Peach leaf curl symptoms are waffled reddish leaves appearing on the peach tree.

Preventive care is required to avoid it.

This fungus (Taphrina deformans) is certainly the most fearful attack that peach trees or apricot trees can face, and will often hinder the tree as it tries to produce a normal peach harvest.

Although it is sometimes possible to control damage thanks to an adequate treatment applied at the right moment, peach leaf curl can nonetheless entirely destroy a harvest.

Here are our treatment guidelines against peach leaf curl:

How to recognize peach leaf curl

This disease mainly infects the different peach varieties, but can also appear on apricot trees and almond trees.

Here are the main peach leaf curl symptoms

  • Leaves appear waffled and bulging.
  • Leaf edges curl and roll inwards.
  • They take on a yellowish color, turning orange and red before drying brown and falling off.
  • Sprigs are distorted and branches don’t have the same bearing anymore.

When to treat against peach leaf curl

The fungus responsible for peach leaf curl spends the winter in the form of spores lying on the buds and in hollows formed by the sprigs.

  • As soon as the temperature reaches 50°F (10°C), the fungus starts developing and releases large amounts of spores.
  • Like most fungus, it mostly appears in warm weather while the ambient air is sill very moist.

That’s why treatment must be applied before this period, at the end of winter and at the beginning of spring, and best of all in fall, when leaves have fallen off.

  • A 1st spraying of Bordeaux mixture is required as soon as the autumn leaves have fallen.
  • Renew the spraying as early as February if temperatures rise above 50°F (10°C), following doses recommended on the packaging.
  • Afterwards, a third spraying is needed just when the first buds have appeared and burst.

Remember that for peach leaf curl, nothing is better than preventive treatment, it is the only effective way to treat against this fungus.

  • When peach leaf curl has appeared, it is already too late.

How to treat peach leaf curl

In fall

When leaves have fallen: pick leaves up and burn them to avoid having the disease overwinter in your garden.

  • After that, spray with Bordeaux mixture.
  • This step is mandatory to keep leaf curl from appearing in spring.

In spring

Spray once more with Bordeaux mixture.

  • Spray the leaves until they’re running with the mixture, starting in February-March and continuing until May, every fortnight.

What can be done if leaf curl has already appeared?

At most, propagation of the peach leaf curl can be slowed.

  • You must remove infected leaves, cut off the most sickly branches and spray again with Bordeaux mixture.

Regular maintenance of the peach tree is necessary

This regular care aims to reinforce fruit trees and thus increase their fruit bearing.

  • It is thus important, every winter, to perform a fruit-inducing pruning.
    On a peach tree, though, pruning should not be too severe, or the tree will be weakened.

Provide organic fertilizer in spring and mulch the base of the tree to protect roots from frost spells winter and from heat in summer.

Read on about peach trees

  • How to grow peach trees
  • How to increase fruit tree harvests

Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Leaf curl on peach tree leaves by Maja Dumat ★ under © CC BY 2.0
Holding up peach leaf curl symptoms by Maja Dumat ★ under © CC BY 2.0

Peach (Prunus persica)-Leaf Curl

Cause Taphrina deformans, a fungus. Spores of this fungus overwinter on bark, twigs, and old infected leaves. Infection occurs through bud scales in mid- to late winter just as buds begin to swell. Slow growing shoots and leaves can be infected during cool and wet growing seasons. Maximum susceptibility is between bud break and petal fall. In wet seasons, the fungus continues to cause slight summer infection, particularly west of the Cascade Range. East of the Cascade Range, after the initial spring infection and the shedding of diseased leaves, no further evidence of the disease is visible. Photosynthetic function of infected leaves is reduced, the leaf imports sugars, and the contents of non-structural carbohydrates and enzymes involved in their metabolism are similar to sink leaves. Defoliation from severe infections weakens trees to the point that, if not controlled, they may die in 2 to 3 years.

Wetness from rain (or other factors) for over 12.5 hours is needed for leaf infection but only when the temperature is below 61°F during the wet period. Maximum infection occurs when trees are wet for 2 days or more, a frequent occurrence west of the Cascade Range. Although infected, symptoms may not appear if temperatures rise and remain above 69°F. Fruit are susceptible after petal fall until air temperature remains above 61°F. Rainfall of 0.5 inch and wetness of 24 hours is needed for fruit infection.

Symptoms The first visibly infected leaves are yellow to reddish and somewhat thickened and crisp in texture. As leaves expand they become deformed, puckered, and thicker than normal. The puckered areas are brightly colored with reds and/or purples and may continue to develop a dusty white coating of spores. Infected twigs occasionally are distorted, and a few fruit may show a reddish growth on the surface. Some infected leaves drop; others remain throughout the growing season, gradually becoming dark brown and heavily coated with spores. Ultimately, many infected leaves are shed. Trees die in 2 to 3 years from repeated defoliation.

Cultural control Resistant cultivars offer the best option for backyard growers and can be useful for commercial growers. Cultivars available today are selections from formal and informal breeding programs, chance discoveries by various growers, or propagated from trees planted by pioneers which have survived for decades. Many of these will do better if sprayed with fungicide the first year or two after planting. Trees may still die due to other problems such as shothole and/or bacterial canker. A report from North Carolina in 1981 found Redhaven and trees derived from Redhaven as tolerant but these trees are very susceptible in the PNW. The following peach or nectarine cultivars are offered by a variety of west coast nurseries as curl resistant: Autumn Rose, August Etter, Avalon, Avalon Pride, Charlotte, Early Charlotte, Early Crawford, Frost, Indian Free, Kreibich, Muir, Nanaimo, Oregon Curl Free, and Q-1-8.

