Hurricane’s Potential Impact on Peach Trees

Jim Rogers Peaches

By Clint Thompson

Hurricane Ian’s potential path through Georgia and South Carolina could impact peach trees in the region.

Photo courtesy of Phil Brannen: Shows a young peach tree blown over by a hurricane.

Phil Brannen, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension fruit disease specialist, discussed what high winds associated with a hurricane could do to peach trees.

“Assuming that it comes through with pretty heavy winds in the middle Georgia area, South Georgia, anywhere you have peaches, if you have large trees and they still have leaves on them, they could be blown over. That’s going to be a concern. Like a little bit later when the leaves are off, you don’t get nearly the wind damage as you do when the leaves are on, but large trees often will withstand the winds pretty well. Young trees are like pom poms blowing in the wind when they’re young, and they will definitely blow over. That’s a problem,” Brannen said.

Growers can go back into their orchards and erect any fallen tree, but that will take “a lot of time and a lot of effort” on a commercial scale, Brannen noted.

There is also potential damage to the trees’ root systems with the expected high winds and rain-soaked soils. Trees would be vulnerable to Phytophthora root rot infections.

“With the whipping action of the wind, you can also have damage to the roots, and then we’ll often get Phytophthora root rot that will come in following that. Unfortunately, there’s only a very few things they can do. You can put out chemical fungicides that would have activity on Phytophthora root rot. That would be something you have to do almost immediately as soon as you get back into the orchard in order to get any benefit out of it,” Brannen said. “That’s the concern that you have.”

Products like Ridomil Gold, Aliette (non-bearing trees) and Prophyt are recommended for control of these pathogens. Repeat treatments would be required.