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Controlling Peach Leaf Curl

Taphrina deformans

January 24,1998 Caroline wrote: I'm new at this computer stuff...so I hope you get my e.mail question..... The peach trees fruit always drops off....it also has curl...some ants.....thanks....we live in San Jose, California. thanks....Caroline
peach leaf curl

Peach leaf curl is a fungus disease called Taphrina deformans. It can cause defoliation and crop loss on nearly all varieties of peach and nectarine trees. The most common characteristic is the curling and crinkling of the leaves as they unfold in spring. Usually, the entire leaf is affected, but sometimes only small areas are involved. In addition to the curling, diseased leaves often turn red or purple. This disease also may occur on the fruit, blossoms, and young twigs. Diseased fruits will usually fall off of the tree prior to harvest. A diseased tree does not usually yield well do to blossom loss in the spring. Luckily, peach leaf curl is one of the easiest fruit diseases to control. Leaf curl can normally be prevented with a single, well-timed fungicide application of an appropriate fungicide, either in the autumn after 90% of the leaves have fallen, or in the spring before bud swell. Remember, for effective disease control the fungicide must be applied at the proper time, and the tree must be thoroughly covered with the fungicide spray. When applying a fungicide, or any chemical for that matter, be sure to read the label and follow instructions to the letter. Be certain that you are using the correct product for the type of plant, as well as for the disease or pest you are using it to control. If leaf curl is severe, it is important to maintain tree vigor by thinning more fruit than usual, irrigation, and applying extra nitrogen fertilizer. As far as the ants go, I doubt that they are causing to much of a problem to your tree, unless you also have a problem with aphids. Ants supposedly herd and protect aphids like cattle. Aphids tend to congregate on new plant growth. Salivary secretions cause a stunting of leaf and stem growth. If aphids appear to be a problem, there are many insecticides on the market, which will effectively control them, as well as the ants. A preferred and safer method would be to purchase a quantity of lady bugs next spring, and allow them to cure the aphid problem for you. The ants will just go about their own business, doing ant things. Good luck!!