One of the diseases it’s important to monitor at this time of the year is Brown rot. In our part of the world (in southern Australia), our typically hot, dry conditions don’t usually favour the disease, but the recent rainy weather has meant that Ant has ended up with a tiny bit of Brown rot in the peaches, nectarines and plums.

If you’ve had a rainy fruit season, you’re at a much higher risk of a Brown rot outbreak. It particularly loves warm, wet weather.

It’s important to pick any fruit that show symptoms, and dispose of it well away from the tree – put in the compost, feed to animals, or cook (after you cut off the bad bits, of course!).

Peaches with brown rot ready to be cut up and cooked
Peaches with brown rot ready to be cut up and cooked

The infection can quickly spread (especially in rainy weather), so monitoring your trees once a week, and removing infected fruit gives the remaining fruit the best chance of staying healthy. 

Brown rot spreading from one piece of fruit to another in a bunch of President plums
Brown rot spreading from one piece of fruit to another in a bunch of President plums

Even in organic gardens and farms, it’s possible to take preventive action to minimise the risk of diseases like Brown rot.

Hygiene (such as removing fruit as described above) is one of the most important, but you should also aim to keep a ‘cover’ spray of one of the safe organic fungicides on your trees at all times.

Brown rot spreading from one piece of fruit to another in a bunch of President plums
Hugh demonstrating a backpack spray unit that’s the perfect size for most home gardens

If you only have a few trees to manage, you can quickly and simply do this job with a simple sprayer, as Hugh is demonstrating here. With more trees to manage, you may want a more mechanised set-up.

There are so many spray systems to suit every size of garden or farm, but it can be really hard to figure out which spray system will suit you best, and what’s the best balance between budget and value.

It’s not worth spending hundreds (or thousands) of dollars on a system that’s too big and sophisticated for your needs. On the other hand, you may be able to save yourself many, many hours (and therefore $$) by investing in a system that will do the job you need quickly and efficiently.

It depends on a few things — how many trees you have, your topography (i.e. how steep your block is), what equipment you have available, and your goals for your fruit trees. If you’re hoping to sell some of your fruit, for example, you really need to make sure you can spray quickly, and easily, as often as you need to. We’ve demystified the whole topic in our short online course Choose the Right Spray Gear.

Spraying with organic fungicides can make the difference between harvesting a crop or losing the lot!
Spraying with organic fungicides can make the difference between harvesting a crop or losing the lot!