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Phony peach disease

Xylella fastidiosa Wells et al.

The canopy of infected trees is flattened and compacted due to shortening of the internodes; the foliage tends to be a darker green (A). Infected trees may also flower and set fruit earlier, bear smaller fruit, and may suffer a substantial reduction in yield.


Endemic to southeastern US and occurs as far north as the Carolinas. Also limited in distribution to where the sharpshooter leafhopper vectors, Homalodisca coagulate (Say) [glassywinged sharpshooter], Oncometopia nigricans (Walker), and perhaps others, occur.

Similar Species

The characteristic dwarfing and the fact that the tree is not killed outright helps to distinguish this disease from other diseases that cause a general decline.


The disease is caused by a xylem-limited bacterium, whose geographical distribution appears to be limited to milder regions where the sharpshooter leafhopper vectors occur. Managing the insect vectors and removing infected trees (including hedgerow wild plum) to reduce the source of inoculum are the primary management practices.

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