MyIPM App Available for Peach!

As I am sitting in a meeting of Southeastern fruit extension agents, I just heard about a new app that might help you to diagnose and decide on a management program for a set of peach diseases. This may be especially useful if you find bacterial spot or brown rot showing up in orchards this spring due to the forecasted cooler and wetter spring because of the strong El Niño still in place.

It’s called MyIPM, and is available on the Apple App Store for iPhones and Google Play for Android devices.

MyIPM provides Integrated Disease Management (IPM) information for conventional and organic production of strawberries and peaches in the Southeastern United States. The target audience is commercial growers, farm advisors, and specialists, but homeowners may also find useful information.




Peach Marketing Order Hearing

Fall Peach Roundtable

I hope that everyone has registered for the fall Peach Roundtable, to be held at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center.  It will be held on September 17th, 2015, from 8:45 am – 3:00 pm, and lunch will be provided. We will have a trade show with multiple vendors, which is a great opportunity to stay in touch and see new products and haggle prices! Gary England and the central Florida Peach Extension Team has put an extended day of talks and opportunities for feedback from our growers.

To register:

Peach Marketing Order Hearing

FlordaPrinceAnother marketing order hearing will be held at the Fall Peach Roundtable on September 17, 2015 at 3:00 pm at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center. If you can’t attend the workshop, but would like to provide input, please attend to make yourself heard. Chris Denmark will attend from FDACS in Tallahassee to answer any and all questions.

This will be one of two more opportunities to provide feedback on the final document that will go out to vote, most likely in January, 2016 to be implemented in April – May, 2016.

Rain, Rain, Rain, and a Peach Fall Seminar

I hope that everyone had a great summer and got through your summer pruning without any major issues. The constant rain has been a challenge for drainage systems, and probably has brought to light areas in your orchard where drainage can be improved.

Here is a link to a UF Extension document that has some pointers for improving drainage, particularly the Tile Drainage section:

Fall Peach Seminar

For those in Central Florida, fall is a perfect time to attend educational seminars. Mr. Gary England is leading the Central Florida peach extension group (Alicia Whidden, Cami Esmel McAvoy, and Chris Oswalt) and together, they have set up an excellent agenda.  Please register at: UF PEACH FALL SEMINAR REGISTRATION LINK

Date: September 17, 2015

Location: UF Gulf Coast Research and Education Center

Time: 8:45 AM – 3:00 PM

A highlight of the educational sessions will be presentations from University of Georgia Peach Pathologist, Dr. Phil Brannen, covering important disease problems of peach and also nematode related disorders.  Other topics being covered are:

  • Variety Update
  • Florida Peach Marketing Order Update
  • Weed Management
  • Fruit Fly Management
  • Postharvest Peach Handling
  • Results of Nitrogen and Hydrogen Cyanamide trials


8:45         Registration and Trade Show Opens

9:20         Welcome – Dr. Jack Rechcigl

9:30         Peach Variety Update – Dr. Dario Chavez, University of Georgia-Griffin

10:20       Peach Diseases – Dr. Phil Brannen, University of Georgia

11:10       Break

11:30       Marketing Order Update – Phil Rucks, Phil Rucks Citrus Nursery

11:45       Peach Weed Management – Dr. Peter Dittmar, University of Florida

12:15       Lunch

1:10         Fruit Fly Management – Dr. Phil Stansly, University of Florida

1:35         Postharvest Management – Dr. Steve Sargent, University of Florida

2:05         Peach Tree Short Life – Dr. Phil Brannen, University of Georgia

2:30         Nitrogen and Hydrogen Cyanamide Studies – Drs. Tripti

                Vashisth and Mercy Olmstead, University of Florida

3:00         Adjourn

Peach Marketing Order Comment Period & New Weevil Attacking Orchards

Comment on the Peach Marketing Order

For those that attended the 3 peach marketing order meetings in Dade City and in Bartow, THANK YOU! It was valuable to hear your opinions and challenges about the proposed marketing order. There is time for YOU to comment on the marketing order and you can do so by contacting Chris Denmark at FDACS:

The written comment period has been extended through June 30, 2015 to allow for additional comment on the proposed Peach Marketing Order.

