Leaf Curl


Leaf curl is a fungal disease (Taphrina deformans) that attacks stone fruit like peaches and nectarines.  It causes ugly puckering and distortion of leaves, often with a pinkish discolouration.  Leaves fall prematurely severely weakening trees and greatly affecting fruit production. Fruit can also be directly infected and drop prematurely.

The fungus survives over winter as dormant spores on tree branches and will reinfect the leaves as soon as new growth begins.  There are no control methods once infected so you need to act early and apply a barrier spray just before bud-swell (when buds begin to get plump but before any colour shows).

Plants Attacked
Stone fruit including peaches, nectarines and apricots. Sometimes seen on almonds.  Curling leaves on citrus is not caused by this fungal disease but it is either a reaction to cold weather or the result of citrus leafminer.

Leaf curl on peach tree

Leaf curl on peach tree

Organic Control Methods for Leaf Curl

  • Spray at bud-swell with copper hydroxide or copper oxychloride and ensure thorough coverage over all branches.
  • Timing is critical to prevent the fungus entering the plant when new leaves are vulnerable.
  • If your tree was severely infected last season, or you’re uncertain about getting the timing right, it doesn’t hurt to first spray in late winter and then again at bud-swell.

Trees which are infected will carry the disease all season and should be given extra care to help them cope with the burden.  Regular applications of eco-seaweed and eco-aminogro will help improve the vigour and health of the tree. Apply as either a foliage spray or water directly into the soil around the tree.