5-6 yr Peach bleeding see video, help

jvarratiMay 13, 2012

I have a 6yr old Georgia bell that I just started getting peaches from and I noticed this year it not growing as profoundly. I noticed on the arms and trunk this oozing, I spray in the fall and spring with kopper and sulfer. and during the season 7 for control of the insects eating leaves.

here is a video I just did with a close up of the tree please help because this is my favorite tree. If it's a danger to the other fruit trees and i need to remove please advise.


also please look at this quick video of my sugar sweet cherry bush with some leaves dying. I don't know what is going on with this either.


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olpea(zone 6 KS)


It looks to me your peach tree has canker. Either (probably) bacterial canker, or fungal canker. The sunken bark areas already have dead bark underneath. You could peal off the top layer to reveal it.

Unfortunately, there's probably not much you can do at this point for this tree. For your other peach trees make sure you prune after winter in the early spring. A dormant application of copper in early spring can also help.

I don't know what's going on with your cherry bush.

Although you didn't ask about this, I want to take the opportunity to suggest you prune your peach trees lower. They are way too tall to thin and harvest easily.

You may have a reason for wanting your trees so tall (aesthetics) but I'm getting barraged today by people letting their peach trees get tall for no reason. Hence my following comments.

For some reason, most people don't prune their peach trees much. I spoke with my mother today who has a couple of peach trees, and she was up on a ladder trying to thin. At 67 she has no business on a ladder. It's not that I haven't told her to prune them low, she just won't do it.

One of my neighbors put in a peach tree that's in it's 3rd leaf (it was planted Spring 2010). We've talked about pruning and he sees me prune my trees all the time, but he has yet to take any shears to his tree. The tree is already out of arms reach.

Tonight I watched a video of a representative from Gurneys who was thinning a peach tree. The top of that tree was also out of reach.

Below are a few pictures of some of my peach trees. I post them to show one can keep them low and still get plenty of fruit.
Here is a young Blushingstar peach. It was planted spring 2011 (second leaf). I've already pruned this tree last week to remove some of the shoots growing straight up, and removed lots of wood out of the center of the tree. It has a few peaches on it.

Risingstar. This tree is a little bigger, but still not much taller. I pruned the low branches off this tree this spring, but new branches have dropped down lower. Any fruit that touches the ground on these low branches won't be any good, but it will only be a few fruit, and there will still be a significant amount of fruit on the low branches that won't touch the ground. One benefit of branches that touch the ground is that it keeps them from breaking with fruit load. The tree was planted in 2009 (4th leaf)

Here is a mature tree planted in 2006. Notice it's really not much taller than the younger tree in the photo above. It's just really wide (The 2 dimensional photo makes it look smaller than it really is. The canopy is 20' in diameter.) I couldn't get the whole tree in the photo without the tree next to it getting in the way. The trunk is about 6" in dia. This tree will easily produce 150 lbs. of fruit, and probably more like 200 lbs./season. Notice all the upward growing shoots on the tree. I need to get busy and cut a lot of those out, or the tree will add 5' of height this season, shading out all the lower growth.

Again, I'm sorry if this post answered more than you were asking, but I want to convince people they don't have to let their trees get tall if they don't want to.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 8:27PM
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No this is fantastic, a picture says a thousand words. So is this contagious canker? I did use copper this year because the peaches were small with black spots last year. I have been reading that I need to open up the center for peach trees. looking at yours doesn't seem so, does that still hold? also so before next spring I should shorten the peaches to a picking height like your pic's show? and I should remove my tree asap? thanks for everything I really appreciate it!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 8:45PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)


Unfortunately canker is contagious. Some people might recommend removing the tree, but if it were mine and I only had a few peach trees, I might harvest what fruit I could off of it and let it die on its own. Or wait to remove it until I had a bearing tree to replace it.

I would recommend you continue with your copper applications.

Once I was trying to grow some sweet cherries. One tree got canker (they get it worse than peaches) and I thought I had some success spraying the canker with hydrogen peroxide, but it may have gotten better without the peroxide. I sprayed the canker area quite often.

On the spotty peaches, if there were no spots on the leaves it was probably scab. If there were also spots/holes on the leaves, it was probably bac. spot, which would be unusual for Georgia Belle. Copper does help on bac. spot.

I continue to prune the center growth out of young peach trees. As they mature, I leave some growth in the center but keep growth low.

Below is a good video on peach pruning. Notice the guy taking loppers to the tree and cutting out major growth. That's what I do. In other words, don't be afraid to do some serious pruning if your tree is vigorous and wants to put on lots of growth.

About the only thing I do different than the guy in the video is that I start my scaffolds down lower.

I've already started selecting scaffolds on peach trees I planted this spring. In some cases, the little shoots that I wanted for scaffolds were growing straight up. When that happens, I stick a wire in the ground (like 1/2 of a clothes hanger wire) and bend the little shoot down and tie it to the wire

Here is a link that might be useful: University of Mass. Peach Pruning

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 9:43PM
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Olpea! What an excellent video! Can't wait to try out my new skills this Feb. Pruning new trees when they arrive is always difficult. I always think I'm shaping the tree for the rest of its life. I usually wait for buds to start turning green before I prune. Is that wrong?

