San Jose scale confirmed

During the growing season when we found insects or other issues in our orchard we often submitted samples of them for identification. One sample, which without a microscope appeared to be a disorder of the fruit was found to be the effect of a scale insect, and has been confirmed as San Jose scale. Thank you to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and Lyle Buss (UF insect ID lab) for assisting us with identifying this sample. Photos courtesy of Mr. Buss.

Quadraspidiotus perniciosus on peach1 - BussQuadraspidiotus perniciosus on peach3 - Buss


End of season Stink Bug captures

One of our speakers at the Stone Fruit Workshop and Field Day this year, Cory Penca, has compiled some of his data on stink bug captures at several sites in Florida during the 2017 and 2018 peach growing seasons. The trend for the number of stink bugs caught is downward this year, possibly due to the cooler weather we experienced this season. This data will help to establish the threshold of when to take action to control the pest.

Have a look:

Did you experience any unmarketable fruit due to Stink Bug damage or other major pest damage this year? Let us know!


Summer Pruning

The summer pruning has begun! Now that all the fruit are gone, it is time to begin thinking about orchard management that will affect next years crop. Summer pruning is one strategy to help control canopy vigor, increase air circulation within the canopy, and to increase the number of fruit bearing lateral branches for next year. In our orchard we set our pruning height at 8ft., this may vary depending on the age of your trees. The sides were also trimmed back 1-2 feet to maintain the alleyway width convenient to move equipment through. The pruning will be followed soon after with a fungicide application to help reduce the potential for disease.

Stone fruit field day, new Facebook page

Stone Fruit Workshop and Field Day

We would like to say thank you to everyone who attended our Stone Fruit Workshop and Field Day! We hope the day was informative and fun, it was great to meet more of the faces of the Florida peach industry and all who have an interest in peaches.

Many thanks to the staff at the UF/IFAS Plant Science Research & Education Unit, the faculty and staff from Florida and Georgia, and Maxijet for sponsoring our lunch.

If there are any further questions or comments you may have, please feel free to contact us. We hope to see you again next year or by a visit to your farm!


Facebook page

We have recently created a Facebook page for the UF Stone Fruit program, check it out!

2018 UF Annual Stone Fruit Workshop and Field Day

Please join us for our 2018 Annual Stone Fruit Workshop and Field Day!

It will be held on May 29th from 9:30am-3:30pm, at the UF/IFAS Plant Science Research and Education Unit, in Citra, FL. The event is free, and will include presentations fromĀ  faculty and staff from Florida and Georgia, and also a tour of our field. Lunch will be provided, and is sponsored by MaxiJet.

Please see the following link to register for the event and for more information of the day’s schedule:

We hope to see you later this month!


Fruit disease and damage, insect ID, nearly ripe fruit!

A slightly higher number of fruit with disease and damage was seen this week in our research orchard in Marion County. Primary issues found include brown rot, physical damage due to fruit rubbing on nearby branches, and minor cosmetic damage due to scale insects.

Disease cropped

Insect ID update from last week:

The dark colored beetle was identified as a Hairy darkling beetle (Epitragodes tomentosus (LeConte)). They are commonly found on leaves and flowers, and in the crevices of branches. They are not considered pests of plant, and we have not seen any damage from this pest.

The white weevil was identified as the Northern citrus root weevil (Pachnaeus opalus); we have not seen any identified damage from this insect to date.

We are still waiting on identification of the scale insect, and will provide an update as we receive it.

Nearly ripe fruit:
This week was very enjoyable scouting our field, due to there being several very tasty UF Sun fruit ready to be eaten. It has a fruit development period of 80 days, and we are expecting our first harvest in 7-10 days. The largest fruit found this week measured just over 70mm:


How are your orchards maturing? Have you started or finished harvesting? Send us a comment and let us know. Be sure to follow our blog by email by clicking the blue highlighted link on this page.

Photo credits: Gatorpeach

Photo update for the week

Have a look at what was observed at our research orchard in Marion County this past week. Several beetle and scale insects were found on and around the fruit and leaves, fortunately little to no damage has been attributed them as of yet. We will have them identified and provide an update on what they are.

What interesting things have you observed in your orchard or backyard trees? Send us a comment and tell us about it!

Pit splitting in peaches

Fruit samples taken over the past several weeks from an orchard in Marion County have shown some progression of pit splitting. Symptoms were first noted on fruit samples taken on 3/23/2018: Notice the small hairline cracks within the developing pits in the right half of the photo.


Another sample from 3/29/2018 with the seed removed shows the signs more clearly:


Here are additional photos taken of samples from 4/4/2018. It was incredible to see the rapid change in size, skin color, and flesh color development within the last week of these fruit with pit splitting.



When does pit splitting happen and what are the potential causes?

This disorder can appear as early as a few weeks after bloom and occur through the pit hardening stage. Although the direct cause is still unclear, factors that can contribute to splitting include:

Early ripening cultivars: This may be due to the more rapid fruit growth compared with later ripening varieties. There is good correlation between rate of growth and pit splitting.

Genetic cause:
Pit splitting may be a characteristic trait expressed more in one variety than another. Two genes have been identified as being expressed during fruit growth, and may lead to further insight.

Environmental: Below freezing weather or high heat, and excessive rainfall within short period of time during critical stages can contribute.

Cultural practices: Excessive irrigation, thinning, and fertilizing can contribute by changing the available resources the growing fruit has to draw from, and the rate of growth.

Additional resources:
(Abstract only)

Stink bug infestation in peaches

As the weather warms up and the peaches mature, stink bugs can be found in the orchard and cause damage to the fruit by way of their sucking and piercing mouthparts, often rendering it unmarketable. The photographs below are examples of what has been seen this year in Sumpter County, FL. Have you seen this pest or others in your location this year? Send us a comment and let us know!



Stink bug captures down compared to last year

By Cory Penca,

After 6 weeks of trapping it appears that stink bug numbers in Florida peach orchards are down by over 50%. These results are for the brown stink bug, Euschistus servus, the primary sink bug pest in Florida peach orchards.

stink bug graph 1

Trapping was done at 5 orchard sites in Polk, Lake and Indian River Counties, utilizing a yellow pyramid trap baited with a pheromone lure attractive to several stink bug species. The traps were deployed during the first week of January. Pyramid traps can be used to monitor stink bug populations to determine when control actions might be necessary.

stinkbug 2

It appears that stink bug populations have begun to increase in mid-February, and could reach damaging levels in late-February and early-March, when Florida peaches are vulnerable to stink bug feeding damage.

Changes in trap capture also differed between locations, with St. Lucie County seeing the largest reduction, though still having the highest trap capture overall. Possible explanations for the decline in early-season trap captures include a colder winter in 2018, which may have reduced winter survival of stink bug populations or reduced their feeding activity during the first 6 weeks of the year.

Continued monitoring will identify if 2018 stink bug numbers remain lower than 2017 throughout the season and damage assessments at harvest will help us determine the impact of stink bug populations on total yield.

stinkbug 3