Master Gardeners: Peach Leaf Curl

Does your peach or nectarine trees look like someone threw hot oil on it and the leaves blistered? You have peach leaf curl.

Peach leaf curl is a fungal disease that affects only peach and nectarine trees. Distorted, reddened foliage in the spring is a distinctive symptom. If the infection continues untreated for several years, the tree will decline. Treatment in spring, after symptoms appear, won’t be effective.

Treat trees with a copper fungicide. See your garden center for recommendations.

Treat just after leaves have fallen in late November or December.

■ A second application in late winter, especially during wet winters.
■ Don’t apply fungicides during the growing season.
■ A rule of thumb is to apply fungicides at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day.
Look for symptoms in spring.
■ New leaves redden and pucker.
■ A second set of normal laves will replace fallen leaves, and the tree will appear normal.
Choose effective fungicides.
■ The safest effective products available for backyard trees are copper soap (copper octanoate) or the fixed copper fungicide (copper ammonium).
■ Apply these with a horticultural oil.

Yes, my tree has peach leaf curl. I only sprayed once in the winter. When we have wet winters 2 to 3 sprays are recommended.

For more information on peach leaf curl, visit ipm.ucdavis.edu ■