Peach tree issue: Red raised bumps on leaf, clear 'puss' on fruit

lisadimatteoMay 28, 2010

I'm in the 2nd year of the same problem; red raised bumps on the leaves of my peach trees. The leaves are also curling at the edges. The fruit does grow but oozes a clear 'puss'.

I pruned the tree aggressively between last season and this. There is A LOT of fruit growing but it does not appear healthy.

Any advice? I have pics.

Lisa D.

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Peach Leaf Curl is the cause of the red puckering in the leaves. It's a fungal disease that in time can kill your tree. There's nothing you can do about it this year, it will run its course regardless of anything you can do. It is reasonably easy to control but it has to be done in the Fall and Winter. There are various threads about PLC elsewhere in this forum.
The gel oozing from peaches I believe is due to insect injury from the Oriental Fruit Moth. I don't have that where I live but alot of other people here can comment on (swear at) it. As I recall, each gel spot is where an OFM laid an egg. One spot and the peach will be unusable, to the best of my recollection. Others can comment with alot more experience than I.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 4:29PM
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alan haigh

Nope, not most likely OFM in New England IME. Peaches ooze pectin however they're injured and your most likely culprits are plum curculio, tarnished plant bug or stink bugs. Next year either use an appropriate insecticide (pyrethrin) or Surround beginning at petal fall.

What is your peach variety? Some are more susceptible to peach leaf curl than others but the biggest enemy is shade. Next year I suggest you spray it at bud swell with a fungicide containing chlorothalonil. Consider it medicine. Kocide may also do the trick.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 5:14PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)


tcstoehr and Harvestman are spot on regarding the peach leaf curl (PLC). Several folks on this forum successfully use copper to treat PLC, but I've used both copper and chlorothalonil and found chlorothanlonil more effective for this disease. Additionally all the commercial spray guides rate chlorothalonil more effective for PLC than copper. I would recommend a fall and spring dormant application for this disease under heavy pressure.

In my area, oozing peaches means oriental fruit moth, but as I've never raised peaches in the New England, I'll defer to Hman's diagnonsis. A good pryrethroid will take care of most insects causing the oozing.

You can find a good homeowner pyrethroid formulation under the common names permethrin, gamma cyhalthrin, or bifenthrin, which are sold under various trade names.

The other day I toured a nearby home planting of many various fruits. The owner mentioned he doesn't need to spray his peach trees much. As he was mentioning this, I was looking at leaf curl on the peach trees, and pectin oozing from the fruits.

The point is that you need to be very observant early on. Prevention is easier than the cure.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 9:36PM
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The above comments leave little doubt that the red bumps are peach leaf curl, indicating you are in a cool, damp spring environment. I have rarely seen curl here in Northern Virginia because of the climate difference. A good dormant copper spray like Kocide is pretty effective against PLC, but Olpea's suggestion may be better. I use that same chemical early to stop peach scab.

The ooze on your peaches is not "puss", but pectin from the fruit, emerging from the egg-laying penetration of an insect. Oriental fruit moth is my biggest insect problem with peaches, but plum curculio can produce similar symptoms, and I know you have that insect in MA. I have to spray peaches, using the insecticide Permethrin, at least every 10 days early in the season, but can ease up as the peaches grow, put on a little fuzz, and the skins toughen up.

A lot of fruit on a peach tree is not a good thing. Peaches should be thinned aggressively to stand about 6 inches or so apart, and you can start by thinning off all the peaches that show that ooze, or don't look healthy for any other reason. They will not grow up to be edible peaches, and those with insect larvae inside will be a mess around the pit. A few good peaches are much better than hundreds that you can't actually eat.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 1:59AM
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alan haigh

I have long convinced myself that OFM is not a primary issue with stone fruit in the northeast but continued input from from Don in Virginia and Olpea in KS has finally made me rethink my assumption which I've done this morning.

Looking it up in the Cornell recs (, OFM is one of the pests, along with others I mentioned, that often have to be controlled for peach production in NY state. I had long assumed otherwise because grubs I've identified in fruit have always been PC even on years where I get a lot of OFM flagging of peach branches when the moths are a presence in my orchard after my early sprays are over.

My guess is that OFM damages the fruit at the same time as PC and later in the season does most damage on growing shoots and leaves the fruit alone. My spray program must completely wipe out the OFM early, while sometimes a few PC survive.

And I was so sure of myself!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 5:39AM
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Thanks everyone for your input. I lost track of this thread, unable to locate it for a few weeks.

I appreciate all the detailed input.

Here is what I understood from the collective responses:

-there is not much I can do now except to remove the oozing peaches from the branches. (or is thinning referring to pruning off season?)

-there are several 'sprays' I can consider in dormant season...what is the month you might consider doing this?

How would you proceed with the season with the peaches the way they are? Would it be OK to trim branches off now?

I really have NO experience with gardening so your advice is very much appreciated.

