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:
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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!