If you wish to comment on the Marketing Order, please e-mail me directly at the e-mail below or Send any comments via mail to the address and attention below:


Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Division of Marketing and Development
407 South Calhoun Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399 

Attention: Chris Denmark – Peach Marketing Order


It was clear that we still need to revive the Florida Peach Growers Association, and with an existing organization on the books at FDACS, all we need are leaders (and a tax attorney to file taxes).  Over the next 6 months, I plan on trying to organize people and resources to start holding semi-annual or annual meetings to address many of the issues that came up during the marketing order discussions.

Sri Lankan Weevil in South Central Florida

Sri Lankan Weevil, Photo: A. Neal, UF/IFAS
Sri Lankan Weevil, Photo: A. Neal, UF/IFAS

Anita Neal, Director and Environmental Horticulture Agent in St. Lucie Florida is on the lookout for this new weevil to attack peach trees.  We have found it on our trees at our Fort Pierce orchard and have employed multiple control methods to try and keep them out of our research and seedling evaluation block.

Distribution of Myllocerus undecimpustulatus undatus Marshall in Florida based on initial collection from 2000 to 2006, and additional data through 2012.
Figure 2. Distribution of Sri Lankan weevils, Myllocerus undecimpustulatus undatus Marshall, in Florida based on initial collection from 2000 to 2006, and additional data through 2012. Map created by Anita Neal, University of Florida. From:

For more information on this weevil: Sri Lankan Weevil. Damage to peach leaves is observed as notching, and leaves look as if they have been chewed at the leaf margins.  This damage is similar to that observed with either blue-green weevils or Diaprepes citrus weevil on peach. More images on peach leaf damage can be found in this document: Sri Lankan Weevil_HaveYouSeenThisPest.

If you have questions or see this weevil in your orchard, please contact Anita Neal at:

Anita S. Neal
Director/ Environmental Horticulture Agent IV
UF/IFAS St. Lucie County Extension
8400 Picos Road, Suite 101
Fort Pierce, FL 34945
772-462-1660 Phone
772-462-1510 Fax


Help Requested for Nematode Survey

Hi Everyone,

Ever wonder why we only  have one commercial rootstock that we use for Florida peach production?  It’s because of a type of root-knot nematode found only here in Florida.  In fact, it’s scientific name is Meloidogyne floridensis. 

If you have it in your orchard, you might see short shoot growth, early bloom, and a general delay in fruit development (see below). IMG_0680The tree on the right was found to have nematode galls on the root system that was affecting the tree growth.  Successive years of weak growth can cause tree collapse, and will require removal and replanting.

Help Us Out!

So, what can be done?  First things first, we need some help!  Dr. Janete Brito at FDACS, DPI in Gainesville would like to conduct a survey of growers orchards.

Here is her request:

Scientists of FDACS, Division of Plant Industry, University of Florida, IFAS and other research agencies are joining forces through a cooperative Farm Bill agreement to study and identify plant-parasitic nematodes associated with peach trees in Florida peach orchards. So far, the potential risk posed by these nematodes to the new peach industry in Florida has not been fully assessed because of lack of information on their identity and distribution in the state. Scientists involved in this cooperative project are confident that an intensive nematode survey in Florida peach followed by accurate morphological and molecular analyses of plant-parasitic nematodes found will provide precise information on the species that parasitize peach in Florida. Additionally, an associated survey for detection of plum pox virus (PPV) will be carried out. The results of these surveys will provide information about the incidence of these pathogens in Florida peach.

The sites to be surveyed for nematodes will include existing peach orchards, nurseries and land destined to peach production, including abandoned citrus groves. The support and cooperation of the peach growers in the form of access to orchards, nurseries and other sites to be sampled are much needed for the success of this project. As permission and access to the sites to be surveyed is granted, a timetable and strategy will be developed trying to minimize potential interference with the activity of peach growers involved in the survey. Scientists are hoping that this initiative will receive a favorable reception by the Florida peach industry. Peach growers wishing more information about this cooperative project or willing to provide access to their orchards for the survey should contact Dr. Janete Brito, FDACS nematologist; phone: (352)395-4752; e-mail: janete.brito@freshfromflorida. com.

