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Gail Ruhl, Plant Disease Diagnostician
During cool, wet spring weather peach leaf curl appears on some peach and nectarine trees. Symptoms are quite distinctive and look like portions of the leaf have "ballooned" out. These distorted portions often are colored a bright pink to red and may be thickened, puckered, and curled. The leaves often look as if a gathering string had been run along the mid-vein and pulled tight. As the summer advances, the upper surface of diseased leaves will turn grey and develop a powdery appearance. A few or nearly all of the leaves on an affected tree may fall, depending upon the severity of the attack. Loss of leaves lowers tree vitality and fruit production. Diseased fruit becomes distorted and irregular in shape, with swollen areas on the surface. These areas look like they have been polished and are without peach fuzz.
The fungal organism which causes this disease is called Taphrina deformans, which also causes a leaf curl of nectarine and almond, but not apricot.
This disease can be easily controlled with one or two fungicide sprays. However, after the buds swell it is too late for chemical control. Thus, to prevent this disease from occurring next year, one spray of appropriate fungicide during the dormant season, preferably just before the buds swell , should suffice. If the infection was extremely severe, it may be wise to apply a fungicide spray in late fall as well as in early spring.
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|Peach Leaf Curl
(Photo by Paul Pecknold)
Plant and Pest Digital Library and Digitally Assisted Diagnosis, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana.