Peach leaf curl

Gratified as I was to see developing fruitlets on my peach tree, I was less pleased by a reddening and puckering of some of the leaves – peach leaf curl.

Peach leaf curl is a common fungal disease of peaches and related trees

This is a fungal disease (Taphrina deformans) that often strikes at this time of year. In a sense, it has already struck, as (as I understand it) the fungal spores have been resting in cracks in the tree bark over winter awaiting the onset of warmer (and damper) weather. Apparently, you are supposed to spray the tree with a fungicide in late winter, so it is too late to do much about it now.

Apart, that is, from removing all the affected leaves. This I have done – fortunately not too arduous, as it is still a very young tree and all parts are within easy reach. I have also read that you are supposed to remove the fruits as well – it helps the tree regenerate – but I cannot bring myself to do this. As it happens, only a proportion of the leaves were affected. The remainder have reached full length and appear healthy, so are unlikely to succumb at this stage. Any new leaves should also grow normally.

So I am prepared to take a chance on it (the plant is scarcely laden with fruit anyway). The tree is in my sheltered courtyard, and  I’ll be able to keep my eye on it as I’m constantly out here now the weather has warmed up.

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