Thank you in advance for helping to figure out where these nematodes are, so that we can target control methods. If you have any questions, please let Dr. Brito know! Cheers, Mercy

Inking on Peach Fruit

Hello all,

I’ve had a few e-mails and phone calls about inking on peach fruit harvested in the past two weeks. Clemson University has a good publication with pointers to avoid inking – although I have to say, we do not know what causes inking on fruit surfaces.

One cause may the rainfall that we have had – which may have washed chemicals onto the fruit that have high amounts of metals (including micronutrients!).  Also, precipitation/overirrigating near harvest can increase the water pressure (turgor) in cells, but this also makes them more vulnerable to abrasion damage during harvest/transportation and then anthocyanin accumulates causing what we know as “inking” in spots.

Here is a link to the article from Clemson:

Research from California indicate that not only do some chemicals with high metal contents have higher incidences of inking, but so does abrasions on the skin surface.  These might be from harvesting, wind damage, or abrasions in harvesting.

A couple of culprits that might have been issues this year may be Imidan and Elite (tebuconazole), although with Elite, I am watching my own research orchard, as this was my last spray on Saturday. However, we are very far behind everyone else in the throes of harvest and are about 2-3 weeks away from harvest, so we may not see much inking on the skin surface.

Steps to Avoid Inking:

  • Near harvest, choose chemical applications carefully.
    • These chemicals have high metal contents –
      • Foliar nutrients: Micro Plex (Fe)
        Insecticides: Imidan (Al), Delegate (Al)
        Miticides: Vendex (Fe and Al), Acramite (Fe and Al), Omite (Al)
        Fungicides: Elite (AL)
        Additives: none
  • Don’t apply foliar micronutrients within approximately 21 days of harvest to avoid having metals on the fruit surface (e.g., copper, iron, aluminum) that have been implicated in inking.
  • Check the pH of your irrigation/spray water. Water with acidic characteristics (<6.5) can exacerbate inking due to increased iron availability.
  • Don’t overwater near harvest, as this can damage cells in the skin and cause anthocyanin accumulation, leading to inking symptoms.
  • With orchards that have a history of inking, leave harvested fruit in cooler for 48h prior to packing to observe inking symptoms; remove before packing.

As always, call or email me with questions!





2015 Wet Spring Leading to Potential Brown Rot Issues

Brown Rot in Gulfking
Brown Rot in Gulfking

I hope that everyone is having a good harvest so far, although I will have to say it’s been challenging with all of the rain we have had here in Central Florida.

One issue that we don’t often have to deal with is Brown Rot.  However, with the afternoon rainshowers that we have had (in some cases over 3 inches over the past couple of weeks), it is showing up in some of the harvested fruit, particularly in the bottom part of the fruit.

We are working on an EDIS publication for future reference; however here are some quick points.

Brown Rot

Brown rot is caused by a fungus, Monilinia fruticola and is often an issue in areas with frequent rainfall during fruit development.

Primary infections occur in the spring and can lead to flower death and reduced yield, but secondary infections affect the fruit.  In addition, abortion of mature fruit, e.g., “mummies” that fall to the orchard floor can serve as inoculum for future infections with later ripening periods.

G. England
Brown Rot in Mature Fruit, G. England

Disease Cycle

The continuous production of spores by mummies, cankers, and apothecia fuel the disease cycle and the infection of blossoms and fruit. Brown rot flourishes under conditions of high humidity (>94%) and optimal temperatures occur around 77°F (25°C). Rain, wind and insect activity lead to the release of spores that initiate the infection.

Secondary infection occurs as blossoms and shoots that have been initially infected begin producing spores, and can continue to do so until early June. If secondary spore production can be prevented by the use of effective management techniques, the disease can be more easily contained. The presence of infected fruit and mummies can also act as a source to spread brown rot.


Management for brown rot should begin before anticipated rain events occur, and guidelines for recommended fungicides are listed in the SE Peach Spray Guide:

Please remember to rotate your fungicide chemical classes (as indicated by the FRAC codes) to avoid resistance risk.  There have been races of brown rot that have been identified as resistant to certain classes of fungicides – although there is a fungicide resistance kit that can be ordered to verify that the fungicide is at fault.

Key Points

As always – if you have any questions or concerned, please let me know!


