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Peach Leaf Curl
Apr 06, 2010 - Kalita from Peaceful Valley
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.
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