What to Do About Leaf Curl

leafcurlLeaf curl will be showing up in your stonefruit about now – spring being the time when fungus comes out to play. Here’s my all round approach to managing fungi.

It’s too late to do anything now – the time for copper has been and gone. Tuck the copper away for leaf fall.

What your trees need are beneficial microbes and tonic support right now. Hit them with a power brew of Liquid seaweed + Fish Hydroslate + EM Garden 1 or aerated compost tea. Do this weekly on trees with leaf curl for excellent tonic support.

If your tree has a full on infection, it’ll defoliate. In which case it’ll need to kick into high gear to produce another set of leaves to support the fruits.

That’s a bit of a load, aye – new leaves and new fruits at the same time. Don’t forget, it’s already poured a heap of energy into that first set of leaves. Being under resourced like this adds bit of pressure, which is why the need for tonic support and be sure to thin your fruit when the time is right.

Hanging strips of kelp in the branches will give your peach or plum a liquid feed every time it rains. Kelp beneath the mulch is fab too. Don’t go rich with sheep pellets et all.

Collecting all the dropped funky leaves will help break the cycle – if you’ve got the time and/ or inclination then this is excellent house keeping.  Mulch is an important part of minimising fungal splash back – preferably a woodsy type one. And if you aren’t on the biological spray band wagon, be sure to copper at leaf fall.

kotare honey

The Kotare Honey peaches off our deck are hammered with leaf curl this year – all that rain! Nothing to do about it though but keep smiling and boost them along.

Comments

  1. Tony Winter says

    Wonderful advise & thanks for the Moonlight Organics connection as I am having a battle at present to get the Thames Market concessionaires to accept Bio-Bags composting system as well as the shopping bag option. Now there is a far bigger & more dramatic option for agriculture , market gardening mulching film – what a breakthrough!!!

    • Yes, such good products! High levels of patience required when you’re trying to change a mindset. An easy solution usually takes people forward in leaps and bounds. All the best here
      Kath

  2. For me, the best way to avoid leaf curl is to choose disease resistant varieties. I have not seen leaf curl on my black boy or hiawatha peach trees. Both trees are productive.

    • Yes excellent advice Liz – variety plays a big part here. Different climates suits different varieties so a great way to go is to chat with local gardeners to find ones that work in your hood and when you do grow your own tree from a stone for the ultimate leaf curl resistance!

  3. Hi Kath,

    I have one dwarf peach (planted before last spring) that is riddled with leaf curl. I have other lovely heritage peach, plum and nectarine etc that are newly planted and I hope they don’t end up with leaf curl too. I’m tempted to pull out this one dwarf peach as I feel it is doomed and it might bring the whole team down.

    The place I bought the dwarf peach from says leaf curl doesn’t affect the tree but it sounds like it does. I don’t want all my other new trees to end up less productive. Should I just pull this baby out and cut my losses?

    Tessa

    • Its hard for growers to say whether or not leaf curl will impact in different environments – it may well be sweet for them but alot comes down to your soil, how active beneficial fungi are in your soil and of course rain and spring temps… peaches and especially dwarf ones are always going to have a problem with leaf curl in high rainfall + cool springs except perhaps for for blackboy and the little river peach. Your other trees wont necessarily ‘catch’ it… if they are in good health and well placed they’ll will be fine, its a bit like how some people get the flu and some dont if you know what I mean! I cant make the remove call for you sorry, just follow your heart here – theres no right or wrong.
      To find varieties to suit your garden check in with neighbours or garden clubs or community gardens to find varieties that work in your hood.

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