Red Spots on both my nectarine and cherry tree...

half-full(z9 - San Lorenzo, California)June 17, 2012

Hello all, this will be my first time posting to this forum. I'm new to the outdoor gardening and am realizing that I have allot to learn. I recently picked up these two fruit trees from my local nursery. One is a fantasy nectarine and the other is a 3 in 1 cherry tree.

The issue I'm noticing is that I started seeing red spots develop on my nectarine tree first or red dots initially. Then as the days went by I noticed it was spreading throughout the tree and now it seems like these red spots/dots have turned into little burn holes or something like that. Prior to all this I had noticed that every flower that was trying to bloom would quickly wilt off and brown until they just died and fell off. One of the photos I listed here shows the dried up flowers. They never really bloomed very well.

This tree is in a good size bucket with the standard drainage holes beneath, however being a newbie to all this I wasn't very good at determining when they required water or had enough. At one point I was watering them almost every day or every other day. I still haven't gotten the 'insert the finger' into the hole to check for moisture down yet. While this may be a simple test, for a first time beginner who has never stuck his finger in soil, this can be somewhat of a challenge to determine this. Heh.

I picked up one of them moisture testers which I been using and interestingly I noticed that when I insert my finger up-to the first bend, where previously I would think the soil was dried out, the soil is actually reading very moist using the moisture tester which does probe down deeper than my finger.

I know I read in some other area here were some other user was over watering and developed similar red spots on his nectarine tree.. Another observation I made prior to the development of the red dots/spots I would notice some of the leaves would look like there folded in half, like almost sticking together. This was mostly noticeable on new leaves growing out. Not sure if this was normal.

In any event, a few days after the nectarine developed this red spotting issue, I noticed my cherry tree which was also sitting in a bucket about 2 feet away started developing these red spots also mostly on the top leaves only as seen in the photo. The bottom leaves were looking OK.

It seems like now several days later there are some lower leaves on my cherry tree developing these same red spots also.. :(

Not sure what I'm doing wrong if this is by any means something I did, perhaps due to infrequent watering methods... I thought I heard somewhere that infrequent or over watering may cause this.. I also began to suspect that maybe this may be some virus or diseases which I'm hoping not.

I'm in California and over the past few weeks we have had some extreme weather changes. A few days hit over 80 and then it got cold for a good week or so and then today we hit over 90s. The temps have been ridiculously up and down.

I have also noticed the soil in the nectarine tree bucket is like loaded with ants, which has been very annoying. The tree itself has no signs of aphids or scale or any bugs of any sort other than the ants. I actually wrapped some tape around the trunk today and applied some tanglefoot to keep the ants from climbing on the tree, however having them ants in the soil must not be a good thing.

But to be on the safe side, I picked up both organicide 3 in 1 insecticide and fungicide and have also applied serenade fungicide.

Here are the pics;

This is the nectarine tree, you can see the dieing blooms here....

Another shot showing the holes now which originated from the red spots...

Some leaves have actually begun to fall off and are laying on the top of the mulch in the soil, you can also notice the folding of the leaves as I mentioned.

Some of the lower leaves here have yellowed a bit and you can see the folding of some leaves...

This next two images are from my cherry tree, you'll notice how it's developing the red dots as I mentioned. This was the same way the peaches started out looking.

And yet another view showing a spotted leaf, you'll also notice how the leaves below look fine. That was a few days ago though, this has since spread to some lower leaves now...

Hoping some knowledgeable users and or staff from here can help identify what the issue might be and provide possible solution. I'm so distressed over this.. Thanks in advance...

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half-full(z9 - San Lorenzo, California)

anybody have any ideas or thoughts as to what this condition may be based on my description and photos posted...? Is this possibly due to over watering or some sort of disease...?

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 5:27PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Most likely something fungal, half-full. You don't say where you're from - you can add that to your signature in GardenWeb, along with your USDA zone (or your Sunset zone if you're in the western part of the country, much more meaningful and helpful). I would check with your local county extension office to see if they can help you out with a local diagnosis.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 8:10PM
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half-full(z9 - San Lorenzo, California)

Thanks for your reply.... I think I now updated my profile to show my location. New to this forum so still trying to get used to things here.. I'm also in California..... I know I haven't been consistent on my watering. I'm no expert and was hoping I can get some definite feedback based on the photos I posted..

