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Site selection
Bacterial blast
Bacterial spot
Brown rot
Peach leaf curl
Silver leaf
Pests of stonefruit
 

Stone fruit (summerfruit)

Stone fruits have been valued for their fruit for many years. Apricot and peaches originated from China and spread through old trade routes 3–4000 years ago. Nectarines are more recent (at least 2000 years).

Cherries and European plums originated in Europe and the Japanese plum originated in China.

Site selection
Stone fruits do well in areas with cold winters and hot dry summers. Peaches, nectarines and some Japanese plums grow well at sea level, but apricots, European plums and sweet cherries tend to produce light crops and excessive vegetative growth in climates where there is inadequate winter chilling.

Most stone fruit require naturally fertile, free-draining soils.

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Diseases
It is important to select varieties with good resistance to diseases. It is also important to search out any local knowledge on disease resistance.

Bacterial blast
causes limb and sometimes tree death

Trees exposed to cold in autumn and early spring can develop cankers under the bark of the trunk or branches. Cankers are usually associated with the production of amber-coloured gum that contains bacteria and oozes on to the outer bark. Unfortunately there are few control methods for bacteria apart from copper sprays. A programme based on copper has proved to be very effective over the years.

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Bacterial spot
causes black spots on fruit and cracking of bark

Develops quickly under warm wet conditions from November onwards. Copper sprays have been used to help control bacteria in November/December.

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Brown rot
causes major fruit losses at harvest both
on the tree and postharvest

This is the most important and limiting of the stone fruit diseases. A combination of warm and wet conditions at these times can cause high fruit losses with the fruit collapsing within a few days. Modern fungicides are remarkably effective against this disease. Sulfur can be used on most stone fruit (except apricots) but will not be adequate in a high risk year.

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Peach leaf curl
causes reddening and distortion of leaves
of peaches and nectarines
Can severely debilitate trees if uncontrolled over several years. The most common treatment for leaf curl is copper, but ziram, thiram or dithianon can also be used.

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Silver leaf
causes silvering of leaves and tree decline

All stone fruit are susceptible to the fungus, Chondrostereum purpureum, which causes silver leaf and tree decline.

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ESTS

 

Pests of stone fruit (summerfruit)

 

Pest Apricot Peach Nectarine Cherry Plum
Aphids   * * * *
Leafrollers * * * * *
Thrips * * * * *
Mites * * * * *
Cherry slug       * *
Earwig * * *    
Scales   * * * *
Bronze beetle * * * * *
Grassgrub       * *

More information on the pests of stone fruit can be found in the stone fruit 'more info' section.

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