Odd growth on leaves
Attached are photos of an Elberta Semi Dwarf Peach Tree that I planted a year or so ago. Just weeks ago it was covered in beautiful, pink blossoms. Then came nice, dark green leaves. The tree looked very healthy. Now the leaves on part of the tree are turning a yellowish-green, and developing large, lumpy-looking growths.
Is it some type of disease?
What can I do to help this tree?
Blair County Pennsylvania
Your peach tree is most likely infected with Peach Leaf Curl, a fungal disease caused by (Taphrina deformans). tThis is an infrequent but occasionally severe disease of peach and nectarine. The following information on the disease is from the eXtension.org/horticulture site.
The pathogen infects peach buds from bud swell to bud opening under wet conditions and air temperatures in the 50° to 70° Fahrenheit range. Infections can take place in the spring from bud swell to bud opening. By the time symptoms are seen, the treatment window has passed. If your trees have this disease, you need to treat in the fall or early spring before budbreak. Fungicides labeled for peach leaf curl are Ferbam, Bordeaux mixture, and chlorothalonil. For more information, read the following University of California factsheet: Peach Leaf Curl ( http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7426.html .) For a schedule of sprays necessary for the control of both insects and diseases on home fruit, refer to "Disease and Insect Control Programs for Homegrown Fruit in Kentucky Including Organic Alternatives" (www.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/id/id21/id21.pdf). When using pesticides, be sure to read and follow all label instructions and precautions.
Thanks for the information.
I'm still slightly confused as to whether or not this fungal disease will kill the tree.
Sorry for your confusion. The fungicides available will not do anything for the fungus currently in these leaves. I do believe that your tree will survive the current season, and then you can apply the fungicide in the fall. The fungicide needs to be applied when the tree is dormant.
This year the effected leaves will stress your plant because they will not be producing as much energy as they would have if not infected. There is no need to remove them as they will still provide some benefit to the plant. If the tree is producing fruit you should reduce the number of peaches on the tree before they enlarge. The tree can use the energy it might have spent growing lots of fruit to build up its reserves for next year.
If you apply the fungicide as directed at the times suggested your tree should be healthy next spring/summer. You may want to do some further reading on peach leaf curl to determine if fungicides should be applied every year.
I hope this helps