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 9:46AM
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Olpea, thanks for the link. Good info.
I am in Chicago, I was told not to prune in winter but to wait till spring when the leave start to grow. Would you comment on that?

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 12:43PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

"I always think I'm shaping the tree for the rest of its life. I usually wait for buds to start turning green before I prune. Is that wrong?"

Mrs. G,

In a way you are shaping the tree for the rest of its life (at least with peach trees). Once a peach tree is in its 3rd leaf, it's pretty difficult (sometimes impossible) to choose new scaffolds. That's why it's so darn difficult to get a peach tree lower, once the scaffolds are up too high. So for the scaffolds you are pretty much making a lifelong choice for the tree.

I choose my scaffolds down low the first season. If there aren't any shoots down low on a new tree, I try to find a low bud and notch above it. It will generally start growing and when it does, I cut the trunk off above it, treating the new growth like a new graft (more or less). In this way I can grow a new trunk and start my scaffolds where I want.

Mrs. G and Olympia,

It's fine to prune at first green. I have three major times that I prune.

I do a lot of pruning at the end of the season. This is not the optimum time to prune (for the benefit of the tree) but I have more time at the end of the season and I like to get some pruning done. Pruning at this time can predispose peach trees to canker, but we tend to have mild winters here and it hasn't been a problem so far. (In Chicago, I definitely would not prune at the end of the season. I would probably do heavy pruning sometime around shuck-split. I probably wouldn't do any summer pruning after June/July.)

The next major pruning time for me is thinning time. I prune more of lower growth and smaller shoots so there is less thinning. I could prune this growth off at the end of the prior season, but I like to leave some extra wood on the tree through spring. In rare events spring freezes will only take part of the crop. In those cases a little extra wood left on the tree can make a difference.

The third major pruning time is summer pruning. I prune out mainly water spouts at this time. They will grow straight up and branch out, shading growth underneath. This causes a couple problems. First the lower growth won't grow very much and some of it dies. Secondly, it shades the leaves that are feeding the peach crop below. It's the sun that produces carbohydrates in the fruit that turns to sugar. Shaded branches produce less sweet fruit.

One of the things I like about that video is that it simplifies the process in 4 easy steps. There are a lot of nuances that aren't mentioned (for example, in some cases he leaves too much of a stub when he prunes) but it's a great video for the basic concepts of pruning young peach trees.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 1:00PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)


I keep forgetting to mention that I noticed a long crack on the trunk of your peach tree from the video. I'm wondering if this was caused by southwest injury. If so, that could have been an entry point for your canker. You may want to protect your trees against that with white latex paint on the trunk.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 1:11PM
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Thanks everyone for your help, Olpea that long crack was from my border collie when she was a pup teeting she chewed the bark off in that one spot. I sprayed it with pruning spray looked like tar but that's probably where it happened. So any latex paint I can paint the trunks of all my fruit trees?

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 2:08PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)


Any white latex paint will prevent southwest injury on the trunk. Most people dilute it at some ratio 1:1, 1:2, ect. I've diluted it and painted it on straight.

I don't do it anymore and the trees haven't suffered SW injury so far.

I thought maybe the crack was SW injury, but since it's not, maybe you don't have to worry about it in PA. In that case you wouldn't need to paint the trunks (although some people claim it helps reduce borer attacks).

I wouldn't spray the wounds with tar. One of the risks of using wound dressings is that they can keep a moist environment for fungus/bacteria to grow.

Although some people like to use wound dressings, so far I've not come across any university fruit specialist or researcher who recommends them.

I've read about one guy who paints his wounds with copper. He claimed it kept the wood from rotting until the wound callused over. That makes sense to me as copper is a natural fungicide/bactericide and is one of the preservative elements in pressure treated lumber.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 11:41PM
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Hi, Olpea, Thank you so much for your detailed explaination of pruning time and what to prune off. I really appreciate that. This is great place to learn new things , find expert who offers valuable advise.

For me, I understand that tree needs to be pruned in order to be productive, less diseases , and grow better fruits. But the fear is that when I prune the branches off , I might take off next year's fruit buds on/with the branches as well. I watched the video, it is scary to see that Professor prune the tree down to just few limb.

How many scaffolds would you recommend for each tree? Is it one size fit all thing for all type of peach tree? or different type peach trees use different ways to grow it? I assume nectarin grow the same way as peaches? I have a nectarin which had beed headed at 2' so it can be grow low as the way you grow your trees. The lowest branch is only about 5-6" above the ground and usually the lower branch has flower buds. Will branches low ( more moisture, less air circulation around the lower branches) cause more fugi/mold disease? Will branches lower near ground help trees in the winter time because branches might get some heat from the ground? I am just speculating possible Pros and Cons. It would be fun to experiment and try your method of growing tree. But I want to make sure that I got the receipt correct.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 4:19PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

Thanks Olympia,

It is true when you prune off new wood, you also prune off peaches. I suppose that's a big reason a lot of homeowners don't prune much.

