Peach Leaf Curl

violet_sky(z8 Portland OR)March 18, 2010

Missed my window of opportunity to spray and now the new leaf buds are red and wrinkly. Anyone have any ideas of how to treat peach leaf curl organically after it's already infected the tree for the season?

It's new and I'd hate to loose it. (Planted last fall) I pinched off some of the infected leaves but not sure this is the best course of action. Ideas? Halp.

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borderbarb

Some interesting comments/advice in a CA gardening forum from '07.
...snip.... Come early summer when it is getting hot, and no more rains, apply loads of fertilizers, especially high in Nitrogen. And supplement with Epsom salts. Supply adequate irrigation. The idea here is to help your tree recover vigorously to replace the infected leaves which will fall off. The biggest mistake of homegrowers is not to fertilize their trees when they have PLC infections. The new vigorous leaves will not be infected in the drier months, and it will help your tree prepare much better for next year.
===
do a google search on key words "peach leaf curl" and you'll get quite a few hits. Most will be the usual advice to spray in the fall, etc. One note of advice was simply "mark you calendar so you won't forget to spray in the fall." terse and to the point....
/////////////
This article from UC IPM .. may help. You may lose this year's fruit, but probably won't lose the tree.
http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7426.html

Here is a link that might be useful: CA garden forum -peach leaf curl

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 7:02PM
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Michael

violet: you can't save the infected leaves. I wouldn't get in too big a hurry to add nitrogen to the soil as your soil may have plenty for the young tree. Peaches have a way of putting out a lot of growth (measured in feet) per year. Mine is entering it's 5th year, has never been fertilized yet still puts on 2-3' or more of growth on the shoots each year. Since your tree is known to be infected this year you should apply both a fall and spring (before bud break copper application. A copper hydroxide formulation such as Kocide works very well for PLC and is considered organic but NOT harmless nor is any copper formulation including Bordeaux mixture. Don't do like I did last spring, not realize the previous winter was extremely dry and wait until the tree started losing all it's leaves before I said, "oh, maybe it's dry" and watered it. DUH!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 10:54PM
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gardengal48

About the worst thing you can do to a plant that is already under stress is to apply fertilizers. And that goes double for heavy applications in the midst of the growing season.

The dormant sprays (early spring before bud break and in fall after leaf drop) are the accepted treatment methods. Bordeaux mix or other copper fungicides are approved organic controls. Keep the tree well watered during the summer - it will releaf - but repeated seasons of the problem recurring without treatment will weaken the tree.

FWIW, there are leaf-curl resistant varieties available.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 11:15PM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

Anyone have any ideas of how to treat peach leaf curl organically after it's already infected the tree for the season?

Clean up all litter around the tree - a-l-l litter - then wait for dormant season and spray.

Dan

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 5:00AM
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Michael

Dan: good point, sanitation is very important in PLC control as well as brown rot on peach. Remove from the vicinity of the tree and/or burn all fallen leaves and fruit. In addition, any mummified fruit should also be removed from the tree.

Proper pruning and training is another vital cultural control that, amongst other things, will allow for freer air movement in the tree canopy aiding in disease control and easier, more effective spraying. Nothing like trying to spray a 20 ft tall tree from a 6' ladder with a 2 gal hand sprayer.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 2:38PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Because your tree was planted so recently, and also because it has shown itself to be *very* susceptible to peach leaf curl, I suggest you replace the tree with a more tolerant kind. Now.

I suspect that sounds very brutal to you. But it's like this.

The more years you wait, the worse the disease will become. And when the tree either dies or you decide you remove it, you will have wasted years during which a more tolerant tree could have been establishing a sturdy root system.

Peach trees in our region have more than enough problems. No need to start with one that's obviously very susceptible to peach leaf curl.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 11:38PM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

jean and GG have good points - I hadn't considered the OP could have likely planted a var that is susceptible to PLC.

So let me add to my comment above and state: take it out, see if you have someone who wants to take it, and get a new one.