I been thinking, if this may be some sort of leaf curl and or leaf spot fungal disease. :(

I have applied some serenade application one time already just in case. Not certain if this will help my situation or if I should be trying something else...

Just a few weeks ago the leaves on both my cherry and nectarine were nice a lush green without any signs of anything unusual. We'll except for the flowering on the nectarines that seemed to be dieing before they would bloom which may have been due to my infrequent or over watering methods..

Any other thoughts and plan of actions would be greatly appreciated.. Thanks..

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 1:47AM
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half-full(z9 - San Lorenzo, California)

Hi Patty, I just realized, you were the one that posted a similar issue with the reddish spots on your nectarine about a year ago here.

I came across that posting prior to my posting here.. Did your tree ever get better...? Was it a water issue or something missing....

My tree was also a recent purchase. Didn't have this issue a month ago. And I know I have allot to learn on determining when the plant needs water or how often. I been very inconsistent with this....

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 2:02AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

half full, I am from the other side of the country so I am not so familiar with your diseases, but it is some kind of shot-hole on your peach. The two causes of that are coryneum blight and bacterial spot. For both of them they are hard to get rid of but as trees get bigger they usually slowly grow out of it. I would not bother with Serenade or any other weak spray. If you want to spray something put down some copper as the leaves fall and again just before they come out in the spring. On the cherry it could be the same thing. It could also be cherry leaf spot but it looks too purple for that. I would use the same treatment on the cherries. Young trees are more prone to this and wet weather adds to the problems. Make sure the trees get as much sun as possible, that fries the diseases.


    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 9:02AM
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half-full(z9 - San Lorenzo, California)

Thanks for your help and information Scott. I been hoping it wouldn't be a disease. I just purchased these trees about a month and a half ago and they were both looking great with nice dark green leaves...

I was online looking for something natural containing copper and came across these two products..

BonideĀ® Liquid Copper Fungicide Concentrate


BonideĀ® Garden Dust

These can be found here under this link;

They both seem to contain copper as you mentioned this as being a possible effective treatment if in fact I do have the shot-hole and or leaf spot. Do these look like good products to use for my situation?

Or any other thoughts on this if anybody has tried either of these products...?

Thanks again for all the help. I really appreciate it..


    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 4:43AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Richard, I think the first one will work OK. Don't spray it until the leaves are about to fall, copper is harmful on mature leaves. Young leaves can take a bit of copper without much problem, so its possible to spray dilute copper in spring. Read the label, it should specify all of this if its a good product.


    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 10:52AM
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half-full(z9 - San Lorenzo, California)

Thanks so much for the updates. I been doing some reading online on shot hole and leaf spot diseases which are very similar as both being with them red dots which shortly after turn brown and fall out leaving them holes...

Is this copper treatment effective in treating and removing this problem or will this forever be plagued with this disease? Can this be eliminated/cured by using the copper fungicides?

It looks like the copper fungicide that I noted in my previous message is safe to use now in attempt to control this and then later in the fall I can apply a Bordeaux fungicide.

Also.. on the cherry tree, it's been about a week now since I took those photos and the spots haven't changed nor spread much. The lower leaves are still looking nice and green. Do you think it would be a good idea if I cut those upper red dotted leaves off to prevent any further spreading of disease onto the other lower leaves?

Or would this stress out the plant?

Thanks again for all the help...

Richard S.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 4:52AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Richard, since your trees are new they are under a lot more stress than usual. You also had a much more wet spring there than usual. So I expect they will grow out of it fine.

If the copper is OK to spray now its probably too weak to do much good. But it won't hurt to try. The main thing you need to do is hit them late this fall with a dormant strength copper spray.

If a small minority of leaves are bad you can pull them off.


    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 9:56AM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

Yeah I would wait to spray the Copper as sometimes it will cause leaf fall. Wait until Fall after leaves drop and then hit it again next spring before buds begin to open. Clean up and throw away anything that falls from the tree.

Also, my newly planted Peaches do something similar to that the first few months after planting. Once they get established and get adjusted to the soil and start eating right they grow out of it and start greening up again and looking healthy. The spots on my trees go away but I think its a nitrogen problem or root damage issue. Yours could be shothole (bacteria spot)

Either way its too late to do anything now so dont go crazy with the spraying until this Fall. Wait a bit and see if things get better. Dont over water. Feed them now for the summer if you have not already.

Oh wait I just noticed your plants are still in pots... Im in Southern California also, in Orange County. Our water is very high Ph and has a bit of chlorine/chloromine. I know that all my potted trees dont do well and end up with nutrient lock out. You could possibly need to feed them or adjust your Ph to allow for nutrient uptake. They might need some nitrogen and other nutrients. At worse I think it might be a fungal problem or virus. Possibly bacterial spot.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 10:41PM
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half-full(z9 - San Lorenzo, California)

Thanks Scott, your response is reassuring... I'll try the Bonide Liquid Copper Fungicide Concentrate now so I can have some form of defense for the time being prior to the fall arriving. If this is a good approach. I'm guessing this is a mild solution of the copper as the website mentions about applying this stuff in 7 to 10 day intervals for as long as needed.

Although when I looked at the label it says to apply as a dormant spray in late fall during a period of dry weather... Leaves me wondering if this can be used right now during the beginning of summer as a proactive measure. Maybe if I dilute the dosage some it wouldn't be so harsh right now? The plant won't be fruiting this year so I'm not concerned about damaging any fruits right now. The few flowers that it had seemed to dry up and die before they even bloomed.. :(

This is the pdf file for the label on the copper fungacide...

In late fall I could do the Bordeaux fungicide. I believe the Bordeaux be considered a dormant copper spray..

I'm new to all this and really appreciate all the help and suggestions.

Thanks for the information blaze... I really think that I was over watering these plants when I first picked them up here from my nursery. I was watering them almost every day and I think twice I sprayed the entire leaves thinking this would help the plant, until I learned that this can invite diseases... :\

I'm hesitant now and wondering if I should wait on any type of mild copper treatments until fall. Maybe this might clear up and get better....? I still have all my fruit trees in pots. I'm planning on growing the nectarine and cherry tree in pots for now. I picked up two huge 24 in pots. These pots are giant. I want to transplant these into them pots real soon here using mels mix. I'm planning on putting these all on a drip irrigation system which I'm currently working on. I actually purchased a whole house filter in which I'll be using for the irrigation to help filter or minimize any chlorine, etc..

Initially I thought this may have been brought on by some sort of deficiency or over watering as I was watering allot on every session... I read that sometimes this can cause nutrients to be washed away from what little soil is in the existing buckets. Doing the finger test wasn't working well for me as the top inch of the soil would feel dry almost daily and I would water about that often not realizing a few more inches below the soil was still moist. I finally purchased a moisture meter which made me realize my trees were not as dry as I was thinking.

As a newbie to the outdoor garden I have lots to learn. It's sad to have purchased some fruit trees just to have them go sick in just a few weeks time... Hope I can recover them and learn from this lesson...

Question.. When you water a plant, does it matter how long you water the plant at that given moment? Is it possible to water too much if the plants are draining well? The buckets do have their holes on the bottoms and seem to be draining well. Does it make a difference if I watered them for 5 minutes with the hose or 30 minutes with the hose besides my pocket book? As long as I don't water them again until they need watering again?

And do these type of stone trees, when using a moisture meter (if anybody in here does) should the readings always be on moist, wet or allowed to go dry prior to watering again?.. If you or anybody else may be familiar with those moister meter levels.

Richard S.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 5:21AM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

I would let them dry out a bit between watering. Peaches and nectarines dont like wet feet. Water deep and wait until its almost dry (maybe a few days, more or less depending on temperature).

Also, if you sprayed too much chemical or oil on them it could be phytotoxicity, which is either too much oil/chemical sprayed on the leaves or too much fertilizer. Either way at worse its shot hole.

You sound like your getting into a pretty decent nice little semi complicated system. I dont know much about container growing stone fruit so maybe someone else with more knowledge can chime in about your methods and give you advice on what to do? I have a dwarf nectarine in a pot and so far its doing good with good ol hose water and chemical fertilizer. So I dont want to steer you wrong and give you advice that might not be correct so just wait for someone who knows more to chime in.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 1:28AM
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was wondering if you were able to get your tree back to normal. I see this was posted a very long time but I too have the same issue. I believe that my problem may be the misuse of my insecticide

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 11:28PM
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