Remove Hale peaches and start over?

I’ve followed the discussion on peach trees that succumb to disease and insects. I’ve got four Hale varieties–plus one I can’t identify–and brown mold gets them every year, no matter what I try spraying with. The unidentified tree is the one that always starts the darned cycle.

Would it be better to remove the four trees and replace with a different variety? I’m a hobby grower located in North Georgia.

1 Like

What and when are you spraying? My mom has a Red Haven that has had multiple problems including brown rot and I asked what to do on here a few weeks ago. I haven’t decided what I’m going to do but the general consensus seems to be that there is no magical variety that you can over-graft and have all of your problems go away.

I removed all my peach trees because of multiple disease problems. Dever got a fruit. I have also removed my apple trees for the same reason. no apple.


Hmmm. I use a spray schedule from my extension service which includes winter/dormant sprays, plus the budding and shuck sprays on through harvest. I’ve used mostly Bonide products, including a chlorothalonil fungicide. I also tried a Myclobutanil spray (Spectracide).

I think removing the most disease-prone tree is the best first step… the dilemma is whether to remove the other three as well. Not sure how well Hale peaches grow here. The garden center folks thought they were fine, since I was paying cash. :slight_smile:

One thing for sure: I appreciate farmers SO much more now.

While there may be some varieties that are slightly more resistant to brown rot, I think it would be pointless to start all over again with a new variety of peach tree. Brown Rot is a vicious disease that will wipe out every single fruit on a tree if not properly treated for it - I’ve lost more fruit to it than I care to admit. That being said, its all about whether you are devoted enough to spray every 10-14 days or not. If you are, you can absolutely get great peaches off any Hale variety of peaches. I have 2 and they are among my favorite peaches IF I KEEP UP WITH SPRAYING. I use copper, Myclobutanil, and Captan. Others like other fungucides. But you have to start early and spray often. If you don’t do that, changing varieties is not going to help, but if you do a good job with spraying you can get great fruit with the trees you have. I’m in TN my orchard has extreme brown rot presence, my my Hale-haven and JH hale trees produce amazing, beautiful fruit when I stay on top of spray regiment. I’d hate to see you start all over again when you have fruiting age trees already. Good luck

Thank you! I have never used Captan alone… I have used in a combo spray. I just ordered Captan 50WP and will use this. I am committed to spraying-- but sometimes that brown rot makes me so crazy I feel like I need to be committed. :slight_smile:
I have a landscape crew coming tomorrow to see what else can be done… I suspect the ground around the trees is contributing to fungus staying around. I will clean it up and give these trees one more season.

I really hate to say this after you have said you’ve ordered Captan, but I think captan is probably not all that effective by itself against brown rot. I always spray copper just about the time buds start to show color (which is a bit late according to some but has never been a problem for me). Then I spray captan AND myclobutanil TOGETHER about every 10 days the rest of the year. I use Eagle 20 EW for Myclobutanil which I think is a little stronger (if mixed as directed) than the Spectracide you said you tried. Now, some people are going to come along and say that using Myclo and Captan together is redundant and a bit wasteful. But I’ve tried using each one by itself and not had great results- especially the captan. I’ve also rotated the 2 and had even worse results. I can only tell you what works best for me, and using copper early and then Myclo and Captan together (I literally mix them in the same tank) absolutely stops brown rot. And if you only have 4 trees, its not very expensive to do that. I get both of mine from the local co-op. They are cheaper than any online source I’ve ever found. THey don’t stock them, but you can put in an order and they get them in about a week. So you might consider that.

All most all the university fruit growing information puts a lot of emphasis on keeping a clean house - ie picking up rotten fruit, removing mummies, cutting out affected wood, and even cleaning up leaf litter. So your landscapers are probably not a bad idea. That being said, when you have 125 trees like I do- let alone as many as someone like @Olpea , it is next to impossible to keep everything as clean as the y want you to. I let all my thinned fruit fall to the ground, and when I do get hit with Brown Rot I don’t get all the fallen fruit picked up. People will say how awful that is and how it will lead to the spread of brown rot (I understand how the spores work) but with a good spray program, I’ve always done fine even without proper orchard hygiene. Just something to keep in mind. Once again…its all about spraying! Good luck!


Thanks! I will follow your lead on the spraying with Captan and use copper for the early spray. I REALLY appreciate the time you took to explain your process. I will definitely try this out.

One thing to be aware of is that Captan generally needs an acidifier in the water before the Captan is added. Captan is very sensitive to alkaline hydrolysis.

I would agree with Cityman that there is no need to remove your peach trees. There are some peach varieties more resistant to brown rot, but it’s likely you will have the same problems, until you can get a handle on the fungus.

I’ve had good luck with captan alone, but mixing it with another fungicide of a different mode of action can provide even more protection.

Myclobutanil isn’t rated super highly against brown rot, but I don’t doubt it can add to the effectiveness of Captan which Cityman mentions. There are several ways to combat brown rot.

Propiconazole would be another option, which is easily available for home growers.


Just curious on where you come down on the whole “keep it clean” thing. I know its completely blasphemous to say anything other than how important clean orchard culture is since almost everything says its critical. And I do understand that spores overwinter in things like previously affected twigs, mummified fruits, and so on and how it can jump up/splash up and spread in spring from any organic material left behind the previous fall. But I’ll go ahead and say that while I try to keep a pretty clean orchard, I don’t get every mummy, I certainly don’t get every dead branch tip removed, and if I do have some brown rot that causes fruit to fall, I don’t always get them all up. Yet if I keep my spray regiment very tight, I’ve had plenty of trees with some dead fruit and other organic matter in and under them and still controlled brown rot 100%. With all my trees its almost impossible to police them as well as many sources say I should, and I’d think you had the same problem. Is that true? Of course we both can agree than good clean culture is best and helps, but I’m not sure its quite as critical as many would have us believe. What do you think?

