Peach leaf curl

Class: Fungi

Common Name

Peach leaf curl

Scientific name

Taphrina deformans

Potential Hosts

Peach, plum, nectarine, and almond

Who am I?

Peach leaf curl is caused by the fungus Taphrina deformans and is a common fungal disease that infects several plant species. Though, peaches are the most susceptible crop and hence the name.

The pathogen can be found on the host’s branches, buds, and bark. It can survive harsh weather conditions, withstanding summer's high temperatures and prolonged dryness.

At the end of a dormancy period, the fungus activity extends due to significant wetting events. As the weather changes and the flower buds swell, water splashes from irrigation or rain and causes fungus spores to reach the buds. That’s where the infection takes place, despite the fact that no green tissue is present.

After the pathogen enters the host, it stimulates cells, which leads to abnormal growth. Visual symptoms first appear as reddish areas on newly emerged leaves. With time, swelling and leaf distortion cause fungus spores to break outside, release into the air, and infect new tissues.

As the disease progresses, leaves may fall and be replaced by a new set of healthier leaves if a period of low humidity is present during their development. The loss of leaves during springtime results in decreased fruit production, defoliation, and could expose branches to sunburn.

Control measures

Control of peach leaf curl disease revolves around prevention through the use of chemical treatments. Broadly speaking, it is fairly common to perform two spraying treatments that are timed with respect to the physiological phase of growth. It is advised that the first treatment is implemented before buds swell, and the second treatment is implemented closer to the bud swelling process.

Conventional (chemical)

The following are generic names for fungicides known to help manage peach leaf curl: Dithianon, captan, copper based fungicide, and bordo mix.

Caution and careful notice should be taken when using any plant protection products (insecticides, fungicides and Herbicides). It is the grower’s sole responsibility to keep track after the legal uses and permissions with respect to the laws in their country and destination markets. Always read the Instructions written on the label and in any case of contradiction work with accordance to the product label. Keep in mind that information written on the label usually apply only to local markets. Pests control products intended for organic farming are generally considered to be less effective in comparison to conventional product. And so one must keep in mind that when dealing with organic, biologic and, to some extent, small number of conventional chemical products, a complete eradication of a pest or a disease will often require several iterations of a specific treatment or combination of treatments.

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