Peach Problems


#1

My earliest peach, Earlitreat, in previous years has given me delicious fruit at this time of year. This year, although the tree is loaded with fruit, there are problems.

  1. Possibly unrelated and not necessarily a problem for me is that many of the peaches are dimpled, but show no other external problems.
  2. Although the fruit is hard to pick from the tree, many are falling off rotten, possibly due to what looks like small holes (insect damage?) that progresses to rot of the bottom of the peach.
  3. Most I have picked so far, and those that fell on the ground, have split pits.
  4. Although rotten fruit is dropping, others are holding tight to the tree requiring much effort to pick them. To me, that indicates they are not yet ripe. Also they are not sweet.

Each of these items may be unrelated.

Possible factors:
The tree is 6 years old, kept about waist height with summer pruning, never fertilized but always put on good growth and blossoms. Despite years of drought and no supplemetal watering, it and my other trees never looked stressed. Dormant trees sprayed 3 times with Daconil, no pesticides. It is currently loaded with fruit despite having been thinned.

This winter, California emerged from years of drought with rather heavy (for us) rainfall through March with periodic light rain since then.

Next in line for harvest is FlordaKing in about two weeks. No evidence of dimpling there.


#2

@RandallW, early peaches like that are much better on the years we don’t have heavy rain at bloom and right before ripening. Most suffer brown rot and because of no really hot weather never get their sugars up. My early peaches are not very good this year either, so its not just you! As we get into our summer here things will be better.


#3

Thank you. Any input on why all the split pits? I am now harvesting FlordaKing peaches. Not very sweet but no brown rot and no split pits (so far).


#4

@RandallW, the excess rain before ripening is likely the problem and you want to wait to thin after the pit has hardened.


#5

Jon,

Do yo always thin your peaches after pit hardening? I heard recommendations as early as flower stage for thinning.


#6

I usually thin my peaches and nectarines when they are about the size of the end of my thumb, I don’t know if the pit has hardened by that time.
I have 15 varieties of peaches/nectarines and split pits have not been a problem in the past. Perhaps it is connected to the brown rot problem this year.

Another odd thing was that about half of the Earlitreat peaches had dimpling; some of it minor but some were lumpy like a potato. I have considered the possibility of insect damage. A neighboring nectarine gets some trips damage, but this is quite different (no scarring).


#7

Have you read this thread? It may answer some of your questions.


#8

@Ahmad, no, not always, with all the fruit here I thin when I can, sometimes 3 or 4 rounds. I try and wait until the fruit is bigger than a nickel before I thin, something I heard but I can’t remember where. I will try and thin good early so I don’t have to too late. If you thin too late you sacrifice brix and can lead to split pit with extra water/rain. I don’t know about thinning at bloom, probably fine, just don’t pull the buds off.


#9

Thinning is so much work, I try to start by pruning then thinning at the bud stage (I usually don’t have to worry about Spring freezes killing my buds) It is so much easier to thin buds because absolutley nothing is in your way. I literally have thousands to remove. I try to thin as often as I can as time permits. Even though I start at the bud stage, sometimes I don’t finish until the golf ball stage. I really don’t see how people with a lot of trees like @Olpea do it. This year was particularly bad because we got a cold snap and I got scared and didn’t thin buds. Then I tried my hand at grafting 70 or so grafts and that put me even farther behind. I finally finished up this week. It is, by far, my least favorite part of this hobby.:face_with_raised_eyebrow:


#10

Agree. I have only two full size peach trees. It is a time consuming task. I do at least 3-4 rounds of thinning starting at a pea size (I love seeing peach flowers so I let them bloom).

The sooner they are thinned off, the less energy the trees need to feed on those fruitlets.


#11

@fruitgrower @SpokanePeach @mamuang I more or less do like you guys, pruning is my first step in thinning, then I keep all the flowers as they are so pretty, and start thinning at shuck split… However, after 2-3 rounds of thinning and after my nectarines reached between olives and golf ball size, I feel that a couple of my trees can use some more thinning, I think I will do my final round this weekend. I kind of hesitated to do this final round, as you probably know, the emotional penalty gets higher as the fruits get bigger!


#12

Ahmad,
I have thinned peaches for the past 6 years. It does not get any easily emotionally :smile:


#13

It was really tough this year (and expensive).

It’s a little hard to teach people how to thin, but really hard to teach them to go fast while doing it (which as a commercial grower - is really important). You have to recoup all the labor cost which goes into pruning, thinning and picking. If it’s too much labor, you can’t recoup the cost.

I mostly try to show my help to go fast by demonstrating. On a heavily set variety, I go in there and start shredding. I rip off more shoots with my hands than I do prune them with pruners (although we keep pruners in our hands while thinning). All the small shoots come off, any shoot which doesn’t have fruit comes off. Then it’s a matter of thinning the rest of the shoots. I can thin a full sized tree in about 1/2 hour. Donuts take longer. Twice as long.

We waited till bigger than thumbnail size before we started thinning. By then a lot of the fruit has started to drop off, or by then it’s easy to see which fruit are going to abort anyway. By the time we finished (just the other day) fruit was golf ball sized and really easy to thin at that point.

Of course we thin the earliest varieties first and the donuts last.

It took us over a month to get it done. Glad that part’s done.