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Peach leaf curl

Taphrina deformans (Berk.) Tul.

The pathogen infects young undeveloped tissue of leaves and fruit. Infection is most severe when cool conditions prevent rapid development of the foliage. Infected leaves curl and blister, leaving them severely deformed (A). Blisters may become discolored, ranging from light green to purplish (B). Severely infected leaves eventually shrivel and fall to the ground. Infected fruit either drop prematurely or remain on the tree and develop blisters or wart-like deformities on their surfaces (C).

Distribution

Tends to be sporadic in managed orchards in eastern North America.

Similar Species

Aphid damage can be confused with peach leaf curl, although aphid damage is not common until later in the season, and evidence of their feeding can be found on the underside of the leaves.

Management

Spores become lodged under bud scales in autumn, overwinter, and then initiate primary infection in the spring. This disease is easily controlled with one well-timed fungicide application either in autumn when 90% of the leaves have fallen or in spring just before bud swell.

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