because of the rapid vegetative
growth in North Florida, it will be necessary to select these scaffold branches the first
year by pinching or cutting out undesirable shoots.
When the trees reach bearing age, pruning is done to maintain profitable fruit conditions.
Thin out weak, unproductive wood and thick parts, and cut back rangy branches. Upright
branches should be pruned back to outward growing laterals. It is desirable to control the
height of the tree so that trees can be pruned and harvested from the ground. Permitting
the trees to grow taller usually produces higher yield per tree but increases the operating
For further information on pruning and training, consult "Peach Growing East of the Rocky
Mountains", Farmer's USDA Bulletin 2021, which is probably available from your county agent.
Peach trees usually set more fruit than can be matured to marketable size. It has been
reported that overloaded trees reduce the number of flowers the following year*. Early
thinning (between the flowering stage and hardening of the pits) has fcn:r-fold pu1rose:
' Turkey, H. B. and Olav,Einset. 1938. Effect of fruit thinning on size, color, and yield
of peaches and on growth and blossoming of the tree. Proc. Am. Soc. Hort. Sci. 36:314-319.
(1) increase number and size of leaves, (2) increase fruit size, (3) improve early ripening,
and (4) produce more fruit buds for the next year.
No information is currently available on the use of chemical sprays for thinning in Florida.
The fruit should be thinned by hand to leave one fruit every 5 to 7 inches along the branch.
Rabbits can be a serious pest problem. Usually young trees are affected more than older
trees. By girdling young trees, rabbits may actually kill an entire planting. Although the
use of wire screening guards is the only certain way of controlling rabbit damage, Arasan
42-S (A Thiram compound) has been used as a repellent with considerable success. Arasan
42-S is either brushed or sprayed on the parts to be protected.
Insect and Disease Control
The pest control schedule suggested for North Florida is outlined in Table 1. This schedule
will not control bacterial spot, which has not been a serious problem with the early
varieties as long as tree vigor is maintained. Heavy rainfall, unusually large insect
infestations, and special disease problems may require additional sprays. Normally, if
rainfall occurs within 48 hours of application, the spray should be repeated. Timing of the
sprays is more important than the number of sprays applied.
Phony peach is a virus disease of peaches that is spread by leafhoppers, sucking insects
that feed on the small branches of peach and plum trees, from affected trees in the orchard
or from wild plums growing near the orchard. Leafhopper control would reduce the spread of
the virus, but, a more effective control would be: (1) to remove all affected trees immedi-
ately after detection; (2) remove all wild plum trees within a minimum of 400 yards of all
commercial orchards by spraying with Amate or 2, 4, 5-T in the spring after leaf out; and
(3) use nursery stock certified to be free of phony virus. It is safe to replant certified
trees in locations where phony peach trees have been removed from an orchard. Contact your
county agricultural agent for more information on the detection of the virus by symptoms of
growth and by chemical means.
An alternate spray schedule for home gardens is suggested in Entomology Mimeograph No. 32
(October, 1964). To control diseases in home garden peaches add 3 tablespoons of wettable
sulfur or 1.5 teaspoons of 50% Captan w.p. per gallon of water to the March to the pre-
harvest insect sprays recommended in Mimeograph No. 32.
Table 1. PEACH SPRAY SCHEDULE SUGGESTED FOR COMMERCIAL PLANTINGS.
Name and Time Material per Pests
of Spray 100 gallons Contolled Remarks
1. Dormant Liquid lime-sulfur 6 gals. Leaf curl If scales are a problem;
After all leaves Where there is a scale in- Scab 1 application lime-
are off and before festation use 12 gal. Scale sulfur for San Jose
buds begin to liquid lime-sulfur per 100 scale; 2 applications oil
swell in late gal. spray or a 3% oil spray 14 days apart for
winter. spray. (Mineral oil). white peach scale.
2. Blossom Wettable sulfur (sulfur Blossom blight Mainly for brown rot
content 80% or more) 6 -caused by brown problem areas only.
lbs. or Captan (50%) W/P rot fungus
2 lbs. Scab
3. Petal-Fall Wettable sulfur (80% +) Brown rot Do not apply parathion
After all petals 6 lbs. Plum.Curculio within 14 days or Guthion
are off and before plus Catfacing within 21 days or dieldrin
peach is showing Parathion (15%) 2 lbs. insects, within 30 days of harvest.
or Scab Spray tree thoroughly
Guthion (25%) 1 1/4 lbs. (See spray including trunk and
or notes) larger limbs.
