“What is the best thing to do about peach leave curl?” Question from Craig of Big Bar, California
Answer: This disease of peaches and nectarines is caused by the fungus Taphrina deformans, and it is really damaging, causing deformations of flowers, leaves, fruit, and even shoots. It can cause real problems with tree health and fruit production. There are a few things that you can do to help infected trees. But, if you plan to plant new trees in the future, there are several peach-curl-resistant varieties, such as ‘Frost’ and ‘Redhaven’ peaches and the ‘Kreibich’ nectarine.
Here are a few steps for controlling the disease on susceptible trees:
- Apply a fungicide to the trees every year after the leaves have fallen.
- Clean up the fallen, diseased leaves from the base of the tree in fall.
- Prune off dead or damaged stems when trees are dormant.
- Apply a second fungicide treatment again in spring before the trees have leafed out.
The safest, most effective fungicides for homeowners are liquid copper fungicides approved for organic gardening. These are what I recommend using.
I hope that these steps bring you better luck with your peaches this year!
Black Gold Horticulturist