Thursday, May 8

It didn't work!

Last year we failed to harvest any nectarines or peaches in spite of both trees having flowered. Both trees succumbed to peach leaf curl which is a fungal problem.

This year we decided to take precautions. On researching it seemed that we had two options, to either cover the trees from November until May or spray with Bordeaux Mix. Covering a free standing, pot-grown tree isn't an easy option and means that natural pollination is less likely so although we don't like spraying we decided that the Bordeaux Mix treatment was the only option.
Well I am disappointed to say that this hasn't worked as both the peach and nectarine trees are affected as badly as they were last year - if anything the nectarine is worse.
After all the blossom on the nectarine and my diligent attempts at hand pollination I was hopeful of at least one fruit but it has turned out to be a forlorn hope!

Advice is that stripping off affected leaves can cut down chances of reinfection next year - well I did this last year and it seems to have had little effect. It looks as though some sort of covering will be needed next year.

Peach leaf curl can affect apricots but fortunately so far it hasn't and one or two (literally) fruits are continuing to swell
One or two will be just fine but we really need to sort something out for the peach and nectarine. The peach fruited in its first year and the fruits were delicious. We had such hope for it and now a repeat performance seems unlikely.

32 comments:

  1. That's such a shame. I've kept my little peach tree in the greenhouse and it looks ok so far, my tree is only very small though so it doesn't take up much space.

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    1. That's the problem ours are too big for that even in our greenhouse, Jo

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  2. I think you are a little mad to grow peaches and nectarines in Wakefield Sue. I feel I can say this because I am equally stupid myself. I thought my nectarine would pollinate this warm Spring, but no!
    On my windy site I do not have any problem with leaf curl and in the past elsewhere I have removed infected leaves with success in the previous year. Clearly you have too much infection for this to work without denuding your plant
    I don't understand the covering option, what with and why, what's the theory? I can understand if they are permanently under well ventilated glass they won't succomb to the leaf curl fungus.

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    1. Only a little mad, Roger as they are varieties bred for cooler conditions and we did have peaches the first year, The theory is that keeping the trees drier helps prevent the fungus from developing. You use plastic sheet and have to leave the ends of the cover open for ventilation. I'm not sure it would work though now we have the fungus present, As you say if I take off the affected leaves there will be nothing left!

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  3. Peach curl leaf is a real nuissance. We had peach trees for several years. The trees grew tall and gave us many delicious peaches. After some years the leaves got the disease and what we tried no success. At last we took the saw and have removed the trees, such a pity.

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    1. I hope we don't end up losing ours Janneke

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  4. The annoying thing is that there is almost certainly a remedy available, but only to commercial growers and not amateurs. I am not convinced by Bordeaux Mixture. It used to be rcommended for blight, but it is useless for that too.

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    1. Lots of amateur products were taken off the market when new conditions made it uneconomical to test them in the way they had too. We used to be able to buy something to dip brassica roots in before transplanting that warded of club root but it is no longer available. It's only viable to have agricultural stuff registered as they sell more of it,

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  5. Sue, I have no grown peach tree, is too cold here for them but I asked an advice for you, here it is: "Peach leaf curl is really causing by fungi. And to fight and to prevent it is necessary to spray peaches by copper sulfate several times. A diseased plants recommend to prune in autumn and spray immediately after pruning".
    (Bordeaux mixture is copper sulfate + lime)

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    1. We did spray Nadezda. I;m surorised at the suggestion to prune in autumn as thus us not recommended practice for the peach family of trees. Thanks for asking for us though. Maybe we need to spray more times than we did, We can try spraying in autumn which we didn't do.

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  6. Oh Sue that's such a shame, I only have a dwarf one which I keep in the greenhouse, saying that though it might have to come out soon.

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    1. It seems after May the problem time has passed, Jo

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  7. http://homeguides.sfgate.com/fruit-tree-spray-peach-leaf-curl-59851.html this might help you Sue

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    1. Thanks Linda,

      I'll read that carefully

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  8. That's really disappointing. I've noticed it on my peach as well, I need to get out there and remove the affected foliage. Can you put your trees in the greenhouse out of the damp until May? I've got some fruitlets on my tree, but I don't know how they'll fare. I can't imagine I'll be cover the tree with plastic - that's not something I want to look at out of my kitchen window for six months of the year!

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    1. They are a bit too big to get in and out of the door CJ

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  9. Reading your post and the comments makes me a bit sad, as I also own a peach tree. I got it few weeks ago, planted and nothing is happening! It doesn't look good. It would be nice to have own fruit, but it doesn't seem to be that easy...

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    1. We know peaches and nectarines would be a challenge Aga even without the dreaded peach leaf curl.

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  10. That's such a shame, Sue - looks like it would have been such a beautiful tree without the fungus. The leaves are a beautiful colour. I hope you manage to sort it out, I can't offer any help as I've never grown nectarines or peaches.

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    1. The pink colour is provided by the disease, Caro

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  11. The leaf curl looks a nuisance. I've never seen it before. It often seems that once a plant has been affected by something it seems to want to come back year after year, not matter what. Hope you find a cure.

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    1. Wet weather doesn't help Kelli and I guess the fungal spore lurk on the tree ready to spring into action again each year.

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  12. It's a new lesson for me. Thank for sharing!

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    1. I wish it wasn't a lesson we had to learn Endah

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  13. I still have no apricots but after reading this I will look closely at the leaves next time I'm down the allotment. Should an apricot have any special treatment?? as of yet I have never had fruit off it.

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    1. We don't do anything special to ours other than top dress the pot with fresh compost and feed it. Is yours in a pot?

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  14. What a blooming shame! Here's hoping you get the two fruits. My apricot trees have no fruits setting at all but my tiny peach seems to have quite a few.xxx

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    1. I hope you manage a crop of peaches, Snowbird now we need to try again next year

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  15. Such a shame Sue, how disappointing. Your experiences have put me right off trying peach or nectarine trees, sounds like a recipe for heartache rather than a chin sticky with peach juice.

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    1. We've had one sticky chin experience, Janet - the first year when we anticipated that things could only get better - the opposite. Maybe we are the only ones in the area daft enough to try growing them and the fungus makes a beeline/

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  16. I am confronted with the same problem and have used bouillie bordelaise without any success. My trees are dwarf peach trees planted spring 2013; The disease started right after I planted them; At the Garden centre they advised me to remove every affected leaf; this way the trees would produce new, unaffected leaves, which they did. I had a "bumper crop" of four peaches on each tree the first summer.
    Last autumn I sprayed with bouillie bordelaise when the leaves were falling off and then again just before the new leaves appreared this spring. This method did not work as the leaf curl came back. So I am busy removing the affected leaves for the moment. Again I have the promise of about 5 peaches on each tree.
    I read an article on the French net about a lady who encountered the same problem. Treatment didn't work, so in the end she dug up her small peach tree and planted it in a container which she placed in a hot area, on a south facing wall. Her tree was disease free the next season.
    So this might mean that peaches must be planted in an area with lots of sunshine and heat to thrive. My two trees are planted in the sun, but do get some shade during the day, due to other trees nearby.

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    1. Maybe the sunny conditions kept it drier. We are considering some severe pruning and moving the trees into the greenhouse. Our varieties are bred for our climate so don;t need the heat - I think it is just too wet and the fungus loves that.

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