Peach pest & dis­ease con­trol

Leaf curl and brown rot are the two main dis­eases that af­fect peaches and nec­tarines. Once these ap­pear they are very hard to con­tain, so pre­ven­tion is the aim.

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Growing -

Leaf curl

This is very com­mon. As the name sug­gests, it curls or de­forms the leaves so they look blis­tered and red­dish in colour.

A sin­gle ap­pli­ca­tion of cop­per spray can pre­vent leaf curl af­fect­ing fruit, if ap­plied at the right time, which is at the first signs of leaf bud de­vel­op­ment.

Good cov­er­age is needed. Trees should be cov­ered un­til drip­ping wet as fun­gal dis­eases can be har­boured in crevices in the bark. Red leaf in­fec­tions should be re­moved be­fore they reach the ‘white bloom’ stage.

As trees en­ter dor­mancy and drop their leaves, ap­ply a strong cop­per oxy­chlo­ride spray. This also cov­ers bac­te­rial blast and leaf spot.

Re­peat in win­ter to clean up any re­main­ing spores.

Just be­fore bud burst in late win­terearly spring, ap­ply again.

If this sounds like a bit much trou­ble, don’t worry. We are lucky to get two of these sprays done, and we still har­vest good fruit.

Brown rot

This is the bane of home or­chardists, es­pe­cially in ar­eas of high hu­mid­ity and rain­fall. It can be very dam­ag­ing, caus­ing com­plete col­lapse of fruit, tip die-back and brown leaves on trees. Sul­phur can be used (ex­cept on apri­cots) but it is un­likely to be enough in a bad year.

Fungi­cides can be used dur­ing flow­er­ing and within 21 days of har­vest. We pre­fer not to use them, but we are lucky to be in a rel­a­tively dry cli­mate.

Sil­ver leaf

This live wood fun­gal dis­ease turns leaves sil­ver and can be dev­as­tat­ing. In­fected branches die back and can be even­tu­ally killed.

Re­move any in­fected branches as this dis­ease can spread quickly. Large prun­ing cuts can be in­oc­u­lated with the ben­e­fi­cial fun­gus Tri­cho­derma viride. Clean prun­ing equip­ment be­tween trees to avoid spread­ing dis­ease.

Peach leaf curl, ( Taph­rina de­for­mans).

Peach af­fected by brown rot.

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