How to get rid of peach tree curl

Written by sarah terry
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Peach leaf curl is easy to prevent with a single fungicide application, but it's more difficult to get rid of after the fact. Peach leaf curl is caused by a fungus infecting the tree, causing the leaves to curl and shrivel up, with red, warty spots emerging on the leaves. Signs of the fungal disease tend to pop up, seemingly out of nowhere, during wet, cool weather in the spring when temperatures are between 10.0 and 21.1 degrees C. You can get rid of peach leaf curl using a series of fungicide treatments.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Fungicides
  • Nitrogen-based fertiliser
  • Garden rake
  • Clear plastic canopy (optional)

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  1. 1

    Spray the infected peach tree with a chlorothalonil or copper-based fungicide or a Bordeaux mixture in late January. Apply the fungicide to the peach tree following the directions on the label.

  2. 2

    Repeat the fungicide treatment in mid-February. Spray the tree thoroughly to get the fungicide mixture into the tiny bark crevices where the fungi hide and grow, and to coat the leaves.

  3. 3

    Apply an extra dose of fertiliser to the infected peach tree in the summer. Feed the tree a nitrogen-based fertiliser and water the tree once or twice per week to strengthen it and keep it healthy.

  4. 4

    Remove the fruits before they ripen to reduce the stress on your peach tree. Rake up and discard fallen leaves to prevent the spread of the fungus.

  5. 5

    Prevent leaf curl from spreading to surrounding peach trees by spraying them with an appropriate fungicide in the autumn, when most of the leaves have fallen from the tree. Spray the peach trees again in the spring before the buds begin to swell.

Tips and warnings

  • You can also erect a clear plastic canopy over your infected peach tree to keep it dry and slow the fungal growth. Ensure that the canopy is open around the sides and doesn't touch the peach tree, and keep the canopy up from spring through autumn.
  • Don't burn the fallen leaves, because these leaves often contain live spores that can be released into the air. Throw away the leaves, and don't put them in your compost heap.

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