Episode 13: Addressing A Peach Tree Dilemma

About This Episode

In this week’s episode, Steve Bender, also known as Southern Living's Grumpy Gardener, helps a reader with a peach tree dilemma. Plus, why you should consider the Fringe Tree.

Question: Our peach tree gets lots of fruit, but they're shaped like frisbees. When they ripen, they all get mold and fall off. What are we doing wrong?

Grumpy Gardener Answer: Well, this sounds a lot worse than it is. The peaches that are shaped like frisbees, that's the way this particular type of tree is, and I don't know how you got it. But .. it's a type of tree that originates in Japan, got shipped over here, and because they're flat on the edges, a lot of people refer to them as donut peaches. Some people call them flying saucer peaches, because they're shaped kind of like a tire, but that doesn't affect how they taste, or how you would use them at all. That's just the way that they grow. And they're kind of a novelty.

So, the first thing you want to do if you see any disease peaches on your tree – or you see fallen ones that are on the ground, rotting – you want to pick those up as soon as you can and throw them out with the trash. The fungus that caused them to rot in the first place is on the fruits that are on the ground and on the diseased fruits that are still on the tree. So get rid of that disease. I'm going to tell you three things that you can do to stop your tree from getting disease other than just picking up old fruit:

  1. In the winter, go to the garden center or home center, get yourself a bottle of this stuff called dormant oil, and you mix that with water according to the directions on the label, and you spray your entire tree, all the trunks, all the branches, everything. What that does is, a lot of these disease spores can live over the winter on the tree. The dormant oil will coat them and hopefully kill them.

  2. Now once the tree starts to bloom, you need to start a fungicide program. And what that involves is using one of two fungicides. You can use liquid copper fungicide or you can use a fungicide called daconil, which is spelled D-A-C-O-N-I-L. Again, according to label directions. You start spraying them as soon as the tree comes into bloom, and then you wait about three weeks, and you spray 'em again.

  3. Spray them again in about another three weeks, all the way up until the time that it's ready to pick. And this will control the disease.

Plant Of The Week

Fringe Tree

A fringe tree is a native tree to the South and Midwest. And all I'm going to suggest is that if you've been having problems growing dogwood trees and they're dying on you, try this as a substitute, it goes by a couple of different names. One is called the whitefringe tree because the flowers are white. It also goes by the name of Grancy Greybeard or 'Old Man's Whiskers'. And that's because the flowers just kind of hang down in these strands beneath the branches, and they're really, really pretty. But might look like an old man's beard just hanging there on the tree branch. And they do have a nice, sweet, fragrance and it's a real pretty tree. It's not a big tree, it's not a fast-growing tree. Grows to be about 15 feet tall and wide, so it's easy to fit into your yard. It doesn't have the same kind of disease problems that dogwoods have and so what you want to do is you plant this in well-drained soil, and put it in either sun or part-sun. And as an extra bonus, in the fall, its leaves will turn a nice yellow color, so then get two seasons of interest.

Related: 3 White-Flowering Trees That Replace Bradford Pear

About Ask Grumpy

Ask Grumpy is a new podcast featuring Steve Bender, also known as Southern Living’s Grumpy Gardener. For more than 20 years, Grumpy has been sharing advice on what to grow, when to plant, and how to manage just about anything in your garden. Tune in for short episodes every Wednesday and Saturday as Grumpy answers reader questions, solves seasonal conundrums, and provides need-to-know advice for gardeners with his very Grumpy sense of humor. Be sure to follow Ask Grumpy on Apple PodcastsSpotify, or wherever you listen so you don't miss an episode.

Editor’s Note: Please be mindful that this transcript does not go through our standard editorial process and may contain inaccuracies and grammatical errors.

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