Alphabetical Plant Listing

Peach Leaf Curl

How to Identify, Prevent, and Treat Peach Leaf Curl

What is Peach Leaf Curl?

Peach leaf curl is a fungal disease that affects peach trees, as well as nectarines and almonds, causing the leaves to pucker and curl, turn red, and drop prematurely.

What causes Peach Leaf Curl?

Peach Leaf Curl is caused by a fungal pathogen, Taphrina deformans, that overwinters on the tree's bark and buds. In spring, the spores are released and are carried by wind and rain to infect new growth. The spores infect new leaves within a day or two after they emerge from the bud, and the disease develops during periods of cool, wet weather.

The infected leaves turn yellow, then red or purple, and become distorted and crinkled. Infected leaves often fall off the tree, leading to a reduced yield of fruit.

The fungus then produces a second set of spores on the fallen leaves, which can then reinfect the tree in the following season.

What are the Symptoms?

  • Distorted, reddish leaves that are thickened and puckered.
  • Blister-like, raised areas on leaves that turn yellow, then red, and finally gray or white.
  • Leaves may drop prematurely or remain on the tree.
  • Twigs and buds may become distorted or die.
  • Fruits may become deformed or cracked.

These symptoms typically appear in the spring after wet weather conditions.

How to Control and Prevent Peach Leaf Curl?

Here are some ways to control and prevent Peach Leaf Curl:

  1. Use resistant varieties: Choose varieties that are resistant to Peach Leaf Curl.

  2. Prune and destroy infected leaves: Remove infected leaves in the fall and early winter and burn or destroy them. Do not compost the infected leaves.

  3. Apply fungicide sprays: Apply copper fungicide sprays in the fall before bud break and again in the spring before bud swell.

  4. Use protective sprays: Apply protective fungicide sprays in the fall and winter to protect the tree from infection.

  5. Improve tree health: Keep your peach tree healthy with proper watering, fertilizing, and pruning practices.

  6. Keep the area clean: Keep the area around the peach tree clean and free of debris, fallen leaves, and fruit.

  7. Avoid overhead watering: Avoid overhead watering and wetting the leaves, as the fungus needs moisture to grow. Use drip irrigation or soaker hoses to water the tree.

It is important to note that prevention is key, as it is difficult to control the disease once it has been established.

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ChWeiss, Stefan_Sutka, Shutterstock

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

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