Greetings Friends,

Harvest season is upon us at Johnson's Nursery! We will start digging trees and waking our perennials up from their long winter nap over the next few weeks, weather pending.

This time of year is very popular for reserving fruit stock for spring. The feature article, written by our resident orchardist, is about controlling peach tree pests. Our plant of the month is Peach Drift ® Rose. And d id you know that peach baskets play a key role in the history of basketball? Check out the Leaf Lore section for some basket-ology.

The 2017 fruit tree guide has been added to our guides and downloadable content section. Fruit tree inventory is fast-moving, so call us with questions or to reserve your stock soon.
Thank you for reading.

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Contender Peach

Reliance Peaches

Growing peaches in S.E. Wisconsin is not a foolproof task. Due to our cold winters, success is limited by the cold temperatures. Best results are obtained by planting very cold-hardy varieties, such as Reliance, Contender, and Veteran.

Peach tree flower buds are only winter hardy to about zero degrees Fahrenheit. When we get colder than zero degrees, we start losing flower buds. Because of this, peaches sited where a microclimate exists, or planting in a protected site (courtyard, S.E. side of building, etc.) will increase the chances of getting a peach crop. The closer you are to Lake Michigan the more protection you have (due to the lake effect). The further west you are, the less protection is afforded.

Despite these issues, the thrill of producing a crop of chin dripping, tree-ripened peaches is very rewarding. Nothing beats the taste of tree-ripened peaches!

As far as insect and disease problems are concerned, I find that growing peaches in S.E. WI is much easier than other fruit crops. Compared to apples, peaches have very few pest issues that might hinder production of a quality fruit crop.

In the 17 years that I have been growing peaches in Wisconsin, the only major insect pest I have encountered is Plum Curculio. The only major fungal issue I have found is Peach Leaf Curl. Yes, other insects and diseases exist for peaches, but so far they have not been major issues on my peach crops. With only two pests to worry about, and only a few sprays needed for control, I think peaches are a relatively easy crop to grow provided you have a protected site for planting.

Peach Leaf Curl is caused by the fungus Taphrina deformans. This fungus overwinters on the bark and buds of the tree. In early spring when the leaf buds swell and the bud scales crack, this fungus gets into the meristem. Once in the meristem, it causes the leaves to be deformed as they develop. The leaves emerge very twisted and usually are puckered up with red or yellow blotches on each leaf. This issue is primarily cosmetic since it only affects the leaves. The issue will resolve itself by mid-summer as the summer heat renders the fungus ineffective and normal sized leaves will then appear on all new growth. The diseased leaves will usually drop off in July.

Peach Leaf Curl

Although a cosmetic issue, severe outbreaks can weaken the tree over time. If enough leaves are infected in spring, those areas of the tree usually produce only very small peaches of low quality.

The disease cannot be eradicated by spraying a fungicide after the leaves are infected. Control is obtained only by spraying a preventative fungicide spray BEFORE THE BUD SCALES BREAK.

I normally spray one application of a fungicide containing the active ingredient chlorothalonil, sometime between March 15th and April 5th. I say normally, since this timeframe works for most winters for our area. In 2016, it was actually so warm in March that I sprayed early that month just to be sure I got it down before the bud scales cracked. Chlorothalonil is found in several fungicides produced by Ortho, Bonide, and Fertilome brands. A liquid copper spray will work too. The key to success is to coat the entire tree with the fungicide while it is still dormant, and before the buds swell. Peaches bud out early, so best to spray as early as weather conditions permit during this timeframe to get good prevention. Some years when I spray, I have to dodge the last of the snow piles on the ground as I walk around the trees.

Cucculio Larvae Adults

Plum Curculio
The major insect pest on peaches is Plum Curculio. Plum curculios are a native snout weevil. They attack plum, peach, pear, apple and other fruits. On peaches, the female curculio will attack the fruit, when it is the size of an olive (usually June), leaving a noticeable crescent-shaped wound on the young fruit. Into the wound, the female curculio will deposit an egg. The egg will hatch and the larvae will tunnel into the center of the fruit. Infected fruits usually color up early and abort from the tree. To control, spray an insecticide during the first few weeks of June. Normally, curculio season runs from late-May to mid-late June in S.E. Wisconsin.

The nice thing about this crop is that I am done spraying for pests by July and usually only 2-3 sprays were needed to get excellent looking fruit! Once we reach late June/early July, I usually have no other major problems to worry about on peaches.

Should you not wish to spray, you can skip it for control of plum curculio and still get some decent fruit. I say this because peaches bear so many fruits, that I never found the curculio to be able to damage all of them. Spraying however, will get you a much bigger crop. So if you have a peach tree and want to get the most out of it, mark your calendar for these important spray times and have a peachy year!
PLANT OF THE MONTH plantofmonth
Peach Drift® Rose - Rosa x 'Peach Drift' PP18,542

If your love of peaches goes beyond the juicy fruit and you want to enjoy the color peach in the garden all summer, we've got the perfect plant for you. Peach Drift® Rose is a low to the ground, prolific bloomer that is super easy to care for. Plant these dwarf roses in the front or middle of your sun-filled landscape beds or along the top of a retaining wall where it will drape over the sides. The peachy shades of semi-double flowers cover the shrub from mid-spring to mid-fall.

