Brown Rot: new POP video & monthly action plan!

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Phil Forsyth

Mar 25, 2024, 9:37:30 AMMar 25
to Philadelphia Orchard Group
Dear Philly Orchardists,

Have problems with brown rot of your stone fruits last year?  We're happy to announce that we have some new resources for you!  

brown rot

Here's POP's new video, produced with help from Big Picture Alliance: 

And here's our new monthly action plan:  

Shared below is our blog post about it.  In many years, brown rot is the #1 cause of crop loss on stone fruits in POP orchards, so we hope these new resources help.  

Note, stay tuned for videos and action plans on other common pest and disease issues in the weeks to come.  Up next: Oriental Fruit Moth!  

What is brown rot? 

Brown rot is a common fungal disease (Monilinia fructicola) that affects trees in the “stone fruit” category such as peaches, nectarines, plums, cherries, and apricots. Brown rot can be very devastating, causing the fruit to rot and twigs to become cankered.

Fruits infected with brown rot first appear with soft brown spots. As the infection grows quickly, the fruit becomes covered in a powdery mass of fungus. Wet weather conditions can increase the development of this infection.

Brown rot can survive the winter in twigs and fruits affected by the disease. If the proper steps aren’t taken to minimize brown rot in the winter, the fungus will continue to spread and create more damage in the springtime.

brown rot

Prevention and Management 

As with mostly all diseases that affect fruit trees, proper prevention and control requires year-round attention. Minimizing the spread of brown rot can be done by pruning out twigs showing canker and removing any affected fruits that are still on the tree or that have fallen to the ground. It is important to hot compost, burn or deeply bury these materials in order to ensure the disease will not spread.

Properly pruning trees in order to allow more air and light can be a great measure against brown rot, which thrives in damp, cool conditions.  There are also some recommended cultivars shown to have more resistance to brown rot.

Some sources suggest copper or sulfur fungicides can be sprayed before or after blossoming in spring to help prevent brown rot, but more recent research suggests that these harsh sprays are not effective for control. The biofungicide Serenade is recommended instead, applied every 7 days from bud break to petal fall and if needed, on 10-14 day intervals thereafter.  Spring holistic spray of compost tea, effective microbes, and/or neem oil may also help reduce the problem while boosting the micro-ecology. It is important to read the labels on any products you use very carefully to ensure soil or plants are not damaged by excessive application!

Brown rot cankers on peach twigs. Prune these out to reduce further infection!


POPCORE video on Brown Rot, Fire Blight, and Black Knot:
POP monthly action plan for Brown Rot:
UNebraska on Brown Rot (including chart of resistant cultivars):
Penn State on control of Bitter Pit and Brown Rot (suggests that Copper/Sulfur are not effective):

This edition of POP TIPS prepared with assistance from 2014 POP intern Tina Kalakay with edits and additions by Co-Executive Director Phil Forsyth.
SUPPORT US!  If you found this entry useful, informative, or inspiring, please consider a donation of any size to help POP in planting and supporting community orchards in Philadelphia:  

Phil Forsyth, Co-Executive Director
Philadelphia Orchard Project
Pronouns: he/him

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