Gardening columnist Tim Daly answers the following questions from readers:

Question: I have a large oak tree in my front years. Brown spots have appeared on the leaves recently, causing them to drop. What is causing this problem? Will it harm the tree? What can I do to control it? Despite the problem with the leaves, overall, the tree looks good. I would hate to lose it. – Ann, Norcross

Answer: Ann, what you are observing are fungal leaf spots, which are quite common and caused by numerous species of fungi. However, the condition causes no harm to the tree. Spraying the entire tree with a pesticide is not practical, economical, or necessary.

The best course of action is to remove the fallen leaves and dispose of them, which will reduce the amounts of fungal spores produced. From your description, the tree is healthy and not in need of any treatment.

Q: My bermudagrass lawn has an excessive number of weeds. I am observing clover, creeping speedwell, violets, and others. What actions can I take to control the weeds? I have this issue every year. – Ben, Buford

A: Ben, you should apply a broadleaf herbicide to the lawn to control the weeds. Several brands are available for use, such as the Bio-Advanced, Ortho, and Sprectracide products. To reduce the weeds, apply a pre-emergent herbicide, which controls weeds when they emerge from seeds.

Apply them in March to reduce summer weeds and September for winter ones. When using pesticides, please follow all label directions. Use tactics to keep the lawn healthy with thick grass, such as proper mowing, fertilization, and water application, which will promote a healthy, dense stand of grass that will have less room for weeds.

Q: I have three peach trees in my backyard. However, I seldom get any ripe fruit. Peaches form on the tree after flowering, but they will develop rot and drop. What steps can I take to get peaches from the tree? – George, Snellville

A: George, though we live in the Peach State,’peaches are challenging to grow due to the insect and disease pressure. Extension does not recommend these fruiting plants for homeowners when other ones, such as blueberries, blackberries, and figs, have minimal pests and thrive in our area.

They require periodic pesticide applications throughout the growing season to reduce the pests and get healthy ripe peaches. For your description, the fruit has brown rot fungus, which is common on peaches and plums. Fungicides such as Captan and liquid sulfur spray can help control the disease if applied according to label directions. Remove fruit, branches, and leaves that drop to the ground to reduce the source of the spores that promote the disease.

To find a spray schedule for peaches and other fruit trees, please refer to the following Extension website: Scroll down to the section on peaches.

Timothy Daly is an Agricultural and Natural Resource Extension Agent with UGA Extension Gwinnett.


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