The Q&A Archives: Peach Curl issue.. is it contagious to non peach trees

Question: I have read your info on peach curl, I noticed unfortunately my new dwarf peach has started peach curl ( apprx.3 leaves), and understand now it is too late to do anything and have to wait until next year etc.

I have 4 total dwarf fruit trees, peach, blood orange, mandarin and lime ( all somewhat new (purchased/gifted to me within 1-2 months) except the blood orange which I got last year.
They are planted in the ground in VERY Large containers (3/4 deep)in full sun, approx. 4-6 feet apart.

The question is.. the peach curl on the one tree is it contagious to my other dwarf trees ?

My other LARGE non-dwarf Peach tree (approx. 10 years old- this tree had wonderful fruit and no curl last year- Had curl 2 years ago) is on the other side of the yard. The leaves are BROWN AND MAJOR CURL , this tree is right next to a 15 year old Apple tree (non dwarf also) also wonderful fruit last year.

Do I have to worry about the APPLE tree as some of the branches do touch ?

Answer: First, the good news. Peach leaf curl will not affect your apple, orange, mandarin or lime trees, but will affect peach and nectarine trees.

Peach leaf curl is caused by the fungus Taphrina deformans. The fungus survives the winter as spores (conidia) on bark and buds. Infection occurs very early in the growing season. During cool, wet spring weather the conidia infect new leaves as they emerge from the buds. Host plant tissues are susceptible for only a short period. As the tissues mature they become resistant. The fungus produces another type of spore (ascospore) on the upper surface of the diseased leaves. During wet weather, ascospores produce additional conidia by budding. These conidia are carried to other parts of the tree by rain and wind, where they will overwinter until the next spring. Environment can limit leaf curl infection. This partially explains why the disease does not occur every year. Leaf curl is worse when the weather is cool and wet. Low temperatures are thought to retard maturation of leaf tissue, thus prolonging the time infection may occur. The fungus can penetrate young peach leaves readily at temperatures between 50 and 70 degrees F, but only weakly below 45 degrees F. Rain is necessary for infection.

Leaf curl can be controlled with one well-timed fungicide application, either in the autumn after 90% of the leaves have fallen, or in the spring before bud swell. All cultivars are susceptible to leaf curl to some degree, although Redhaven and cultivars derived from Redhaven are more resistant to leaf curl than Redskin and cultivars derived from Redskin. If leaf curl is severe, it is important to maintain tree vigor by thinning more fruit than normal, reducing drought stress with irrigation, and applying extra nitrogen fertilizer.

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