You may have noticed some leaves of peach trees in the Canberra region getting a curly, pocked look. Peach leaf curl caused by the fungus Taphrina deformens generally only happens to the new succulent leaves appearing in Spring. Although it’s unsightly and affects the fruit, leaves and blossoms of peaches and nectarines, it’s unlikely to result in tree removal.
You can identify leaf curl by its reddish colour and the curly, puckered leaves known as hypertrophy that is caused by fungi that have been sheltering in the crack and crevices of your fruit tree over winter. As soon as the bud cracks open to produce the new season’s leaf they start to feed on the leaf.
Firstly, when watering your tree only water the ground, keeping the leaves dry will help combat this disease. Carefully cut out the infected leaves with secateurs cleaned with disinfectant. New leaves will come and most probably the new leaf will not be infected.
The fungi works on a cycle and what we want to do is disrupt the cycle so be sure to rake up all old leaf matter from last year and take it to the tip. Replace this with new organic matter and little bit of liquid seasol goes a long way (please follow instruction on dosage).
This fungus loves moist partly shaded conditions. If you water too much this can speed up this hypertrophy (leaf curl).
If your trees are in pots move the pot to a sunny part of the yard preferably with a breeze.
You can use a chemical treatment, a fungicide, namely Vitax Bordeaux mixture. This fungicide is a vegetable disease controlled fungicide. Spray plants in autumn before leaf is to fall and then x2 applications in 2week intervals in late August just before spring.
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