peach leaves yellowing and falling off

jjtbay(5)June 1, 2007

Below is a link showing what the leaves look like that are falling off my peach tree. The leaves that are still on the tree are yellow or greenish yellow. So far about 1/3 of the leaves have fallen off. At the rate they are going in about two or three weeks the tree will be barren. This is an established tree maybe 10 years old. I don't know the history of the tree since I've only lived in this house for 18 months. Despite the hard freeze in April there are a fair number of peaches that have set and look like they are coming along OK.

Last year it produced an abundance of peaches but about 95% had rot and were useless. Last year it had a localized peach leaf curl problem which wiped out all the leaves on one branch. This year the branch is dead. The peach leaf curl is back this year, despite my spaying, but this time it's all over the tree instead of being restricted to a few branches.

This year I sprayed with Lime/Sulfur at bud swelling. I've also sprayed with a copper fungicide "Soap Shield" three time in the past two months (Soap Shield (

It's been a dry month. Average rain for May is 3.6 inches of rain but we only had .6 inches. It was also warmer than normal month. A week ago I put a soaker hose around the drip line for about 3 hours thinking this would give it a nice deep watering.

My theory is that the spraying I've been doing has caused the problems. Instead of controlling the peach leaf curl it's made it worse by spreading all spores all over the tree. I'm guessing it's also made the problem with the yellowing leaves worse too.

Does this make sense ? Is there anything I can do to avoid losing all the leaves ?

Thank you

Here is a link that might be useful:

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What I meant to say in the original post is that action of the water splashing on the tree as it was being sprayed cased the the spores to spread by spashing them all over with the water.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 9:38PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

jjtbay: The pictured leaves don't have peach leaf curl. And leaf curl is not a disease that would occur on one branch but not another. It is not from the spraying you did. There would ordinarily be a few leaves look like this in the most shaded portion of the canopy, but not a third or more. Could also be a nitrogen deficiency but most likely it is root or trunk damage due to weather, rot, etc. Probably not much you can do. One dry month shouldn't be a problem. Most likely the tree is just getting old and suffering various damage. Peach trees don't live very long in most of the northern midwest.

The Fruitnut

    Bookmark   June 2, 2007 at 2:05PM
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There is nothing wrong with spraying your tree, but the spray you use and the timing must be effective. You might as well spit on your tree as spray it with that "Soap Shield" from Gardens Alive!, since the metallic copper component is so weak.

Your tree most likely has a bacterial infection, and the only chance it has is spray it at least twice during the dormant season, beginning after leaf fall, with a copper compound that has some real punch. Kocide is one such product; there are others. Looks like you may have some shothole fungus there too. Copper would take care of that as well.

Your tree should not be checking out at 10 years. I have a 15 year old Golden Jubilee out there that is healthy as horse, and full of fat peaches. Before I figured out how to head off these diseases with dormant spraying, I lost over a half-dozen peach trees. My climate is particularly bad for them.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   June 2, 2007 at 3:02PM
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Thank you for you comments. The tree is starting to look sad now. All the yellow leaves have fallen off and now the green ones are starting to go to. It looks like the pattern is that the oldest leaves, the ones that were at the base of the new shoot growth, are gone. So the only leaves left are the newest ones that are near the end of the new shoot growth. But it seem like these newer leaves are getting this plague now.

Would it make sense to knock all the developing fruit off so the tree can devote all it's energy to survival instead of fruit production ?

Is there really nothing that can be done at this point to stop the remaining leaves from falling off ?

If it survives then I'll have to really go nuts with the dormant sprays for next year because whatever it has it's a severe case.

Thank you.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 10:58PM
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tuvalu713(5b MI.)


I'm most definitely not an expert. But, I've had some trouble with Peach Leaf Curl (which you don't have) and some issues with the leaves suddenly and rapidly falling off of my young nectarine tree. A few weeks ago, I thought for sure that my nectarine would lose all of its leaves.

Both of these trees seem to be thriving after I applied some compost around the base of the tree (inside the dripline). My novice recommendation is compost and, perhaps, an application of Bonide's fruit tree spray. I used this for my pest issues. I've also thinned many of the peaches from branches that had considerable peach leaf curl.

...just my two cents. Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2007 at 9:26AM
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