Still, the idea is to forgo some harvest in order to build a tree structure that will produce large fruit loads low to the ground.

I should say that's my goal (and the goal of most commercial growers.) Some people train trees above the deer browse line, train them high and majestic for aesthetic reasons, or, as Hman has recommended for years, train trees higher to facilitate coon/squirrel protection. One method is not right or wrong, just different goals. I detest working on ladders, so I train trees low, and trap squirrels and coons.

If you want your trees low. There is a way to still get good harvests out of young trees without sacrificing future structure. This is the way you do it.

Choose your scaffolds as early as possible. Choose 3 or 4 scaffolds spaced about three or 4 inches apart (vertically speaking) and spaced evenly around the trunk. Choose them very early and prune off all other scaffolds as they arise. By doing this all the trees energy will go into the scaffolds you are going to keep vs. putting energy into wood you are going to prune off. Some of the scaffolds you've chosen may grow too vertically. If that happens, as the scaffold grows, but before the wood gets hard, tie the scaffold down to a more horizontal position (but still angling upward). More wood on the scaffold may continue to grow too vertical. Keep pulling vertical growth down and tying it off. You can use old clothes hangers for this. Cut them in half and straighten them. Bend a hook at one end and push the straight clothes hanger into the ground as an anchor. Use cheap cotton string to tie the growth down to the clothes hanger.

I've used this method many times to reduce the amount of pruning needed early in the tree's life.

Most literature recommends to start scaffolds at about 18-24". This is to facilitate herbicide spraying under the tree. Since I use mulch, I try to start my scaffolds even lower. I have some scaffolds starting at ground level (Just make sure you don't start your scaffolds below the graft.) I've not noticed any special problems with disease or fungus on the low scaffolds. In reality, very little growth will be at ground level, even at scaffolds that start there. Growth quickly wants to head upward, but I find it's easier to keep the tree lower when the scaffolds start lower.

Re: Nectarines. This is just my second year with nectarines. They are harder to grow and even harder to get an acceptable looking fruit in this area, so I've been reluctant to grow them. That said, they are just a mutation of peaches, so I would expect they can be trained like peaches. I am currently training them as I do my peaches.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 10:17PM
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Olpea, Thank again and appreciate your instruction.

I got my prune shear out this morning took off two branches that grow vertical. So far I can identify the vertical and cross branches, but I can't identify whether any more branches that need to be take off. They all seem growing the way a tree is supposed to grow to me.

I did notice that one of my peach tree's current scaffolf branches and newly grown branches are all on one side. This tree was planted last year and had never been pruned. The northside has no branches old or young that I can choose to balance the scaffold structure when I select the scaffold down to 4 next spring. What is the best way to induce a new branch grow on the northside of the tree?

I know Nectarine is hard to grow here. But as gardener, I just love to try, although, most times failed miserably. I bought this little tree in 2010 from Lowe( from Durante nursary in CA. I may have spelled wrong) for about $10, not too expensive to try . It is on Lovell rootstock. For my limited knowledge, it is suppose to grow into a full size tree. But it so far only about 2' tall, the trunk only about size of thick pencil , not very vigrous grower. But it survived. It put couple flowers out last year and had a little friut that eventually dropped before it grew into good size. It did not flower this year, although I saw flower buds, but was killed by the later frost. In winter time, I mulch it pretty thick and put a large gabage can on top of it to shield it from killer wind. It currently has new branches grow out of its trunk that I can select as scaffold to make it a balance tree structure. I want to follow your method of growing it low. Besides the advantages you have said in this forum, I see another advantage of growing tree low which is when late frost occure again, it is easier to put some sturcture around to provide some protection. I know it is not a method for commercial orchard growers, but for home orchard growers, who only have handful of fruit trees. It is not impossible. I did with my teepee this year and I have some peaches, Asian pears , and plum on the tree now.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 10:44AM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)


You don't have to have 4 scaffolds. In fact, even though I generally start out with 4 scaffolds, peach trees can get pretty crowded with 4 scaffolds, so sometimes as the tree gets older I'll remove one.

Sometimes I start out with 3 scaffolds if there aren't 4 good ones to choose from. I have a couple trees that have just 2 scaffolds because that was all that was available.

Basically the tree will fill in the empty areas regardless with how many scaffolds you start with, so don't be too concerned if you don't have any scaffolds on one side of the tree.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 11:40PM
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Hi, Olpea. I removed some more branches, not too many, just few on my peach tree. I will choose scaffold branches the best way it has, maybe later I can choose another one or remove one. It does't have to be perfect, just the best way it can.

I pruned some new grown branches off my nectarine which aren't going to be selected as scaffold. These branches are fairly small , about 4" long. I left about 6 branches that I think can be the scaffold canidates, 4 are last year's old wood, 2 are this year's new grown. I am still debating which way is better... to choose last year's branches or this year's new branches. The nectarine tree seems grow better this year than last year, so this year's branches will be stonger than last year's.

A part of fun of gardening is experimenting different things . I appreciate your sharing of your personal experiences with rest of the world and provide opportunity and advise for other fellow orchard growers to try new way of growing things.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 9:53AM
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