Peach Leaf Curl

Pest: Peach leaf curl (Taphrina deformans)

Pest Type: Infectious disease, fungi

Major Identifying Features: Distorted, reddened foliage, these areas become thickened and puckered, causing leaves to curl and severely distort, the thickened areas turn yellowish and then grayish white, as velvety spores are produces on the surface by the leaf curl fungus, later leaves may turn yellow and fall off, they are replaced by normal leaves, defoliation in spring can cause sunburn later on in the season

Life Cycle: Symptoms appear about 2 weeks after leaves develop, fungus grows between leaf cells and stimulates them to divide and grow larger than normal, causing swelling and distortion of the leaf, red plant pigments develop in the damaged cells, cells of the fungus produce sac-like asci that produce sexual spores called ascospores, these spores are released into the air, and carried to new tissue

Pest Rating: Moderate

Management Rating: Moderate

Host/Season/Outbreak Information: Host are peaches, ornamental flowering peaches, and nectarines, outbreak is seen in spring, cool and wet weather favour the outbreak of the disease

Damage Information: Peach curl leaf fungus affects the blossoms, fruit, leaves, and shoot of peaches, it can reduce fruit production significantly

Management Options: Prevention by planting resistant peach and nectarine trees, chemical control with fungicides every year after leaves have fallen, physical thinning of fruit towards the end of the season and pruning in fall prior to applying any fungicides can reduce spore numbers overwintering on the tree

Sources:

http://www.ipm.ucanr.edu

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