Peach Leaf Curl report from NWFruit

When WSU started shutting down their fruit trials at the 12 acre Mt. Vernon research station, NW Fruit (formerly NWFTF) was formed to preserve some of the best of the WSU trials.

Sam Benowitz (former owner of Raintree) is now president of the board of directors of NW Fruit. At NW fruit events, he often tag-teams with Gary Moulton, the site’s former manager, for discussions about varieties, disease, and pruning. You’ll see Moulton’s name on many of the older fruit tree publications from WSU.You’ll also see Raintree’s 2016 catalog used as a reference for fruit tree discussions. (I miss having that hand-held reference!)

Moulton, left, Benowitz, right

In another tidbit from our conversation yesterday, I mentioned that NW Fruit’s 15 year old planting of persimmons ( Fuyu, Jiro, Ichi) fruit every year but never ripen. (Remember this site is 100 miles north of Seattle and does not compare with those of you in south Puget Sound.) He agreed and said they were considering removing them and replacing with Saijo, Nikita’s Gift and a new trial of American persimmons. I said I thought a new trial of all the ‘Prairie’ varieties of American persimmons would be great for the west side growers.


Did they spray frost and other curl resistant trees back when the trials were conducted in early 2000’s.

I’m quite sure they’ve been spraying since first planting. Having attended their programs since the early 2000s, their early approach was very much in favor of synthetics …and it was difficult to suggest otherwise. Only recently, with members nudging them on, have they moved toward organic sprays, fruit coverings, and netting.
Another tidbit - Sam mentioned yesterday that the apples and pears at the garden are sprayed in Jan/Feb with Ziram. I was surprised to hear that! Later I realized that they their large planting (about 60 trees) of ‘antique’ apples would probably suffer from severe scab without spraying. To keep scab in check, I’ve had to switch to scab-resistant apples and pears and still spray lime/sulfur to keep things relatively clean. Again, this may not apply to other regions of the PNW.


I spray my peaches with compost tea in April usually. It takes a couple of weeks for them to go from dangerously ugly with PLC, etc. to looking like a healthy tree, but it works. Especially fungal compost tea.

John S

What is the age of the trees,John?

10 years old?

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This is interesting. You mention fungal compost tea, how is that made?

I think it’s impossible not to spray in a large setting with dozen plus trees. What organic spray are they using?

Sam mentioned dormant oil, lime/sulfur, and copper.
It would be great if they did a trial of compost tea.