Peach leaf curl is a common disease caused by the fungus Taphrina deformans. Besides peaches, susceptible plants include nectarines and almonds.
The peach leaf curl fungus spends the winter in the bark and buds of its hosts. It enters new buds as they begin to swell and open in the spring, spread by rain and dew. Not surprisingly, wet weather creates a situation ripe for trouble with this disease.
- Pale or pinkish new leaves, depending on tree variety.
- Thick, puckered, curled leaves or portions of leaves.
- Leaf drop.
- Stunted twigs.
- Poor fruit yield.
- Raised, discolored spots with no fuzz on fruit.
- Gradual tree death.
Trees that are showing symptoms of peach leaf curl cannot be treated until the following spring. In the meantime, thin the fruit and keep the tree healthy with adequate water and fertilizer.
Early in the spring, after the tree has been pruned but before the buds begin to swell, spray the tree thoroughly with the appropriate fungicide (organic growers can use copper). Make sure you cover the entire tree on all sides, from the trunk to every small twig. Be prepared to repeat the treatment if it rains. This process will probably need to be repeated in future years.
The best prevention is to purchase fruit tree varieties resistant to peach leaf curl. Still, susceptibility can be reduced with attention to water and fertilizer. A good rule of thumb is to measure a shoot to see how much the tree grew the previous year. If the shoot is a foot long or shorter, fertilize the tree. Do not overdo, however, as excess growth tends to be soft and disease-prone.
Leaf Curl of Peaches and Nectarines
Brief factsheet useful for identifying the disease and understanding its life cycle.
Garden & Orchard Diseases
Brown rot is a serious disease of fruits and almonds caused by fungi Monolinia fructicola and Monolinia laxa. The fruits most susceptible to the fungus are:
However, apples and pears are infected with brown rot on occasion.
The fungus grows and multiplies rapidly in wet weather, entering plants through wounds. It survives the winter in twigs and dry, shriveled pieces of fruit called mummies.
- Small, elliptical cankers on twigs, generally oozing.
- Gray, fuzzy masses of spores on branches or flowers.
- Brown, wet spots on blossoms.
- Blossom drop.
- Brown or gray fuzz on fruit.
- Mummified fruit.
Cankered twigs should be pruned out during the summer.
Blossoms can be treated for brown rot starting when the first pink shows in the unopened bud. Treatment should continue through the spring if the weather is wet. Fungicides are typically used, but organic growers can spray with sulfur or copper. Spraying with organic milk also shows promise at this point in time.
Fruit that is visibly affected with brown rot must be destroyed to prevent the spread of the disease. Fungicides can be applied to the unaffected fruit as soon as it begins to ripen.
The first step in preventing brown rot is to remove potential vectors of the disease:
- Destroy wild plums growing near the orchard.
- Water trees at the base so that the leaves do not get wet.
- Control insect pests.
- Pick up all fruit laying on the ground under the trees.
Proper pruning is also an important part of preventing brown rot. If air and light can reach all parts of the canopy, fungal diseases will have a hard time gaining a foothold.
Garden & Orchard Diseases
It’s still not too late to think about putting away some of your produce for the winter! And if you need a little help figuring out just what to do with it, allow us to recommend a classic from the Rodale folks: Stocking Up.
The original edition has seen us through many a kitchen adventure. A partial list of its numerous helpful topics includes the following:
- Choosing produce varieties.
- Freezing vegetables.
- Drying fruit.
- Storing the harvest underground.
- Making pickles and relishes.
- Making jelly.
- Juicing vegetables.
- Making cheese and butter.
- Freezing eggs.
- Making sausage.
- Roasting nuts.
- Harvesting grains by hand.
Included are recipes and step-by-step directions. Tables make it easy to quickly locate the special techniques for harvesting and preserving different kinds of fruits, vegetables, and meats.
Stocking Up is an old favorite that is currently in its third edition. The book has been extensively revised over the years. A few major changes include:
- An expanded section on drying produce.
- An expanded section on making cheese.
- Directions for making fermented milk products such as kefir.
- Tips for making homemade ice cream.
- A chapter on storing fish and other seafood.
- Ideas for storing and using sprouts.
In other words, the third edition has been modified to reflect more recent trends in cooking, not to mention gardening.
Whichever type of eating you prefer, old-fashioned or trendy, Stocking Up is an invaluable resource for country families who want to put away a little of their surplus food for later. Highly recommended!