Dan

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 11:49AM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Hey Dan,

Why give a dead horse to someone? The best thing to do for that tree is to trash it!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 1:50PM
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Michael

Peach trees are rather resiliant, if you are particularly attached to that variety and are willing to do the copper sprays at the proper time as well as the cultural controls, leave it. In addition, you can hedge your bets by planting a PLC resistant variety close by in the event your problem child croaks. The worse thing to happen is you'll be cutting down one tree later, at least you'll have a healthy one remaining.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 2:29PM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

I wasn't aware a typical peach tree was a dead horse, jean.

Dan

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 2:38PM
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Michael

Is the tree a goner?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 3:06PM
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violet_sky(z8 Portland OR)

Perhaps a bit more information will help quell any disagreements.

The soil is pretty loamy with a good amount of compost mixed in pre-planting, meaning that I don't think it'll need to be heavily fertilized later in the season. Besides if you use a high/quick release fertilizer it'll be good for the tree for a week but you'll kill your soil and things will go down hill from there quickly. For the best explanation on why I think this to be true, please read: Teaming with Microbes - A Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web by Jeff Lowenfels & Wayne Lewis and then we'll talk.

I do agree that I should've bought a more resistant variety. That's a fail on my part. Am I going to rip it out and replace it? No. If I could afford it I'd consider it but the reality is our current financial situation doesn't allow us the wiggle room to be spending money on replacing this tree. Also the severity or lack there of curl on this tree doesn't warrant a death sentence for it either.

All in all what I've heard here and other places is that there's really nothing you can do if you miss your dormant spraying window. So my course of action has been this: pinch off the infected leaves and remove them from the tree/yard. (They won't go in my compost but into the city compost where the higher temps should kill the fungus) Also since the tree is small I've decided that it's not too much trouble this season to cover it in a light weight clear plastic tarp during rain showers to keep the curl from spreading any further. We come into our dry season by June so it's only a few months of bother.

So far it's turning out to be a somewhat mild infection. I plan on spraying in the dormant season next year both in the fall and again in the spring. I'll keep you posted on how this method works.

Thanks for all the ideas, suggestions and input!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 4:02PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

If you can't afford to replace the tree now, how can you afford to spray year after year after year, then be disappointed when the tree dies?

And yes, you're correct. You missed the only time one has any chance of spraying for peach leaf curl. Then consider this -- with a tree that's so heavily infected while in the ground for less than a year, how successful do you think spraying will be during future years?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 8:05PM
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violet_sky(z8 Portland OR)

Jean, seriously... what's your deal? No one said it was heavily infested, that's your own emphasis. I was just trying to head off trouble at the pass. Why are you so adamant that I rip this tree out? Perhaps you'd like to fund the purchase of a new one? In which case I'll happily oblige you. ^.^

It has a MILD case of PLC *because it wasn't sprayed last year* during its dormant state. Spraying this fall should take care of next year.

Thanks for your input anyway. It keeps life interesting.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 8:13PM
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Michael

Violet: the recommendations I've seen for a tree that has PLC as you describe it say copper in the fall shortly after leaf drop and then during late dormant. Once the PLC is under control, the recs. state just a late dormant spray. As far as the late dormants go, I assume you get a lot of rain during that period. If that is the case, keep in mind that infection occurs at bud break and leaf emergence and you want the copper to still be there. Spray as close to bud break but before and use a sticker. Thorough coverage will be critical as will the cultural controls as the whole idea is to whack back the inoculum level wherever it may be hiding.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 11:04PM
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violet_sky(z8 Portland OR)

Thank you Michael, very sound advice. I was thinking I'd spray in the fall and the spring but I guess just a spring spay will do the trick?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 11:52PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

You asked "Jean, seriously... what's your deal? No one said it was heavily infested, that's your own emphasis."

