Peach Leaf Curl

10 June 2013 | Posted in Gardening by The Marshalls Family

Peach Leaf CurlPeach Leaf Curl

I spotted the dreaded Peach Leaf Curl on my Nectarine last week so quickly nipped off all the affected leaves and destroyed them. When I got back into work I thought maybe I should've taken a picture so I could show what it looks like - but it was too late then!

However as you can see it has returned, and before I went into panic-mode I thought about pictures this time. The tree was only planted last year and I have to admit I didn't follow advice and cover it in January and February as one should.

It is caused by fungal spores that need moisture to enable germination and as we had a very wet spring it is likely to be very prevalent this year! Unfortunately once the disease is spotted it is too late for treatment other than complete removal of affected leaves. New shoots and leaves will sometimes grow to replace those that have been removed.

Infected leaves show the characteristic curling, blistering and distortion, white fungal spores may also be visible. These spores survive overwinter on infected leaves that have fallen and on cracks in bark and branches and will reappear to re-infect the new buds for next season. Removing leaves before the white spores develop will reduce re-infection.

If peaches are trained against a wall, a simple ‘lean-to' of plastic sheeting on a framework can be very effective at preventing this infection and will also give some frost protection. It should cover the top and the front of the tree with the sides left open to allow bees to find your blossoms to pollinate them. The effect of keeping the leaves and stems dry stops germination of the spores and has proven to be very effective.

If this isn't practical preventative Fungicide intervention can give good control but spraying needs to start in Autumn just before leaf drop and again in late January and February a couple of weeks apart, using a copper based Fungicide such as Fruit and Vegetable Disease Control which should give some good protection.

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