K-State Horticulture Expert Offers Tips for Addressing Peach Leaf Curl

By Trish Svoboda

A horticulture expert from Kansas State University says that prevention stands as the most effective solution for addressing peach leaf curl, a fungal disease that afflicted peach, nectarine, and apricot trees last year.

Cynthia Domenghini explained that the fungus manifests in swollen and curled leaves with reddish or purplish discoloration, prompting premature leaf and fruit shedding.

Domenghini cautioned that unless trees receive treatment in early spring, the fungus is likely to return if they were affected the previous year. She noted that the fungus persists through the winter on the tree bark.

Spring rains can carry the spores of peach leaf curl to developing buds and leaf tissue, enabling the spread of infection. Therefore, Domenghini stressed the importance of applying fungicide before bud swelling occurs.

She said that applying fungicide after leaf symptoms appear is futile. She advised applying fungicide during spring dormancy or in the fall after most leaves have dropped, urging adherence to pesticide label instructions.

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