Any first year peach infested with peach leaf curl is heavily infested. It will be worse in successive years.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 7:55PM
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Michael

Violet: Maybe, but I can think of another reason to do both fall and spring. Come early spring you may not be able to get that one in due to rain or whatever, just the fall one may not be sufficient as you already have PLC and your young tree doesn't need to be whacked again.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 9:59PM
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coastalguy

Last year I had a brand new tree leaf out with PLC in its first year. I picked the bad leaves, it leafed out regular ones and I and gave it two applications of Lime Sulphur in the dormant season. This year it's leafed out without any visible PLC. Digging up a perfectly good tree before you even try the proven remedy seems like overkill. Don't panic, your tree will probably be fine. If it doesn't respond to spraying in the dormant season, you can always rip it out next year.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 1:28AM
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violet_sky(z8 Portland OR)

Thanks Coastalguy... those were kinda my thoughts as well.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 2:45AM
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punczki

Hi my name is dave. I live in the Chicago area and I too have missed my opportunity to apply copper. I fully expect to see curl on some of the leaves, but as in other years they will fall off, and new leaves will emerge. I also expect to have an outstanding crop of peaches this year. So I must say that pulling a tree out when there are effective treatments seems a bit drastic. I've been battling black spot on my apples every season and still would not consider taking those down. I'd recommend pinching infected leaves off and that's all. (and water when it needs it). Spray it with a copper spray after leaf fall and again in the spring while dormant. Don't give up on this tree yet.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 2:35PM
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Michael

What Dave said. And since I don't think it has been stated, those leaves being removed must be removed far from the area the tree is growing in, burn them if you have to, they are a source of disease for next year.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 2:50PM
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Phi944(8)

There is some good information on PLC at "The Farmer Fred Rant" dated 4/10/12 "PLC returns in 2012"

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 8:58PM
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aphroditelaughs(Puget Sound)

I am dealing with this problem on a newish peach as well. I have been searching the internet (which is how I found this thread). I read on one of the university sites that some of the resistant cultivars need to be sprayed for the first couple of years until they are established, at which time they can fight off infection. So really infection at this stage doesn't necessarily mean your tree is doomed. Depending on the variety, it may be able to fight once it gets comfortable in its new setting. It also may be affected every year. I see Jean's point, but I think she was a bit heavy-handed about it. For myself, I am hoping to find something less toxic than copper and Bordeaux mixture that will help my tree along until it can cope better.

Good luck to you!
Ellie

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 10:42PM
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greenleaf_organic(8, TX)

This thread is 3 years old but I am curious Violet Sky if you are still out there on this forum if your peach tree is still alive. I am curious if a product called Plant Wash by Soil Mender would work even during the growing season. The reason being that this stuff works great on the stubborn fungus that causes early blight on tomatoes. I am going to give it a try and let y'all know. Come to think of it, I have also had amazing results with a diluted kvass spray for certain challenges, I wonder if that would help too. I suspect so but who knows how much.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 2:21AM
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Michael

Pretty thinly veiled sales pitch greenleaf, take your commercial stuff somewhere else, we aren't here to sell stuff.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 6:43PM
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greenleaf_organic(8, TX)

Michael, you got me wrong unless you can still call it selling even if you don't make anything off it. I do not work in the gardening industry but I do like to share what works for me. If that is breaking the rules of this forum then I hope my last post is removed. I did post a product on another thread recently that I felt did not work but I did not mention it by brand name. I still stand by my statement that "x" works great for early blight. Around here where I live the perfect organic program is NOT enough for early blight on tomatoes an it is a relief to find something that gives you a chance. I do want to try homemade diluted kvass to see if it works and if so great because it would be a heck of a lot cheaper than "x".

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 9:12AM
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greenleaf_organic(8, TX)

Michael, I have given your comment some more thought and I get your point. I guess it would be annoying if this forum turned into an infomercial so I will keep brand names to myself going forward.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 9:24AM
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greyim(8-9)

On small trees can be fixed... link below

Here is a link that might be useful: Fixing Leaf curl in season

    Bookmark   September 26, 2013 at 8:06PM
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Diana22

I cured the leaf curl on my young peach tree with 2 sprays of homemade colloidal silver, also put around 2 liters down to the roots (i dug a hole to get closer). new leaf growth was curl free and next season no signs of leaf curl,fruit was beautiful. had to rehome the tree to a friend and no signs of leaf curl over the last years.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2014 at 7:18PM
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