Peach leaf curl, how to treat it?

Peach leaf curl symptoms are waffled reddish leaves appearing on the peach tree.

Preventive care is required to avoid it.

This fungus (Taphrina deformans) is certainly the most fearful attack that peach trees or apricot trees can face, and will often hinder the tree as it tries to produce a normal peach harvest.

Although it is sometimes possible to control damage thanks to an adequate treatment applied at the right moment, peach leaf curl can nonetheless entirely destroy a harvest.

Here are our treatment guidelines against peach leaf curl:

How to recognize peach leaf curl

This disease mainly infects the different peach varieties, but can also appear on apricot trees and almond trees.

  • Leaves appear waffled and bulging.
  • Leaf edges curl and roll inwards.
  • They take on a yellowish color, turning orange and red before drying brown and falling off.
  • Sprigs are distorted and branches don’t have the same bearing anymore.

When to treat against peach leaf curl

The fungus responsible for peach leaf curl spends the winter in the form of spores lying on the buds and in hollows formed by the sprigs.

  • As soon as the temperature reaches 50°F (10°C), the fungus starts developing and releases large amounts of spores.
  • Like most fungus, it mostly appears in warm weather while the ambient air is sill very moist.

That’s why treatment must be applied before this period, at the end of winter and at the beginning of spring, and best of all in fall, when leaves have fallen off.

  • A 1st spraying of Bordeaux mixture is required as soon as the autumn leaves have fallen.
  • Renew the spraying as early as February if temperatures rise above 50°F (10°C), following doses recommended on the packaging.
  • Afterwards, a third spraying is needed just when the first buds have appeared and burst.

Remember that for peach leaf curl, nothing is better than preventive treatment, it is the only effective way to treat against this fungus.

  • When peach leaf curl has appeared, it is already too late.

How to treat peach leaf curl

In fall

When leaves have fallen: pick leaves up and burn them to avoid having the disease overwinter in your garden.

  • After that, spray with Bordeaux mixture.
  • This step is mandatory to keep leaf curl from appearing in spring.

In spring

Spray once more with Bordeaux mixture.

  • Spray the leaves until they’re running with the mixture, starting in February-March and continuing until May, every fortnight.

What can be done if leaf curl has already appeared?

At most, propagation of the peach leaf curl can be slowed.

  • You must remove infected leaves, cut off the most sickly branches and spray again with Bordeaux mixture.

Regular maintenance of the peach tree is necessary

This regular care aims to reinforce fruit trees and thus increase their fruit bearing.

  • It is thus important, every winter, to perform a fruit-inducing pruning.
    On a peach tree, though, pruning should not be too severe, or the tree will be weakened.

Provide organic fertilizer in spring and mulch the base of the tree to protect roots from frost spells winter and from heat in summer.

Read on about peach trees

Thumb holding up a peach tree leaf which has edges rolling towards the inside of the leaf, no discoloration yet.


Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Leaf curl on peach tree leaves and Holding up peach leaf curl symptoms by Maja Dumat ☆☆ under © CC BY 2.0