As we head into full bloom and early fruit set for the growers down south, please don’t forget about application of your fungicide sprays to combat peach scab. This, along with peach leaf rust, are our major diseases here in Florida.
Please check the latest version of the Southeastern Peach, Nectarine, and Plum spray guide for options. Please also pay attention to the suggested spray material choices, such as Captan and sulfur. Sulfur is a good choice for this time of year, because it is relatively inexpensive and does a great job to cover the young fruit and protect it. The downside is that it has a shorter efficacy length, meaning that you will have to spray more often than if you used a synthetic chemical like Captan. Additionally, as we head into the bloom period and leaves begin to push open on the tree, be sure to begin your fertilization and irrigation regimes. We still can get some rain during this time of year, so take that into consideration when you set up or run your irrigation programs. For help on irrigation requirements, you can check the FAWN site for information on the evapotranspiration (ET) for the day or week. Although we do not have an irrigation scheduler for peaches at this point, there is a citrus irrigation scheduler that may be helpful. However, some growers are cutting the recommended amount for irrigation to peaches by various percentages according to their soil type and tree response.
A group at UF have a project in conjunction with the SWFWMD to investigate peach irrigation and reduction of water applications after harvest. We are working with growers to establish best management practices for irrigation management, knowing that the afternoon thunderstorms often rolling through in June, July, and August can stymy our plans.
As always, be sure to let your county extension agent or myself know of any questions you have! We are here to help. Good luck and enjoy the beautiful blossoms!