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[personal profile] miss_s_b
Because of the weather we have had in the UK this year, my little nectarine tree has had a very severe leaf curl infection. I figure I'm probably not the only person that this has happened to, so I thought I would share the results of my fairly extensive research on the matter.

There are a lot of websites detailing what leaf curl is, but few giving detailed instructions on what to do about it. The best one I found which tells you why the infection occurs and why various treatments work is this one, but it is very US specific - for instance, it tells you that you can't buy Bordeaux mixture in the shops; in the UK you can, it's made by Vitax and should cost you about £3. Also, if you know a friendly science teacher or chemist, you might be able to get hold of some copper sulphate to make up a solution yourself; the important thing for controlling leaf curl is a solution containing copper ions, which will kill the fungus.

One reason for getting Bordeaux mixture rather than just making up copper sulphate solution, though, is that Bordeaux mixture is also useful for other plant problems - for example powdery mildew on apple trees and potato blight - and I doubt any of us here are single crop growers.

This forum has a useful timetable for application of the medicine and other actions you can take to help your tree along, which I am going to quote in full:
1. Don't remove the leaves, TOTAL WASTE OF TIME, and it doesn't help the tree at all if you do it. Use your time to do other things instead like the ones that follow.

2. Come early summer when it is getting hot, and no more rains, apply loads of fertilizers, especially high in Nitrogen. And supplement with Epsom salts. Supply adequate irrigation. The idea here is to help your tree recover vigorously to replace the infected leaves which will fall off. The biggest mistake of homegrowers is not to fertilize their trees when they have PLC infections. The new vigorous leaves will not be infected in the drier months, and it will help your tree prepare much better for next year.

3. Let the infected leaves fall, but promptly remove all the leaves that fell down at most weekly, and cart them off into the streets for yard waste pick up by the city to be composted properly where those pathogens will surely die.

4. Around the fall season, always remove the fallen leaves before they decay.

5. Apply your first batch of PLC fungicide around thanksgiving. Spray also the fences and the soil and nearby trees where possible splashes from the rain could go into your trees.

6. Around Christmas day, be sure to remove all the leaves hanging on the trees if you still see some of them. remove also the mummified fruit trees. Then spray with the strongest fungicide that you have, like lime sulfur.

7. Around super bowl time after the holidays, when the buds are starting to swell, apply the last batch of PLC fungicide.

8. If you happen to have brown rot and twig blight, it might be good to spray diluted concentrations of copper on your blooms when it is rainy during the bloom time.
I hope this helps if anyone else's tree has been suffering like mine has.


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