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Peach Leaf Curl

Apr 06, 2010 -

The warming spring rainy season is when Peach Leaf Curl arrives, causing all us peach lovers great sadness.  Those curled and deformed, red and swollen leaves are an obvious sign of a sick tree and a clear indication that the fruit crop will be affected.

Peach leaf curl is caused by a fungus, Taphrinia deformans that is quite common in any peach/nectarine orchard or home garden.  By the time a gardener sees peach leaf curl in the spring, the fungus has already penetrated the cellular tissue of the foliage and is doing its damage.  At this point the fungus is immune to treatment.  The leaves affected will curl, puff up, turn red then eventually shrivel and fall off.  The tree will produce a second new leaf set to replace the damaged ones, but the fungus will affect the vigor and vitality of the tree and the quality of fruit set.  The fungus remains, lying dormant until next season.  

Peach leaf curl is one of the few diseases that require annual spraying and the timing of this spraying is essential.   The most effective material to use is copper sulfate  or lime sulfur.  It must be applied before the dormant buds open, or it will not have any effect on controlling the disease.  Apply in November after leaf drop and again in January when the flower buds begin to swell, but before green leaf tips are first visible.

What can you do now?  Check in tomorrow.

Bill Bird Says:
Apr 7th, 2010 at 2:23 pm

I sprayed twice for peach leaf curl this year—right about the times reccommended in this blog. Used a good Copper Sulfate spray that has worked in the past—sprayed both the O’Henry and the June Pride but good—and guess what? Peach Leaf Curl on the O’Henry this spring. Not bad. But it’s there. June Pride is unaffected. Sometimes life isn’t fair.

ken-ken Says:
Apr 28th, 2010 at 3:45 pm

“Being new to peach trees I was so sadden by the leaf curl on my tree of just two years this spring.Thought is was frost damage at first.
Going to get some ““elixer”” and hope for the best.”

Dan Says:
Apr 22nd, 2012 at 3:21 pm

After picking off the leaves the fungus it started growing on my hands, then other places I scratched. My left hand grew red, fell off. And then my bottom lip.
Sprayed myself with Elixer. helped the itching some…

Allen Wey Says:
Mar 2nd, 2014 at 5:17 pm

So how does 1 treat this before and after?? With organic non pesticide???

Stephanie Brown Says:
Mar 3rd, 2014 at 9:41 am

Helo Allen,
There are no proven, non-chemical solutions to peach leaf curl, unfortunately. If your tree already has it, the best thing to do is to aggressively thin the fruit, make sure the tree has enough irrigation, and make sure it gets some high nitrogen fertilizer to support it’s regrowth of leaves.

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