Peach Leaf Curl

Image of peach leaf curl
Peach leaf curl 

Need to know: 

  • Symptoms include puckered leaves and distorted leaf blades that turn light green fading to pink or red.  
  • Pathogen mostly infects leaves and only moves to fruit in severe cases. 
  • Fungal spore infects peach leaves once a year in the spring.  

Overview

Symptoms of  peach leaf curl include puckered leaves, distorted leaf blades that turn light green fading into pink or red, along with defoliation.

Symptoms of peach leaf curl

The leaves become puckered, distorted leaf blades turn light green fading into pink or red.  Defoliation can be severe if the weather is conducive, and ultimately peach production will be reduced. Eventually the leaves wither and turn brown dropping from the tree. Infected fruit appear to have raised rough bumps or patches that are red in color. The fruit may drop early depending on the severity of the infection. Note this pathogen infects mainly the leaves and would only move to the fruit, when the disease is severe, and management tactics have not been in place. this disease can occur in the single trees or orchards. When affected, fruit can be enlarged, puckered or have scabby lesions.

Signs of peach leaf curl

A grayish powdery coating (spores) can be seen later in the season on infected leaves.

Disease cycle of peach leaf curl 

 Peach leaf curl is caused by the fungus Taphrina deformans.  This pathogen is we plant doctors called monocyclic, meaning these fungal spores infect peach leaves only once a year in the spring. Taphrina deformans survive winter on buds or twigs of the tree.

Type of Sample Needed for Diagnosis and Confirmation

The Iowa State University Plant & Insect Diagnostic Clinic can help you to investigate and confirm if you plant has this disease. Please see our website for current forms, fees, and instructions on collecting and packing samples. Contact information for each states diagnostic laboratory for U.S. residents.  If your sample is from outside of Iowa please do not submit it to the Plant & Insect Diagnostic Clinic without contacting us

Image of peach leaf curl
Peach leaf curl 

Management of peach leaf curl 

Peach leaf curl can be controlled with a single fungicide spray, but timing is critical. Fungicide application is most effective when the tree is dormant, in the fall after leaves fall or in the spring before buds swell. Some of the fungicides registered for control of leaf curl include liquid lime-sulfur, chlorothalonil, and copper products.  Recommended fungicides for commercial production can be found at the most up to date Midwest Fruit Pest Management Guide.

Fungicide applications may be avoided by following good Integrated Pest Management practices like those listed in this encyclopedia article. Often, the only preventative application is effective to manage plant diseases. If the problem requires a fungicide, state law requires the user to read and follow all labels accordingly. For more information, read Proper fungicide use.

Authors: 

Lina Rodriguez Salamanca Extension Plant Pathologist and Diagnostician

Dr. Lina Rodriguez-Salamanca is a diagnostician and extension plant pathologist with the Iowa State University Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic  (clinic.ipm.iastate.edu), a member of the National Plant Diagnostic Network (NPDN, ...

Last Reviewed: 
April, 2022
Category: 

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