Okay, may I present “the pest of the day”. It seems like the pests just keep coming, but I guess that’s part of the game of growing food. Wouldn’t it be boring if everything just grew perfectly from day one? Well, maybe not exactly. Anyhow, the peach leaf curl disease arrived in the spring.
Peach leaf curl is caused by a fungus called Taphrina Deformans, which infects both peach and nectarine. It survives on the tree in small cracks and breaks out in cool and wet weather conditions when the temperature is 10 to 20 deg. C (50 to 70 deg. F).
When the leaves start to curl it’s to late to try to cure the tree, and good fruit will not develop. But if the leaves manage to expand fully the infection will not take place. This year I didn’t know that it could be a problem and the tree took a hard hit.
What you can do is to set up a canopy of clear plastic over your peach tree until the flowers are gone. This will keep it bright and dry, and prevent the fungus from spreading to your tree.
Another thing to try is to spray with Bordeaux mixture, which is a anti-fungal fluid made of copper sulphate and hydrated lime. It was invented in the Bordeaux region of France hence the name and originally intended for vine fungus. It’s sprayed onto the tree in late January, and repeated in mid February.
So the next season of gardening starts early, and I’m also planning on moving the tree to the east facing wall to delay flowering. This year the flowers were surprised by late frost, so it was really not a good start for the young tree, but I think next year will be better, now that I know more about the problems.
If you have any experience with peach leaf curl please share below in the comments section.