I don't know what specific variety of peach these trees are. I inherited them with land that the home I bought 1 year ago sits on.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 10:53AM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)


Thinning refers to removing fruit, not pruning. It can be confusing because there is a term called, "thinning cuts", which refer to a type of pruning. However, when the word thinning is used in the context of fruit, it simply means removing some of the fruit and has nothing to do with pruning.

Removing some of the fruit is beneficial because it allows the fruit remaining to become much bigger. It prevents broken branches because too many fruits will weigh branches down and break them. It also keeps trees healthier because it prevents over-cropping.

So Jellyman was telling you to "thin-off" all the oozing peaches first (since they will be no good anyway). Then make sure there is a minimum of 6" or more of branch space between the remaining fruits. If there is not a minimum of 6-8" of branch space, then keep removing fruit until you've met that criteria. It's not unusual to remove 80% or more of the fruit from a peach tree.

If you still have some good fruits left on the tree, it would be advisable to protect those with an insecticide. Triazicide Once and Done is a good choice and available at Walmart.

You asked if it is OK to prune now. There may be no need to prune now, but if you feel a need, it is OK to prune now. Just understand when you prune off wood, you may be pruning off some fruit too. Naturally, any wood that is pruned, also removes the fruit attached to it.

For leaf curl, you can spray either in the fall or spring (under heavy pressure) or just in the spring. For a fall spray, spray after the trees loose their leaves. Not every single leaf has to be gone, but the tree needs to be pretty bare when you spray it. Being a long way from MA, I have no idea what month this would occur.

For the leaf curl spring spray, spray sometime before the buds start to swell. The idea is you want the peach trees still fully dormant when you apply the spring spray. Once the trees start waking up in the spring, it's too late to protect them against leaf curl. My guess is as soon as your winter snow melts would be a good time to get out there and spray for leaf curl.

One side effect is your neighbors will think you're crazy spraying bare trees. For entertainment, you can encourage this perception by watering your trees while it's snowing. Do this while wearing a nightgown.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 12:52PM
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I had red leave curl on my peach tree this year that covered the hole tree. I used Garden Safe Fungicide 3 on it. It burned off all the fungus covered leaves and within a month filled back in whit new leaves. I'am going to use the cooper soap on it this fall and again in the spring.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2010 at 7:55PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)


I doubt your Garden Safe Fungicide (neem extract) burned off all the fungus covered leaves.

Leaves infected by leaf curl naturally fall off, and the tree will naturally re-foliate on it's own without any sprays. However, the process weakens the tree.

I'm not sure what copper soap is, but it sounds like the active ingredient is copper, which is a fine choice for spraying in the late fall and early spring for leaf curl while the tree is still dormant.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2010 at 9:24PM
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The Garden Safe Fungicide I purchased at a store took about 2 weeks to turn the leaves black and fall off. So I'am pretty sure they did not fall off naturally.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 11:15AM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)


OK, I'll grant that your neem extract turned the leaves black, but I'm trying to tell you that it did nothing to assist your leaf curl situation.

Peach curl leaves will naturally fall off on their own, and whole trees will re-foliate. I've seen it.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 8:36PM
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what should is spray peach trees with in winter when dorment to prevent leaf curl--redish

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 7:33PM
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i have been useing pyrethrins cb 40 insecticide and the leaves on my peach tree have cleared up 70% in two weeks i have no puss coming from peaches but i have puss from the tree bark my peaches seem small this year it is 6/4/2011 they are only the the size of a golf ball and some of the peaches have red blister on the peach i think the pyrethrins will take care of this attack also time will tell wish me luck i love my peachs

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 9:49PM
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I have minor redness on some leaves. I understand my problem now I have a shade trees which covers my peach trees with shade for about 5 hours. I trimmed half of the shade tree but still provide lots of shade.
I am going to move the red leaves by hand because they are not a lot then spray with copper I am spraying also with immunix and montery. I have not seen OFM on my trees should I spray with spectracide just in case.
Should I remove the shade tree which will make me feel very bad?
I am really tired.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 11:28PM
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Peach Leave Curl needs to be treated when a tree is dormant. You should not use copper spray during active growing season, it'd burns the leaves.

Immunox and Monterey Fungi Fighter are fungicide but not for PLC. Immunox is for powdery mildew, brown rot and bacteria spot (shot hole). MFF is used for similar purposes but seems to be more effective for brown rot.

To me, peach trees have more diseases I have to deal with than apple. Planting peach tree in partial shade makes it more susceptible to those bacterial and fungal issues.

It might be easier if you relocate your peach tree instead of removing the shade tree. In general, peach trees are short-lived (10-15 productive yrs). You will have to plant new one sooner than later anyway.

If your peach tree is at shuck split, you can spray Triazicide One and Done to cover it, once every 10-14 days. The buggers will find your peaches anyway.

Don't be discouraged. It'll take some reading, asking questions before you get a hang of it. This forum has a lot of excellent contributors to help us. I am learning, too.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 2:22PM
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