Preventing Fruit Tree Diseases – What Are Common Fruit Tree Diseases

Hands Holding A Dried Diseased Fruit Tree Branch
fruit tree disease
(Image credit: LianeM)

Fruit trees are a great asset to any garden or landscape. They provide shade, flowers, a yearly harvest, and a great talking point. They can also be very vulnerable to disease. Keep reading to learn more about the identification of fruit tree diseases and fruit tree disease treatments.

Common Fruit Tree Diseases

Fruit trees are very diverse, but there are some common fruit tree diseases that can be found in many of them. The best thing you can do when preventing fruit tree diseases is to prune the tree(s) to allow sun and air through the branches, as disease spreads easily in dark, damp environments.

Peach scab and leaf curl

Peaches, nectarines, and plums often fall victim to the same problems, like peach scab and peach leaf curl.

  • With peach scab, the fruit and new twigs are covered in round, black spots surrounded by a yellow halo. Remove the affected parts of the tree.
  • With leaf curl, the leaves dry and curl up on themselves. Apply a fungicide before the period of bud swell.

Brown rot

Brown rot is an especially common fruit tree disease. Some of the many trees it can affect include:

With brown rot, the stems, flowers, and fruit are all covered in a brown fungus that eventually mummifies the fruit. Remove the affected parts of the tree and fruit, and prune to allow for more sunlight and air circulation among the branches.

Bacterial canker

Bacterial canker is another disease that can be found in virtually every fruit tree. The particular disease symptoms in fruit trees include holes in the leaves, as well as new shoots, and even whole branches dying off. It is mostly found in stone fruit trees and trees that have suffered frost damage. Cut off the affected branches several inches (8 cm.) below the disease and apply a fungicide.

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.