Peach experts help fruit growers fight fungus

By Peter Kent

Peach expert Guido SchnabelThe brown rot fungus is a hardy survivalist, adapting to control efforts by Southeastern peach growers. The situation poses a problem for South Carolina and Georgia, which behind California rank second and third in U.S. peach production. The two states account for 25 percent of the nation’s fresh peaches, selling about $60 million worth of peaches a year.

“We’ve developed a kit that will enable growers to determine the resistance profile in their respective areas,” said Clemson plant pathologist Guido Schnabel, state specialist for fruit diseases. “So right off the bat a grower starts out with the correct sprays and uses the correct chemicals knowing what resistance profile they have.”

Besides saving the growers money and helping the environment by using fewer chemicals, the work by Schnabel and colleagues has more far-reaching benefits. “The research and techniques can be used for other stone-fruit crops because the disease also affects nectarines and cherries and plum,” said Schnabel.

Details on the kit, including an instructional video, are online:

For information: Guido Schnabel, 864-656-6705,