The best way to avoid bacterial spot on peach trees is to plant a non-resistant variety. This segment shows what to look for when identifying bacterial spot, and reminds us that a fungicide won't treat this disease.

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Bacterial Spot on Peach Trees

If you look at this peach tree, you’ll notice that there are a number of yellow leaves on this tree. This is due to a disease known as bacterial spot. Yellow leaves are one of the later symptoms of this disease. The first thing you’ll see are small spots on the leaves that eventually may turn that leaf yellow. Those small spots will also eventually have the center fall out so that you have a shot-hole appearance to that leaf. You’ll notice that each of those holes has a reddish fringe around the outside. That’s characteristic of bacterial spot.

The problem with bacterial spot is that it’s not a fungus – it’s a bacteria. Therefore, your fungicide program won’t help treat the disease. What you need to do is use resistant varieties. The peach variety is Red Haven and it’s resistant. It’s not immune – but it’s resistant to bacterial spot. The amount of disease on this tree isn’t enough to hurt the tree. So, we won’t worry about it, because there is enough natural control on the tree that it will do fine, even though it does have symptoms of the disease.

If you use a non-resistant variety, there are things you can do such as sanitation. You can clean up all the leaves in the fall, but you’re still dependent on weather. If you have a wet year, your tree could defoliate. This could weaken it enough for your tree to die. That’s why it’s always a good idea to get resistant varieties if you’re planting peaches in Kansas.

This feature story prepared with Ward Upham, Kansas State University Research and Extension, Extension Assistant. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at

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