I'm having difficulty getting my stone fruit trees to bear some fruit at
harvest time. Did some research and it appears that Brown Rot and
Curled Leaf are two diseases that just won't go away. I have peach,
nectarine, plum, cherry & apple trees. I live in New England.
Was hoping one of you kind folks would share some wisdom so that I can
at least see what a home grown plum tastes like. :)
The fruit trees are 5 to 6 years old.
The Peach trees have had fruit for the past two years, but they fall off
before maturing and they have the leaf curl disease.
The nectarine trees had fruit for the first time last year but they all
dried up before they matured. The same thing with the apple trees.
The cherry tree has never had fruit, but it's only 3 years old.
The plum trees has had fruit for the past three years but last year they
got the biggest and appeared to be ready to deliver. All the fruit then
shriveled up in a two week span -- after research, I determined it was
I did spray a generic fungicide early in the year but that was advice
from a friend of a friend. I figured before I would dig in and research
this fully on the net, I would see if anyone living in the Northeast had
simple advice, etc...
I am not convinced that you do not have a pollination problem. Do you
know of honeybees in your area? Have seen any on the flowers?
Wild honeybees are nearly non-existant in New England due to the mite
problem. Other pollinators are around but are far less effective.
Fruit fall is a common symptom of poor pollination.
However, you can deal with problems like leaf curl and brown rot with
Captan. Follow the label instructions carefully, especially the
personal protective equipment descriptions. Captan can cause
irreversible eye damage so eye protection is a must. The first
application is before leafout.
Plum curculio has been a big problem in New England lately.
Unfortunately, there is no pesticide remedy available to homeowners.
General fruit tree spray used to include an ingredient for plum
curculio but that ended two years ago. Many of the New England
homeowner apples and plums suffer from curculio infestation. A small
sicle shaped spot on fruit is a sign that the adult layed her eggs in
the fruit. The fruit will wither and drop off as the grub munches
Some of the trees are self-pollinating. Does that make a difference?
(pardon my ignorance... :)
Thanks for the tip -- I'll check out Captan. I'm guessing you can
purchase that stuff at a local brick & mortar or do I have to purchase
this online? Also, I'm assuming that when I get the Captan, it'll have
directions for frequency of use (timing), etc?
That's exactly what is happening. Very frustrating...
Thanks for your help, John!
Self pollinating means that they do not need a different variety in
the area for pollination. It does not mean that they do not need
pollinators, i.e. honeybees or bumble bees.
Even self pollinators benefit from cross pollination with another
variety. Toka is a great plum pollinizer but you still need
pollinators to carry the pollen from tree to tree.
Yes, the label is very complete and very specific - BE SURE TO FOLLOW
THE LABEL. That is the credo of all licensed pesticide applicators,
heed our lead.
The use of any fungicide or pesticide on fruit trees is highly dependent
upon your local weather conditions. In general tree sprays are applied when
the tree goes through certain phases (i.e. dormant, buds showing, pink buds,
leaf opening, first signs of fruit, etc). You also don't want to just be
spraying "just-in-case". Look up some IPM techniques for your fruit and your
area to use the least amount of material possible.
Captan is available in almost any garden center including the Walmarts of
the world. It's pretty expensive. You really don't want to spend more on
sprays than the fruit itself is worth.
Hopkinton, MA (Zone 6a)
I live in Oklahoma and "Brown Rot" is really a problem here. I have
tried "Captan" and it seems to have very little effect on the "Rot".
Nectarines seem to be the worst but now peaches are hit hard every year
even to the extent that some of the trees have died. I'm sure that
there must be a fungicide out there that would control this but I don't
think that they are available to the home gardener. I've heard that
"Spectracide" is more effective than Captan and plan to use it this year
but I'm not setting my hopes too high. Most advice I've read on the Rot
problem involves "sanitation" by making sure that all the mummified
fruit is cleaned from beneath the trees, but with the lesions that I
find on the twigs and bark seem to be a worse source of rot spores then
the mummified fruit. Any way, I've got a couple of nice stumps to sit
on now. Take a look at the following link:
First, how old are you trees? If they aren't mature enough -- usually @ 3 -
4 years -- they won't bear fruit. However, since you mention apple trees
along with the stone fruits, I'm thinking you either have more than one
problem going on or that having no fruit on different types of plants is
caused by something like spraying for insects in spring when the trees are
ready to be pollinated and the bees are being killed.
Do you see fruit start to form on any of your trees? If not, something is
likely going on to prevent pollination. See insecticide spraying above.
If none of this gets you closer to getting an idea of why you're not getting
fruit, give your County Extension a call. Here's a link to Extension
offices by state: http://www.scottsprohort.com/grower_solutions/links.cfm
Good luck. Hope this helps!
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