I know I’m really tempting fate and the fruit gods to prove me wrong by saying this too early, but it really looks like I have beat back brown rot this year on my peaches. To appreciate this, you first need to understand how bad it was the last 2 years- especially last year. I literally lost each and every peach on about 6 fully loaded peach trees last year!!! About 1-2 days before a peach was ripe enough to pick, I’d see that dreaded brown fuzz/hair/fungus start to form and within 24 hours the whole fruit would be covered in it. Any injured fruit would get hit even before the ripening stage. In short, I had it about as bad as it gets. My early peaches are ripening now, and I haven’t seen even a TRACE of brown rot. It is absolutely THRILLING to see my intervention make such a big difference! Even peaches that are touching (I left several twins this time because I had so few fruit after the late freeze we had) don’t have it, and they ALWAYS were the first to get brown spot in the past.
Last year I just sprayed dormant oil and copper in late winter and insect control the rest of the time (Imidan). This sounds naive but I’d never had brown rot in the years before that. This year I took a multi-faceted approach to ending up, but the problem now is I don’t know which thing I did worked. I also did a few things you may say I shouldn’t have, but it worked out. For example, I sprayed Copper (Kocide 3000) at bud swell, during bloom, and about every 10 days since then. I did weaken to to half strength durring bloom and post bloom. I have seen no damage to leaves or anything else.
I also sprayed both Myclobutanil AND Captan every 10 days starting at bud swell, durring bloom, and ever since. After petal drop its always been both of these 2 along with copper and imidan insect spray. I fully understand that this is fungicide overkill and somewhat wasteful. The problem is I kept reading in various places that each ingredient (even copper! Crazy or not, i saw a lot of places claiming copper would help brown rot, though that seems to not be the popular opinion) would help prevent brown rot, then I’d read elsewhere that each of those things were NOT very effective.against Brown Rot. Not wanting to loose all my peaches for a 3rd year, I intentionally went overboard and sprayed all 3 (Myclo, Captan, Copper) and even did so pre-bloom, during bloom, and every 10 days post bloom.
So again, my problem now is I don’t know which worked. To be honest, it wasn’t THAT expensive in my small orchard to use all 3, so I might do that again next year, Perhaps I’ll try different things on different trees and see which of the 3 seems to be doing the trick. I would also like to add that while it never bothered me much, my peaches have always had a lot of brown spots (bacterial spot and/or peach scab, not sure which I had) but it didn’t affect taste so I didn’t much care. But this year my peaches are all just picture perfect- not a single spot of any kind on any of them. A very nice side benefit of all the fungicides.
Again, all I can say so far is that my early peaches don’t have brown rot, and last year they had it BAD. It remains to be seen if my regular season peaches will do as well, but so far I’m pretty excited.