The Q&A Archives: Peach Leaf Curl

Question: I read in the database that the curled, red bumpy leaves on my Peach Tree are from "Peach Leaf Curl". (My fault, I forgot to spray the tree last fall.) However, what wasn't mentioned was whether it was safe to eat the fruit. Can we still eat the fruit from this tree, or should I discard it this year (with the infected leaves), spray in the fall, and then try again next year?

Answer: Peach leaf curl is a fungal disease that attacks the leaves as they are unfurling. The fungus first causes reddening and cupping of the leaves. The second stage is the development of a dusty white coating of spores. If these spores travel to the fruit, the fruit may show a reddish growth on the surface. The fruit is safe to eat, even if the surface is infected. If possible, pick the leaves off prior to the development of the spores so the fruit won't become infected. You won't want to completely denude your tree - it takes 40 healthy leaves for each developing fruit to provide the tree with the energy to ripen the fruit and maintain overall health. Discard all leaves and fallen fruit at the end of the season.

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