Florida Peach Marketing Order Hearings

Hi Everyone,

As you all know, I have been trying to get a Florida Peach Growers Association up and running. Phil Rucks has taken the reins to investigate the possibility of getting a Statewide Marketing Order for peaches that will help to provide resources for marketing and research.

There must be two public hearings before a vote can go to the growers in the state; and the first one will be on May 12th, 2015 at the next Peach Roundtable to be held in Dade City at 10:00 AM at the Pasco County Extension Office, 36702 State Road 52, Dade City, FL 33525.

The second public hearing will be on Wednesday May 20th, 2015 at 2:00 PM at the Polk County Extension office in the Stuart Center, 1702 Highway 17 S, Bartow, FL 33831.

I hope that you will be able to attend – and Phil would like the name of anyone that is willing to serve on the advisory committee for the marketing order. See Phil’s email for more information. I am also attaching the paperwork that is needed to re-establish the Florida Peach Growers’ Association.

In addition, two contacts at FDACS for marketing orders are:

Marshall Wiseheart – 850-410-2290

Milton Rains – 352-406-0707.

Hope to see you there!

Freeze Watches/Warnings

Freezing cold weather is set to wash over the state of Florida tonight into tomorrow night, so please be prepared!

A few comments about freeze protection in orchards:

  1. Be sure that your orchard is well-watered – we will be getting sun each day, and wet soil has a greater capacity to absorb heat, and also release it during the night, offering a few degrees of protection.
  2. Watch the weather – and keep your coffee pot going.  For those in Central Florida and to the south, it looks like the temperature will drop to a critical period around 2 a.m. on Friday morning.  However, if the wind is too high, you may induce evaporative cooling rather than protect the fruit, which can do more severe damage.
  3. Know what your irrigation system capabilities are to be able to meet the appropriate water output.
    1. See: – this is for citrus, but the principles that they go over, like reading a sling psychrometer are useful to understand.
  4. Hold off on any orchard related activities, like thinning fruit – the cold weather may do a good job of that for you!

Weather Related Resources:

  • The National Weather Service – – just put in your city or zip.  I find that the best resource is a graph like this which gives you the temperature and wind speed which is important:










For those of you that might be stressed – have heart!  It won’t be as cold as it will be in Citra, FL at our research plots for peaches and blueberries!

As always, if you have any questions, please contact me –

Florida Peach Growers Association

One of the things that many growers have said to me over the 5 years that I’ve been at UF in this position is, “I wish we had a statewide organization”.  Or something like that…(I’m paraphrasing).  With the industry as large as it was in the 1980s, I was actually surprised that there wasn’t an organization.

However, “necessity is the mother of invention”- and the Central Florida Peach Growers Meeting was initiated by a great group of extension agents – Chris Oswalt, Alicia Whidden, Gary England, and Cami Esmel McAvoy.  This has led to a regular meeting/roundtable that has given growers a great opportunity to “ask the scientist” and to learn from each other.

But what about those in S. Florida and N. Florida?  Thus, there is a need to form a statewide organization. I’ve introduced this topic at the Winter Workshop in Fort Pierce last month and I presented a short introduction to possible organization scenarios.  The good news is that there was a Florida Peach Growers Association before, so the name is “on the books” in Tallahassee.

Now comes the tough part.  We need people to volunteer to help us out.  Growers, commercial folks, nursery personnel, marketers – everyone is welcome to the table.  We need representation at the table  when something comes up, like providing input on a Caribbean Fruit Fly Protocol so that our peach fruit can be accepted into other states, as well as other industry challenges that may need a nimble response, or research/extension priorities.

Many of those involved in the peach industry do not solely grow peaches and have experience with, or are members of other organizations.  I’d like to be able to take the things that work well in those organizations for you and duplicate that for this statewide organization!  We also need to think about large, medium, and small growers so that this group can put out information that is appropriate for all operation sizes.

The next steps are to:

  1. Volunteer
  2. Set up a meeting – I was hoping to shoot for the last week in January or first week in February (please attend and let’s see what we can get done!)
  3. Decide on group objectives
  4. Define industry challenges and discussion solutions
  5. Action!

Please let me know what you think.  I hope to have more information next week on a possible location and topic discussions.  Stay tuned!