Dieldrin (50%) 1/2 Ibs.
4. Shuck-Fall or Wettable sulfur (80% +) Brown rot See remarks above.
First Cover 6 Ibs. Scab Especially important for
3/4 shucks off plus Plum' Curculio plum curculio and scab.
Parathion (15%) 2 lbs. Catfacing
Guthion (25%) 1 1/4 lbs.
Dieldrin (50%) 1/2 Ibs.
5. Second Cover Wettable sulfur (80% +) Brown rot See remarks above.
6 Ibs. Scab Especially important for
7-10 days later plus Plum Curculio plum curculio and scab.
Parathion (15%) 2 lbs. Scale
Guthion (25%) 1 1/4 Ibs.
6. Four weeks before Wettable sulfur (80% +) Brown rot / See remarks for First
harvest 6 lbs. Plum Curculio Cover above.
of each variety plus Oriental fruit
Parathion (15%) 2 Ibs. Moth
Guthion (25%) 1 1/4 lbs.
Table 1. Continued.
Name and Time Material per Pests
of Spray 100 gallons Controlled Remarks
7. Two weeks before Wettable sulfur (80% +) Same as No. 6
harvest 6 lbs.
of each variety plus
Parathion (15%) 2 Ibs.
8. Pre-harvest Wettable sulfur (80% +) Same as No. 6
One week before 6 lbs.
harvest of each
Trunk sprays (Drench
trunk, lower branches Thiodan (50%) 1 1/2 lbs. Peach Tree Thoroughly wet trunk,
and soil at base of or Borer lower branches and soil
tree) Parathion (15%) 3 lbs. at base of tree.
July 15 or
DDT Wettable powder 50%, 8 lbs.
Dieldrin (50%) 6 Ibs.
August 15 Same as above. Peach Tree Same as above.
September 15 DDT wettable powder (50%) Peach Tree Same as above.
8 Ibs. Borer
Parathion (15%) 3 lbs.
SPRAY NOTES: (1) Captan can be used instead of wettable sulfur for brown rot at the rate of
2 Ibs. 50% Captan wettable powder per 100 gallons. (2) Sprays may be needed prior to First
Cover to control stink bugs on early flowering varieties to prevent "catfacing" or dimpling
of fruits. Use parathion or dieldrin at rates for curculio. (3) An Ethion-oil combination
spray can be used for scales during the dormant period instead of a 3% oil spray. Prepare
by mixing 1 pint of 46% Ethion emulsifiable concentrate in 100 gallons of water. Then add
3 quarts of 80-90% oil emulsion concentrate. See remarks above for number of applications.
MINIMUM DAYS BETWEEN LAST APPLICATION AND HARVEST: Parathion-14; Guthion-21; dieldrin-30;
Zineb-30; Thiodan-30; Ethion-30; Sulfur-no time limitations; Captan-no time limitations.
PRECAUTIONS: Read and heed all cautions and warnings on the pesticide label. Parathion
and Guthion are highly toxic insecticides and should be applied only by a trained and pro-
perly equipped operator. Store pesticides out of reach of children, irresponsible people
and livestock, and preferably under lock and key. Dispose of empty containers promptly and
SI ME ,r
GPhnt Protection loiter.
G AMOUNT <
T -. -.- EXTENSION ENTOMOLOGY MIMEOGRAPH NO. 32 (REVISED)
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN AGRICULTURE & HOME ECONOMICS
University of Florida and United States Department of Agriculture Cooperating Gaineville
..... Gainesville, Florida
Revised October, 1964
SUGGESTED DOORYARD PEACH AND PLUM INSECT CONTROL PROGRAM
James E. Brogdon
The most important insects of peaches and plums are common to both crops in
Florida. The plum curculio, scales, stink bugs, and peach tree borers are the
ost common insect pests.
What Causes "Wormy" Peaches and Plums?
The plum curculio is a hard snout beetle about 3/16 of an inch long, brown
mottled with gray. The female curculios cut crescent-shaped slits in the fruit
and lay eggs in them. The eggs hatch into whitish, legless grubs that feed in
the fruit, and may cause young peaches and plums to drop. Nearly mature fruits
may remain on the trees, but will be "wormy". Wild plums are an excellent host
for the plum curculio, and the insect is especially troublesome where plums are
common. Usually it is not necessary to spray for this pest in the southern part
of the state. (See back page for Control.)
Other Insect Pests
Two scales, which are found principally on the twigs and branches, are pests
of peach and plum trees. The San Jose Scale is gray to smoky black in color and
gives the heavily infested branches a roughened, gray appearance. White peach
Sscales.appear-as- cottony patches on the twigs and branches. Thorough wetting of
the bark when spraying for the plum curculio should aid in the control of these
scales. (See back page for Control.)
The peach tree borer is a serious pest of the peach, but less destructive to
plum trees. The larva or young usually enters the tree trunk at the surface of the
soil. Sprays are directed at the adult moths or the young larvae after they emerge
rom the eggs and before they can enter the tree trunk. (See back page for Control.,
Stink bugs may attack peaches as they are nearing maturity. Malathion will
aid in their control. (See back page for Control.)
Sprays: In order to be effective sprays should be applied on a schedule.
\' Sprayers: Insects can be controlled most effectively with power sprayers,
but most home gardeners with only a few trees will not have this kind of equipment.
A 2 or 3 gallon compressed air sprayer should be satisfactory, provided sufficient
hose, an extension rod and a suitable nozzle are used. Since this sprayer has no
means of agitation-to keep the wettable powder pesticides evenly mixed in the water,
it will be necessary to shake the sprayer rather frequently. A sprayer with some
means of agitation is preferable.
(Dec.-Jan.) SCALES: If San Jose scale is a problem apply a dormant oil spray (3%
actual oil) in mid-winter (Dec. 1-Jan. 15). If white peach scale is a
problem make two applications two weeks apart within the above dates.
To make the spray thoroughly mix cup of 80-90% oil in 1 gallon of water.
Do not spray if freezing temperatures are expected within 4 hours.
.(Mar.-Apil) PILM CURCULIO:. Apply a spray mixture of malathion plus methoxychlor or
Sevin at weekly intervals beginning March 1st and continuing through
the first week in April. To make the spray mix 4 tablespoons of 25%
malathion wettable powder or 2 teaspoons of 57% malathion liquid con-
centrate per gallon of water. Then add 3 tablespoons of 50% methoxychlor
wettable powder or 2 tablespoons of 50% Sevin wettable powder. For 25
gallons of water the amounts should be 1 pound of the 25% malathion
wettable powder or 1 pint of 57% malathion liquid concentrate plus 3/4
pound of 50o methoxychlor wettable powder or pound of 50o Sevin
wettable powder. Spray thoroughly the entire tree including the trunk
and larger limbs. This will aid in the control of scales.
(Pre-harvest) STINK BUGS may attack peaches nearing maturity. If sprays are needed,
apply Sevin at 2 tablespoons of 50% wettable powder per gallon of water
( pound in 25 gallons).
(July-Sept.) PEACH TREE BORER: Make 3 applications--July 1, August 1, September 1,
using 2 tablespoons of 50% Thiodan wettable powder or 6 tablespoons of
50% dieldrin wettable powder per gallon of-water. If neither Thiodan
nor dieldrin is available, use 8 tablespoons of 50% DDT wettable powder
per gallon of water. Apply thoroughly to the trunk, being especially
careful to wet the soil at the base of the tree.
SOIL APPLICATIONS FOR PLUM CURCULIO: Aldrin, dieldin or heptachlor applied
unatcrmly over the soil under the spread of the tree as a dust, spray or granule and
immediately worked into the soil will help to control the plum curculio by killing
many of the larvae in the soil. Applications can be made anytime before the "drop"
-of "wormy" peaches. A convenient treatment is to apply 2| dieldrin, aldrin or hepta-
-chlor granules or dust over the soil under the tree and extending a short distance out
beyond the drip of the tree and work into the soil. For an area in a circle extending
10 feet from the tree trunk, apply 1 pound of the 2% granules or dust. Repeat the
application every 3 or 4 years. This soil treatment is not a substitute for spraying
for plum curculio; it is only a supplemental measure.
Insecticides are poisons and should be handled and stored according to the pre-
cautions on the label. Wash dooryard peaches and plums before they are eaten. Do not
apply malathion within 7 days of harvest of peaches or 3 days of harvest of plums; or
Sevin within 1 day of harvest of peaches or plums; or methoxychlor within 7 days of
harvest of plums or 21 days of harvest of peaches.
The use of trade names in this mimeograph is solely for the purpose of providing
specific information, it is not a guarantee or warranty of the products named and does
not signify that they are approved to the exclusion of others of suitable composition.