The Q&A Archives: Leaf Curl on Lilacs

Question: My lilacs have leaf curl and are turning brown. What should I do for them, also my cherry tree has leaf curl also.

Answer: Brown rot fungus can be a problem on cherry trees. Upon inspection of your tree, you'll probably find other signs, as well. The fungal spores survive on diseased twigs and old, rotten fruits and the spores spread by air currents, rain splash and insects. There's a gummy ooze associated with the infection, and affected twigs and leaves shrivel and die early in the season. To help control this disease, prune and destroy affected twigs and branches. This pruning will also help open the plant up to good air circulation throughout the canopy. Avoid wetting blossoms, foliage and fruit. Be sure to rake and destroy all fallen fruit and leaves at the end of the season. You can apply a Bordeaux mixture (or other copper-containing fungicide), at budswell to help protect the leaves and blossoms from infection. Apply again after the leaves appear. With preventative sprays and good garden sanitation you should be able to keep brown rot under control.

Lilac leaf curl can be caused by a number of fungal diseases. At this point I would recommend raking to remove the infected leaves and waiting until next spring to apply a preventative fungicide (according to label directions).

Best wishes with your landscape!

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