Avoiding leaf curl in your peach and nectarine trees is all in the timing. It’s a fungal disease that can have terrible consequences, particularly for young trees.

In case you haven’t seen it before, this is what a bad case looks like.

Leaf curl fungal disease on a peach tree
Leaf curl fungal disease on a peach tree

Because the new growth is so badly affected, it stops the tree from growing properly. Really severe infections can even affect the fruit.

Here’s a nectarine showing typical infection symptoms on its skin. Once the fruit is affected, it may stop growing, or can even fall off.

A Goldmine nectarine infected with Leaf curl disease
A Goldmine nectarine infected with Leaf curl disease

The key to avoiding leaf curl is in the timing

When you’re still mid-way through winter, it always seems too early to start thinking about spring.

And yet … the buds on our Anzac peach trees are definitely starting to swell. Have you looked at your peach trees recently?

Anzacs are a great ‘indicator’ variety for us because they’re one of the earliest varieties to show signs of movement in spring. The indicator variety in your garden will be the tree that flowers earliest. If you have an almond tree, this may be your indicator, as they’re also very early.

Rather than having to monitor the whole orchard, we just go and look at the Anzacs and almonds to see what’s happening. If you want to avoid leaf curl, we strongly recommend you do the same!

Almond flowers at sunset
Almond flowers at sunset

Why should you be watching out for budswell?

Budswell is the trigger for putting on the simple sprays that can help to prevent Leaf curl.

But do you know what you’re actually looking for? Deciding the right time to spray can be very confusing. In fact, it’s one of the things that people most often get wrong.

This is what early budswell on a peach tree looks like.

Early budswell on an Anzac peach tree
Early budswell on an Anzac peach tree

You’ll find more detail about how to identify it in this blog. You’ll also learn how and when to spray in this short course, which is one of our most comprehensive short online courses. It also includes guidance on how to manage and prevent about a dozen of the most common diseases of fruit trees.

The good news is, once you’ve figured out how to time your sprays, you’ll find that Leaf curl is (mostly) preventable.

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