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Leaf curl on peach tree

We have an awesome golden queen peach tree with leaf curl. We sprayed it with copper last year and managed to get a tree of fruit but not in abundance like the previous fruiting season. We have been told that you should wait until half the leaves fall from the tree and then spray again with copper. Another option we have been told is to insert copper nails into the base of the trunk!


The lack of fruit on your golden queen is likely to have more to do with the weather conditions at the time of flowering and pollination than leaf curl. If spring was very wet, then pollination will have been poor, or late frosts will affect fruit set. Annual feeding with a general garden fertiliser is beneficial to promote good flowering and fruiting.

Leaf curl is a common disease of peaches and nectarines. Your tree will need regular spraying with Copper Oxychloride if you are to keep the disease at bay. Spray soon after pruning in winter, just before the tree comes into leaf in spring and again 10-14 days later. The disease overwinters in buds and is common in cool wet weather in spring. Rake up fallen leaves and burn or put into the rubbish.

Copper Oxychloride is a protectant spray, Bravo or Greenguard can be used if the infestation is particularly heavy.

There are peach varieties that are resistant to leaf curl; your local garden centre can tell you which ones are best for your area.

I have heard of copper nails being inserted into the trunk, but as far as I know, this has not been scientifically proven to be an effective method of controlling leaf curl.

You may find with a favourable spring you will have a bumper crop next season.

UnitecAdvice by Dr Dan Blanchon from Unitec's Diploma in Sustainable Horticulture and Bachelor of Resource Management.

Reproduced with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous website of  TVNZ News

The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH

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Last updated: June 27, 2005