The glossy, dark green foliage is the perfect backdrop to the fruity blooms, and their excellent disease resistance means you won't have to do lots of fungicide applications, unlike some other shrub roses. However, if you have a lot of Japanese Beetles that show up in your yard in summer, you will want to protect the roses from them, either with topical or systemic pesticides. Make it easy on yourself and choose a fertilizer that already contains the insecticide to encourage new flowers.
Peach Basket-ology

March Madness is upon us. Have you selected your brackets yet? Brackets. Sounds a lot like baskets. Did you know that peach baskets play a key role in the history of basketball?

Credit for invention of the game is given to a Canadian, Dr. James Naismith. The concept was inspired by a child's game he played as a boy called "duck-on-a-rock". There is a rock. On top of that rock is another rock, called the "duck". You throw a rock at the duck. Hopefully your rock hits the duck. Duck falls off rock.

In 1891, James was the athletic director for a YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts. He needed a sport the boys could play indoors during the winter; one that involved skill, not just strength. There was also need of a sport to fill the void between football and baseball seasons. Dr. Naismith created a game with 13 rules, a soccer ball, and two peach baskets nailed above the gymnasium balcony. The ball was tossed from one player to another, the goal being, get the ball in your team's basket. You couldn't run with the ball, but dribbling wasn't introduced until 1897, when Yale University figured out there wasn't a rule banning that strategy.

In 1893, the Narragansett Machine Company replaced the peach baskets when they started manufacturing iron baskets with a net to catch the ball and a chain at the bottom to help retrieve it. Backboards were introduced in 1895, not to assist the shooters, but to keep the audience from interfering with the trajectory of the ball. In 1906, someone finally got wise and the bottom of the net was cut for the ball to fall through, but this change wasn't adopted for general use until 1912. Seems like a long time for teams to figure out an easier way to get the ball back.

Too bad peaches aren't at their peak during basketball season. A fresh, homemade peach pie would be a delicious way to celebrate your team's victory, while paying homage to the heritage of the sport. Or maybe sip a glass of Cold Duck. On the rocks.

The Dirt with Carrie Hennessy
Duration: 1:59

Throughout the spring season, we hear from a lot of panicked people who think that their trees have to be in the ground by June.  So not true!  Trees merely have certain times of the year that...Learn More
from Carrie's Quick Tips
Duration 1:32

Some say spring has arrived when you spy a robin.  I say it doesn't start until certain plants are "springing" back to life. This Quick Tip touches on a branch of science called... Learn more.
from The Dirt
Duration 3:17

"Good fences make good neighbors." Rather than installing a cold fence structure, a better option is to promote neighborly love with a Green Screen you can all enjoy... Learn more .
from Carrie's Quick Tips
Duration 1:23

Watch as Carrie shows you how to bring a little spring indoors in these late-Winter months. Brighten up your home by bringing stems indoors and forcing them to bloom.... Learn more.
from Carrie's Quick Tips
Duration 1:15

Depending on how long spring holds out on us, February means either we are in the homestretch of winter, or smack in the middle of it. Lots of crabapple varieties hold... Learn more.
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Reserve Spring Plants for Gifts
Looking for a gift for the plant lover in your life? Maybe you know someone who needs to renovate the beds around their house. Or maybe you want to give a tree to commemorate a birth or marriage, or as a memorial. Gift cards are great and convenient, but sometimes you want a more personalized option. You can purchase plants for a loved one now, and we will reserve them until spring, whether they are to be picked up, delivered, or installed. We will also print out information cards on the plants(s) so you have something tangible to wrap.

Learn More 

Do You Like To DIY?
We Plan-You Plant offers the guidance of our experts, who will use information gathered from you to create a professional landscape design--at no cost--when you purchase your plants at Johnson's Nursery.

Learn More 

Recycle Your Plant Pots/Trays
If you throw certain landscape plastics (i.e #2, #5, #6) in the trash, they will sit in the landfill and will not get recycled. You can return them to us--for free--all year long. Act locally, think globally. Recycle.

Expanding Your Family Tree?
Have you had a baby recently? Let us extend congratulations by offering you a 25% discount on any plant of your choosing. Like your child, our plants are raised locally and will grow strong.

Plant Guides & Catalogs
Wisconsin Native Plant Appreciation  Month
at Johnson's Nursery

Johnson's Nursery, Inc., in support of area Wild Ones chapters,  is happy to announce that June is Wisconsin Native Plant Appreciation Month.

"All active Wild Ones Members need only present their valid membership card at our Menomonee Falls headquarters any day during the month of June to receive a 40% discount off of standard retail pricing on all Wisconsin native container grown plant material."

Proceeds go to the Milwaukee-area Wild Ones Chapters.  Visit our website for complete sales details. Wild Ones membership may be obtained via
Visit our archive to read previous issues of The Leaf in Brief.

We appreciate the opportunity to serve and provide you with quality nursery stock.


Johnson's Nursery, Inc.
W180 N6275 Marcy Road. Menomonee Falls, WI 53051 ( map)
p. 262.252.4988