Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Friday, 31 May 2013

New Tree, New Disease: Peach Leaf Curl

I've taken the plunge recently and treated myself to a dwarf nectarine tree. It arrived nicely wrapped and in bloom earlier this month and is currently sitting just outside the patio doors awaiting its new home.*

Thus the tree gets a daily inspection when I step outside into the back garden. Yesterday I spotted some of the leaves have taken on a distorted, blistered appearance with some areas showing a pinky, reddish hue. My initial fears have been confirmed via the internet: it's peach leaf curl :(

Having read the above link re the biology of this fungal disease, it looks like the tree arrived with the infection in place. The cold spring and sometimes damp weather has helped the fungus show its hand. As the tree is in its first year, I'm not intending on letting it fruit, so at least I won't suffer a reduction in the crop.

I've picked off and destroyed the leaves before the whitish fungal spores develop. With a bit of luck, the warmer weather forecast  for next week means further spread will be thwarted (it doesn't like temperatures above 16 oC). According to Wikipedia, I need to keep the tree well-watered and with a good supply of nitrogen over the summer to minimize stress.

I was going to plant the tree out in a large pot in the centre of the patio. I'm now reconsidering that decision, as I'd like to build a shelter for it to overwinter under, so I don't need to spray with a copper-based fungicide in the autumn. I'm also interested in what the tree's supplier has to say...

Have you had any unexpected arrivals this spring?

* = waiting for me to shift a moribund box out of the designated pot first ;)


  1. I had that on my little peach in a pot last summer. This year it start shooting fine, then the weather wasn't great and it died! (I don't think this was anything to do with peach leaf curl). I lost another one the year before; I'm wondering if they don't much like being in pots, as the one I put in the ground is fine. I've got an apple which suffers really badly from aphids. The other three I have aren't too bad, but this particularly variety (Worcester Pearmain) ends up completely covered with deformed foliage. Think I might spray it with washing-up liquid this year.

  2. My raspberries have this year for the first time gotten raspberry rust. Although the RSH and others say there is no need to spray, I definitely will not use chemical spray, I am going to give them a good fennel-based spray. That is, if it ever stops raining here. As to peach leaf curl, I lost two trees to it, so last year I bought a variety called Benedicte, don't know if you get that in the UK, which is considered quite resistant to the disease, and so far I have had no problems.

  3. CJ - this is the dwarf form, which is OK for a pot. Were yours on dwarf rootstock? If not, that might be why they died. As for aphids on apples - must check the trees on my allotment - they usually get overrun at some point so might need to get squishing!

    Helle - ooh I haven't come across fennel spray before, must look that up :)

  4. Thanks for giving and sharing us this valuable information regarding peach leaf curl..

    1. You're welcome, but I think you know what to do already...


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