Shame on us for not spraying the fruit trees properly this year. Here I am typing out blog post after blog post trying to sound like we are somewhat competent gardeners and this year, well, we are a great big gardening mess. First the damping off and now the peach leaf curl. What next?
Peach Leaf Curl is another lovely fungal disease that when controlled with proper spraying stays at bay. But when you let it overwinter without spraying it will come and get you once spring hits and the leaf buds sprout. Once that happens, there is nothing you can do until the next dormant season. Since the disease places stress on the tree you can coddle your poor sickly tree by giving it extra fertilizer and proper water. Peach Leaf Curl affects namely peaches, nectarines and in the case of our yard, our Weeping Santa Rosa Plum tree. The leaves become discolored, curl up and much of the fruit also becomes damaged. I fear we won’t have half the nectarine crop or peach crop that we did last year.
To keep peach leaf curl away, you should spray with a copper spray three times during the winter. I’ve been reading that most people can get rid of it with only one spraying, but we’ve been advised to spray three times. First when all of the leaves have fallen off, which often in Sonoma is around Thanksgiving. Then spray again a month later around Christmas and then give it one final spray at the end of January before the leave buds break.
This year we only sprayed in January and then it rained a day afterwards, so I’m sure that most of the copper was washed off anyway. We are paying for it now as all of our peach, nectarine and plum trees are deeply infected with it.
If you’d like to read more about peach leaf curl click over to UC Davis’s website. We get a lot of our in depth gardening info from them.