Horticultural Sciences Department

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Stone Fruit Disease Management

Controlling diseases in stone fruit orchards can be a challenge in any environment, but particularly in a subtropical climate. Although most diseases can be controlled, growers must be vigilant and control the disease progression before an epidemic occurs.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques can be implemented with weekly scouting to aid in responsible chemical applications in both conventional and organic orchards. Listed below are peach diseases common to stone fruit production in Florida. Please use the most current Southeastern Peach, Nectarine and Plum Pest Management and Culture Guide when making decisions on when and what to apply for control of these diseases.  Be sure to rotate fungicide chemistries to avoid development of resistance in your orchard.  The consequences can be severe, such as the loss of an entire class of fungicide for a particular disease

In addition, be sure that you are calibrating your spray equipment properly.  While small farms and orchards may be using backpack sprayers, large airblast sprayers are often used in larger orchards. 

Major Stone Fruit Diseases:

Young peach trees affected by Peach Tree Short Life (PTSL). Trees affected with PTSL are delayed in growth compared to healthy trees (right).

Peach leaves affected by bacterial leaf spot symptoms. 'FlordaPrince' and 'TropicBeauty' are particularly susceptible, while new varieties are tolerant or resistant to bacterial leaf spot.
Photo forestryimages.org

Recordkeeping is an essential activity when managing your orchard, and the Florida Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services has provided a suggested Pesticide Recordkeeping Form:

Organic Production

Diagnostic Services

The University of Florida has a clinic available to help determine insect and pest problems. They charge a small fee to assess plant or soil materiall. Be sure to fill out the proper form when submitting a sample to each clinic.

Insect Identification Service

Plant Disease Clinic (Florida Plant Diagnostic Network) Sample Submission Form (Gainesville)

Plant Disease Clinic (Homestead)

Nematode Assay Lab  (Gainesville)

Virtual Field Days - UF/IFAS Extension

These short videos are great visual supplements to all of the literature presented on this webpage. Meet the research and extension personnel responsible for stone fruit horticulture and pathology through these Virtual Field Days.