What Is PTSL: Information About Peach Tree Short Life Disease

Peach Tree Orchard With Dead Peach Tree Due To PTSL
Peach tree death
(Image credit: Clemson University - USDA Cooperative Ext Slide Series, Bugwood.org)

Peach tree short life disease (PTSL) is a condition that causes peach trees to die after a few years of doing well in the home orchard. Just before or after leafing out in spring, the trees collapse and quickly die.

What is PTSL caused by? Read on for information on this problem and tips for preventing the disease. Note that there is no effective peach tree short life treatment for an affected tree.

What is PTSL?

Peach tree short life disease results from several different stresses on a young tree. Stress factors include external pests like the ring nematode and bacterial canker.

However, when it comes to prevention, it’s important to remember that other environmental and cultural stresses can be involved. They can include fluctuating winter temperatures, pruning the wrong time of year, and poor horticultural practices.

Peach Tree Short Life Disease Symptoms

How can you be sure that your tree’s demise is caused by PTSL? The trees affected are relatively young, usually between 3 and 6 years old. Watch for the leaves to suddenly wilt and the blossoms to collapse.

In addition, the peach tree bark will look water soaked, turn red, and crack. If you cut away some bark and smell it, it has a sour sap odor. However, if you were to dig up the tree, you would find that the primary root system seems healthy.

Once you see these symptoms, expect the tree to die very quickly.

Preventing Peach Tree Short Life

Since some of the causes of this peach tree disease are cultural, you should take care to give them your attention. Site trees in well-drained soil with a pH of about 6.5. If necessary, add lime regularly to the soil to maintain this pH.

One way of preventing peach tree short life is to be sure to time your pruning correctly. Only do your pruning in February and early March. Keep the trees short enough to allow pesticide spraying.

It’s also a good idea to select peach trees that use a ring-nematode-tolerant variety for a rootstock, like ‘Guardian.’ You should monitor your soil for nematodes, and spray the planting area soil with a fumigant nematicide.

If you are wondering about peach tree short life treatment, it is not possible to save a tree that is affected. Taking steps to be sure your soil doesn’t have nematodes can help with prevention.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.