New Member in south IL with a few fruit trees looking for spray advice

Hello from Southern Illinois (1hr 30 mins SE of St. Louis). My wife, 2 girls (8 & 2), and I live on 4acres.

In the spring of 2021 I planted a honeycrisp and golden delicious apple tree. The golden delicious died over the summer and was replaced in the fall. Both trees seem to be doing good now. The honeycrisp had a few flowers this year towards the top. The Honeycrisp tree does have some brown spots on the leaves. I will try to get some pictures later today.

In the Fall of 2021 I planted a Red Haven and StarkSpur EarliGlo (from Stark Bros Nursery). Both trees did great last year. This spring I noticed what I believe to be Peach Leaf Curl on both. Now within the last week, the leaves have started wilt and fall off.

In the Fall of 2022 I planted Bing and Rainier Sweet Cherry Trees. The Bing died over the winter and a replacement is on order for this fall. The Rainier died down to about 18” above the graft. I pruned it down to living tissue and I am now waiting to see if it will rebound. If not it will be replaced.

I also have some Natchez and Triple crown blackberries scattered around.

I have intermittently sprayed neem oil on the trees, but I’m not sure if I am wasting my time?

I’m looking for some suggestions on what and when to spray.

Thank you in advance for any help!


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Welcome to the forum from another southern Illinois member.

Welcome @dkr06022012.

PLC will have red spots, your peach doesn’t appear so.

Do you have very clay soil? I see spots in ground where grass doesn’t even grow. Your trees do not look very happy. It could be that the soil conditions are not ideal for your growing and are negatively impacting your trees. I bet if you brought in good soil and grew the trees in mounds, the issues would go away.

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Here is the area the trees are planted.

I do not have heavy clay soil. 18”+ of top soil where the trees are planted. The bare spots are mostly due to it being a newly planted stand of grass (last fall). Some of the leaves had reddish orange spots before they fell off.

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Welcome to the forum.

Close up pictures would be helpful. Spots on your apple leaves could likely be cedar apple rust (a common apple disease). Myclobutanil like Immunox fungicide spray will work.

Peach Leaf curl is a common peach disease but leaves will turned ugly, bumpy and take a while before the damaged leaves to fall off. You may have other issue but more pics are needed.

I don’t think Bing and Rainier cherries are suitable choice for your area.

Maybe, @IL847 could chime in.

I will try to get some more pictures this evening after work.

Some of the peach leaves curled up and got sort of hard and bumpy. I would guess from the time I noticed the leaves curling to falling off was about 2 weeks maybe a little longer.

Once PLC showed up. It is too late to treat it. Some people just pull affected leaves off. New leaves will emerge, usually clean.

Then, you can do preventative spray at dormant next year.

Thank you mamuang. From the little reading I have done, I thought that was the case.

IF plc is the culprit, search for JoeReal’s Italian Dressing spray.

Also read through Scott’s Low Impact Spray Schedule and his synthetic spray schedule. Alan has another great program too.

All of this I find overwhelming, but if you start by just reading through a few times you’ll begin to pick up on what and when are appropriate spray strategies for your situation.

Good luck and welcome to the forum!

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In that case it could be PLC.

Southern IL is much warmer than Northern IL. @dkr06022012 's climate is more like KY or even @clarkinks’s Kansas than Chicago.

@dkr06022012 welcome to the forum.

Your climate is warmer than mine,I am in Chicagoland. Red Heaven performances very well here. One of the most reliable peach cultivar I have seen in the area. It should thrive in your location weatherwise. Can’t see well from the picture, the tree seems need to be pruned into optimal scaffolds. The leafs look pale, may have some PH or nutrients intake issues. It doesn’t hurt have soil tested. Neem oil alone is not sufficient to combat the world of fungi, diseases. The longer you grow fruit trees on your property, the more bugs will show up, so do diseases. Following the dormant spray schedule is a effective way to control the diseases and bugs, therefore minimize your headache.
My peach care in the spring started with, after last dormant, 10-10-10 before bud break in March. At shuck split, I hit the tree with foliage spray with Sevin and immunox to control the pests and diseases. After that it depends on the weather and the performance of the trees to add or skip spray to target specific issues. In general, if you are doing dormant spray, in growing season one spray at the right time can control high percent of the bad bugs. If PC or stink bug showed up, I will give them second spray. I try to do minimum spray.

Rainier cherry struggles a little in Chicagoland, but depends on the micro environment too. Here in the suburbs, Rainier planted closer to the house, cold wind may also be shielded by neighbors’ houses, it can fruits like other sweet cherries. In your location both Bing and Rainier should fruit well. Maybe the location you planted both cherry trees is not a good spot. Sweet cherry doesn’t like wet feet. Or maybe there is something in the soil that killed the tree. So don’t plant the replacement tree in the same spot to avoid soil born diseases.

@dkr06022012 … here is some good “spray advice”… dont do it !!!

Well if you grow peaches… and you want to eat most of them… the bummer is you will have to spray and spray and spray.

I got rid of my peaches after being overcome with brown rot and oriential fruit moth. I did grow them 20 years… but no more. Not willing to do all that spraying.

Check out the thread below on “no spray fruits”.

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Here are a few pictures of the peach tree leaves and the spots on the apple tree.

I’ll go off topic here. 1. You need way more trees. :smiley:2. The guides here are very good. Scott has the low impact spray schedule and Alan has a synthetic schedule. Both of these guides are probably better than most guides published by major universities. I have been using Alan’s schedule for at least 10 years with mostly great success. I have late apple fly maggot here and a few other things so I have to spray more than the 3 times Alan recommends.

I hope you spend a lot of time here. Many contributors have tons of reports on interesting varieties off all types of fruit.

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Here are a few more.

Your peaches look like a bacterial spot issue.

The apples look like a scab issue than cedar apple rust. Close up pics of affected leaves will be helpful.

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I agree about the apple scab. On peach could it be peach scab, both sounds similar.

@dkr06022012, I also suggest to do dormant spray of copper + horticultural oil next year.


I am in Illinois as well in the central Illinois area.

For cherries in Illinois tart cherries are much easier to grow than sweet cherries. Best cultivars for sweet cherries in Illinois are BlackGold and WhiteGold. An older heirloom cultivar Black Tartarian is also a decent choice. In Illinois sweet cherries require dedication, a good spray schedule and some way to keep the birds away ( a net or bird scare tape).

This thread will give you an idea of what you will face.

For spraying we have two spray guides. One is organic and one is synthetic. For stone fruits sweet cherries, peaches, etc. most people struggle with the organic one and eventually move to the synthetic one. In Illinois for apples the organic one may work.

Synthetic spray schedule

Organic spray schedule

Welcome to the forum.


I agree the peach has bacterial spot and the apple has scab. Both are extremely common diseases. Copper at leaf fall and again in spring before leaves open is a good treatment for the peach. For scab myclobutanil is the best thing… I think Immunox spray still contains it.