We love our mild weather here on the Central Coast. You know what else loves our weather? Taphrina deformans, the fungus we commonly call peach leaf curl. Peach leaf curl affects not only peaches but nectarines as well, causing deformed leaves with red, bumpy patches. Not only is it unsightly, but if severe it can reduce fruit production and tree vigor.
Every year clients request help for their trees during late spring to summer, when the disease is most prevalent. The problem is, the solution to the problem should have happened several months back. The time for treating peach leaf curl is in winter, while the tree is dormant. Once the tree has started to bloom, it’s too late.
If you have ornamental or fruiting peaches or nectarines, you may want to take precautionary steps to prevent peach leaf curl even if it’s ever affected your trees. The fungus is very prevalent in the area and infection is often inevitable.
Fortunately the solution is simple and only involved spraying your trees twice each winter. Once in November or December after the leaves have fallen and then again in February, right before the buds swell (the date this happens varies slightly each year due to weather). The product you will use to spray the trees is a product called LiquiCop (a copper fungicide garden spray). It will also work for other fungal issues like black spot and powdery mildew so it’s worth purchasing the concentrate to have on hand. Just follow the instructions on the label for peach leaf curl and you will give your trees the best protection we have against this disease. Treatment for the trees is not 100% but it normally knocks the fungus back enough so as not to affect the growth or fruiting of your tree.