Thank you!! Did not realize this about Captan but was planning on using it in a combo spray as thecityman suggested. I will look into propiconazole… rotating these on the spray schedule will be my best bet, I’m guessing.
Y’all are SO generous with your ideas and expertise. I appreciate it very much!

I would love to hear from other growers on their experience. How do the commercial orchards deal with this? What a nightmare.

BTW, my dad was furiously against my planting these peach trees. He warned me about dangerous peach snakes.
Apparently, where he grew up there was an orchard where he saw a fair number of venomous snakes, and, being a kid, assumed they were there to eat the peaches. :slight_smile:
I about died laughing. Pretty sure they were there to eat the rodents that fed on the peaches on the ground…
He agreed, after some thought, but is still leery of my trees…

Hi Cityman.

I think that’s a really good question. And you’re right that it’s sort of taboo to say otherwise. Because the general current societal mood is that any chemical sprays are bad, etc. university guidelines always make a major point about cultural methods.

Sometimes cultural methods make no difference. For instance picking off all the leaves which are deformed from leaf curl and burning/burying them isn’t going to make much of a difference, imo.

There are some people who have claimed success doing so, but the data point probably doesn’t fall outside the expected random standard deviation. In other words, any success enjoyed from their effort was probably just luck, since the fungus is fairly ubiquitous.

That said, I think picking up drops and disposing them has merit for commercial orchards, imo. I doubt it has a whole lot of merit for home orchards. The reason is that there can be so many drops in a commercial orchard, the floors stink with rotted fruit. Please don’t ask me how I know this :grimacing: :wink:

Seriously though, we’ve had times when the orchard floor was covered in rotted fruit and it is during those times (with rain) that we’ve had more issues with rot and SWD. If we can pick the floor up, that can help considerably.

I’ve seen littered orchard floors on other commercial orchards as well, so we aren’t the only ones who sometimes let this happen.

The problem is the biggest labor requirements come all at the same time. In other words, the crop must be picked and sold (retailed in my case). Weeds are growing like mad during this time, so they must be mowed, and sprayed. Peach trees require summer pruning. There is just a million things to do. So you have to prioritize what gets done. Every single day in the summertime I get up and make a mental note to myself of things which must be done today. Those are typically the only things which get done that day. Picking up drops is not at the top of the list.

It takes about an hour to pick up drops if they have been picked up the day before. It takes 3 hrs. or more if it gets away from us. But it does help with rot and SWD.

Squishing them helps some because they break down in the sun faster. It helps least with SWD because they will lay eggs in squished fruit. It helps some with brown rot because squished peaches dry up pretty fast in the hot sun.

That is funny. I’ve never seen a snake in the trees in my orchard. I’ve seen them on the ground, in tall grass, but not in the trees. Rodents don’t live in peach trees, so I suspect there were some birds making nests the trees your father saw. The snakes were probably after the nesting birds.


Bonide sells it as Infuse concentrate. I use that and Bonide’s Fruit Tree and Plant Guard, although this product has an insecticide too, and many don’t want that but I have problems with PC, so I need it. Rotating these two products with one or two sprays of Captan early in the season as it is very effective against blossom blight which is also caused by the brown rot fungus, usually very early on. If I’m late with a spray, or miss a spray I get some brown rot. So I try and overlap them a few days to make sure fruit is protected. Plant Guard has one of the most effective brown rot controls (for home use), and is a completely different mode of action then Infuse. You’re attacking brown rot on two fronts. Works fantastic. Also it is best these be delivered in an acidic solution. Add vinegar to tap water before adding pesticides. Or rainwater, or other acids if you prefer. I usually have sulfuric acid on hand (battery acid, new of course, not from batteries, never use used acid). I sometimes use that instead, but rarely. I use it to scarify seeds, or for my blueberries, if out of rainwater. Which usually does not happen. I don’t use vinegar with blueberries as it is an organic acid that breaks down and releases calcium back into the ground, Sulfuric acid takes carbonates and turns them into gypsum which is neutral, so pH does not rise back up like it will with vinegar (acetic acid) or citric acid. Vinegar stays acidic long enough to use with sprays.
Charts exist on the net that go over what pH pesticides work best at, I lost the links I had. Some work better at neutral or high. Best to research this for the pesticides you use. Like Malathion in pH of 7 works for an hour, at pH of 5 it will kill insects on contact for 30 hours. PH really really matters!


Wow! I had no idea. I made notes from your post and will do some research. Thanks SO much!

Thanks for that info. It’s fascinating to know how the bigger orchards handle drops. I had never considered the labor hours… all I do know is that I never take produce for granted anymore. I know how hard it is to get a good crop of nearly anything.
Also–never considered bird nests! Another layer of revelation about those dreaded peach snakes. :slight_smile:

I brown bag grapes to avoid spraying. I assume the same could be done with peaches. Brown rot is terrible here. The sandwich bag is the only way I’ve gotten fruit from my vines.

Do you use paper sandwich bags?

People have tried clemson bags for peaches. If interested, you can do a search on this forum. A lot of discussion about bagging fruits on the forum. Generally speaking bags promote rot in a lot of cases because of the extra moisture in the bag.