Peach Leaf Curl is a very common disease that affects the blossoms, fruit, leaves and shoots of peaches, ornamental flowering peaches and nectarines.
PLC starts out in the spring as reddish blisters or areas (see images). As these areas thicken it causes the leaves to curl and distort. Later, affected leaves may turn yellow or brown then drop off. A second set of leaves may set on, but the energy spent on this set of leaves, reduces yield and decreases the tree growth for that year. Young shoots and fruit may also show symptoms, further leading to the trees decline.
Once you see these symptoms, it is too late to do anything this season.
Getting a Handle on Peach Leaf Curl
PLC happens to be one to the easiest fruit diseases to control. In many years, a single application of Broad Spectrum Fungicide or H/Y Vegetable, Flower, Fruit Fungicide at the proper time is all that is needed. In cases of heavy infestation the year before, two applications may be needed.
Infection occurs as the leaf buds crack open and the green leaf tips are first visible. The preferred time to apply is in the spring, before bud swell. If two applications are required, a fall application may be made, after leaf drop. When crop value is high and for best results, apply fall and spring, every year.
To ensure the effectiveness of the fungicide, Spreader Sticker needs to be added to the mix and the solution needs to be sprayed until dripping. You need to spray all branches, twigs and stems, soaking bud tips, get into every nook and cranny. It is better to over apply than to not get good coverage. Cleaning up leaf litter in the fall may help a little.
One final thing that can be done to help if a tree has been infected or to reduce infection, is to fertilize with ferti-lome Fruit, Citrus and Pecan Food. An application once per year can stimulate recovery growth, increase the vigor and reduce susceptibility. A fall application, after the leaves drop is the preferred time to apply, a spring application may be done, if the fall is missed.