Saturday, 4 May 2013

One Poorly Peach..

We've noticed that the leaves on the peach tree are starting to discolour and curl up, some with an almost 'puckered' appearance.

These are the classic signs of Peach Leaf Curl, a very common fungal disease, affecting nearly all peach and nectarine cultivars. It is caused by damp weather conditions in the spring, so this year is particularly bad for the peach and nectarine family.

We were looking forward to a reasonable crop of peaches of this little tree but this disease may already have  spread to the fruit.

The solution? There is no consensus as to whether removing the affected leaves stops the spread of the disease. These leaves will fall prematurely in any case. The disease is easier to prevent than to treat. One way to help prevent the disease is to erect a shelter or lean-to over the peach during the months of January and February. Not only will this stop the tree getting too wet in the case of persistent rainfall, it will also help to reduce frost damage.

To prevent the spores over wintering, the tree needs to be treated with a fungicide. The safest and most effective of these is one based on copper, such as Vitax Bordeaux Mixture. These may be labelled as 'Metallic Copper Equivalent or MCE. The higher the MCE content, the more effective it will be.

The treatment needs to be applied in the autumn and again, twice, two weeks apart, in late January and early February.
So unfortunately there is little we can do to help our peach, until the autumn. However we have mulched the base of the tree with compost to give it the best chance of surviving. And we can only hope...


Susan said...

If Bordeaux mix is the safest treatment then I dread to think what the alternatives are like!! Bordeaux mix is highly toxic to mammals and other vertebrates and quite frankly I don't know how it has managed to stay off the banned list for so long (well, I do know, but it's a disgrace, and something that regularly brings justifiable ridicule on to the organic movement).

Jean said...

Oh dear, looks like your tree is very poorly.