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!






New 2013 Spray Guide & Nematodes

March 3, 2013

The cooperative effort of several extension specialists throughout the Southeastern U.S. working on stone fruit have contributed to the latest update of the Southeastern Peach, Nectarine, and Plum Pest Management and Culture Guide.  Be sure to download the latest version and use it in your upcoming orchard spray regimens!


As I have traveled over the past six months or so, I have seen many trees that possibly have nematode issues; that is the trees flush out with early growth and sometimes bloom early, yet they lag behind later in the year from normal trees (Figure 1).

Figure 1.  Nematode-affected tree showing reduced growth, due to an outcross of ‘Flordaguard’ rootstock.

Tree affected by Meloidogyne floridensis
Figure 1. Nematode-affected tree showing reduced growth, due to an outcross of ‘Flordaguard’ rootstock.

What do you do if you suspect that nematodes have infected a tree in your orchard?

The first thing that I usually do is politely ask the grower if it’s ok to pull up their tree.  Often you will notice the either early or delayed growth from the rest of the orchard approximately one year from planting, so the trees are easily pulled up from the soil.  In many cases, we end up finding nematode galls throughout the root system (Figure 2).  These root knot galls are caused by the peach root knot nematode (Meloidogyne floridensis).  If you do find these, then dispose of the tree and replant with a new tree that is budded onto “true-to-type” ‘Flordaguard’ rootstock.  Having said this, in a nursery situation, it is often hard to catch those escapes that are outcrosses, and for those nurseries that use seeds to propagate ‘Flordaguard’ rootstock, outcrosses occur approximately 5% of the time, with another 10-15% being rogued out due to slow growth or small diameter caliper.

Figure 2. Root galls on peach root system caused by the peach root-knot nematode, Meloidogyne floridensis.


Unfortunately at this point, we don’t have any good solutions other than planting our varieties on nematode-resistant rootstocks, like ‘Flordaguard’.  We have an ongoing project to figure out why ‘Flordaguard’ is resistant, as well as evaluating other rootstocks that may be resistant from the USDA-ARS Peach Rootstock Breeding program in Byron, GA.  In many cases, fumigation may work – and we have a separate project to examine the effectiveness of the recommended rate as well as a half-rate of Telone II as a pre-plant fumigant in reducing the impact of peach root-knot nematode.

Requesting Help

If you would like to submit a nematode sampling for identification, please send a sample to the UF Nematode Assay Lab  As always, please contact either myself or your local county extension agent regarding orchard issues.  We are always here to help!

A Florida-specific Peach Spray Guide??

October, 2010

I recently returned from the Southeast Professional Fruit Workers Conference held in Asheville, NC last week, and it was beautiful!  There were many great presentations on peach and apple disease management, fruit antioxidant chemistry, postharvest applications to prolong apple shelf life, grapevine evaluations, and apple thinning using a carbon balance approach.

One the major tasks during this conference is to make changes to the regional tree fruit spray guide (  One thing that became clear to me as I brought up several different topics that are specific to Florida growers is that attempting to author a regional spray guide is very difficult.  At least one state has authored their own spray guide for peaches and stone fruit, North Carolina, while other states in the Southeast simply use the regional guide as their go-to resource.

Bacterial Spot on Peach Fruit
Figure 1. Bacterial spot on peach fruit. (Courtesy of

In northern states that have significant peach production, a major emphasis  is on preharvest control, specifically brown rot and bacterial spot management.  Of course, these growing areas have a later bloom date, and extended ripening season, with varieties that have longer fruit developmental periods.  Thus, fruit are ripening during prime infection periods for brown rot and significant efforts are made to apply various fungicides to combat this disease.

Many of the varieties developed at the University of Florida in the past 20 years have excellent resistance to bacterial spot (Xanthomonas compestris pv. pruni (Sm.) Young et al.; Figure 1, 2), and thus this particular disease only really affects early varieties TropicBeauty and FloridaPrince.  One grower that I spoke to this year had bacterial spot symptoms show up with a heavy crop load, with no applications for bacterial spot in TropicBeauty.  However, newer non-melting flesh varieties such as UFSun, UFOne, UFGold, etc. have excellent bacterial spot resistance.

Figure 2. Bacterial spot leaf symptoms in peach. Courtesy of

These are just a few examples of diseases that have significant coverage in the Southeastern Peach, Nectarine, and Plum Pest Management and Culture Guide that growers in Florida do not routinely have to control.

We are thinking of authoring a new Florida Stone Fruit Pest Management Guide that focuses on postharvest management of diseases, and contains information on subtropical pests and diseases (such as  Caribbean Fruit Fly, Mediterranean Fruit Fly, etc.).   What do you think?


Mercy Olmstead, Ph.D.