Brown Rot on Peaches

Image depicts brown rot on peaches.Just in time for the new growing season, Clemson University peach specialists have provide Southeastern growers with a new tool to control a destructive fungus.

Brown rot (Monilinia fructicola) is a hardy survivalist, adapting to control efforts. The pathogen at specific locations has developed resistance to some fungicides, according to reports from South Carolina. The situation poses a big problem for South Carolina and Georgia, which behind California rank 2nd and 3rd in U.S. peach production. The two states account for 25 percent of the nation’s fresh peaches, selling about $60 million of peaches a year.

“The chemicals that are being used these days to control brown rot are site-specific chemicals,” says Clemson plant pathologist Guido Schnabel, the S.C. state specialist for fruit diseases. “That means they attack the fungus at one particular place. So the fungus has a fairly easy way to produce resistance against those chemicals.”

Schnabel and colleagues A. Amiri of Clemson, Phil Brannen and Harald Scherm, both of whom from the University of Georgia at Athens, have come up with new a weapon to battle brown rot. It was tested in 2008 and is ready for use this growing season.

“We’ve developed a kit that will enable growers to determine the resistance profile in their respective areas,” says Schnabel. “What we do is we go to the grower’s’ site. We collect samples, and within three days, using that kit, we can determine what kind of resistance profile the grower has in their respective area. So right off the bat a grower starts out with the correct sprays, and uses the correct chemicals knowing what resistance profile they have.”

For more information, contact GuidoSchabel or learn more about fruit disease online.

Guido Schnabel, Research/Extension Plant Pathologist & State Specialist for Fruit Diseases
Clemson University
Phone 864-656-6705
E-Mail: schnabe@clemson.edu