Chemical control Two fungicide applications are recommended for western Oregon: at 50% leaf fall (late October), and again at delayed dormant (usually in late February, before floral buds open). A third application may be needed during the dormant season for shothole control depending on materials selected. In Washington, apply three (3) times 3 weeks apart starting in early January. East of the Cascade Range and in low rainfall areas, a delayed dormant application alone should be effective.

  • Bordeaux mixture 12-12-100. Group M1 fungicide. O
  • Bravo Weather Stik at 3 to 4.1 pints/A. Group M5 fungicide. 12-hr reentry.
  • Copper-based fungicides. Fair to good control rating. Wettable powder formulations have worked better than liquid formulations. Group M1 fungicide. O
    • Champ WG at 8 to 16 lb/A. 48-hr reentry.
    • C-O-C-S WDG at 12 to 15.6 lb/A. 48-hr reentry.
    • Copper-Count-N at 8 to 12 quarts/A. Oregon only. 48-hr reentry.
    • Cuprofix Ultra 40 Disperss at 5 to 10 lb/A. 48-hr reentry.
    • Kocide 3000 at 3.5 to 7 lb/A. Use the highest rate in western regions. 48-hr reentry.
    • Monterey Liqui-Cop at 3 to 4 Tbsp/gal water. Ineffective in western Oregon. H
    • Nordox 75 WG at 5 to 13 lb/A. 12-hr reentry.
    • Nu-Cop 50 DF at 8 to 16 lb/A with 1 pint superior-type oil/100 gal water. 48-hr reentry.
    • Previsto at 2 to 4 quarts/A. M1 fungicide. 48-hr reentry. O
  • Echo 720 at 3.1 to 4.1 pints/A. Group M5 fungicide. 12-hr reentry.
  • Ferbam Granuflo at 4.5 lb/A. Do not apply within 21 days of harvest. Group M3 fungicide. 24-hr reentry.
  • Lime Sulfur Ultra (27% lime sulfur) at 2 to 3 gal/100 gal water. 48-hr reentry. O
  • Luna Sensation at 5 to 7.6 fl oz/A. Do not use within 1 day of harvest. Unknown efficacy in the PNW. Group 7 + 11 fungicide. 12-hr reentry.
  • Ortho MAX Garden Disease Control at 3.75 teaspoons/4 gal water. H
  • Rex Lime Sulfur Solution (28%) at 6 to to 10 gal/100 gal water. The lowest rate is effective in northern California but use higher rates in western Pacific Northwest. Efficacy rating is excellent. 48-hr reentry. O
  • Syllit FL at 3 pints/A. Group U12 fungicide. 48-hr reentry.
  • Thiram Granuflo at 3.5 lb/A. Do not apply within 7 days of harvest. Also serves as an animal repellent. 24-hr reentry.
  • Ziram 76 DF at 6 to 10 lb/A. Rated excellent. Group M3 fungicide. 48-hr reentry.

In the Garden

Q: After losing a prized peach tree to curl disease, I recently ordered a ‘Frost’ peach because I heard it is highly resistant to the disease. Are there other peach trees that are also resistant?

A: Peach leaf curl is a fungus disease that causes distorted, swollen and curled leaves and twigs. Infected leaves often drop early, and repeat infections usually kill the tree in two or three years.

Timely sprays in the middle of winter are required to prevent the disease from infecting swelling buds.

Gardening Events

Portland Yard, Garden & Patio Show:

ygpshow.com

“Start Seeds Indoors” class at Seattle Tilth:

Plant Amnesty Master Pruner Series “Pruning Fruit Trees”:

10 a.m. to noon, Sunday, Feb. 14. Ingela Wanerstrand will teach the basics of fruit tree pruning, covering apple, cherry, plum and pear trees. Cost: $20 general public; $15 PlantAmnesty members, $5 horticulture college students and native Spanish speakers. No preregistration necessary. Address: Sand Point Magnuson Park, 6344 N.E. 74th St., Seattle. plantamnesty.org

For many years, ‘Frost’, a flavorful, yellow-fleshed variety, was the only curl-resistant peach available. In the past few years, however, new curl-resistant peaches have come on the market, making for a wider range of peach flavor available for the home gardener.

‘Avalon Pride’ ripens early. Its yellow flesh is delicious eaten fresh, canned or in pies.

‘Mary Jane’, also with yellow flesh and tasty eaten fresh, is known for setting fruit, even in cold springs.

If you prefer a white-fleshed peach, the fruit on ‘Salish Summer’ (previously known as Q-18) is sweet and flavorful, and has attractive flowers.

When it comes to flavor, however, ‘Indian Free’ is considered one of the best-tasting peaches of all-time. The heirloom variety was grown at Monticello by Thomas Jefferson and produces heavy crops of large, aromatic freestone peaches with white flesh marbled with crimson stripes. Unlike all of the peaches listed above, ‘Indian Free’ must have a different variety of peach growing nearby for cross pollination in order to produce fruit.

Be aware that even if a peach is resistant to peach leaf curl, it’s still susceptible to the disease for the first few years after planting. To get your tree off to a healthy start, you’ll need to spray lime sulfur once in late December and twice more at two-week intervals for the first five years. After that, no further sprays to control peach leaf curl should be required.

Q: Do genetic dwarf peach and nectarine trees produce well in the Puget Sound region?

A: Genetic dwarf peach and nectarine trees are the result of years of breeding. They are naturally compact trees that rarely exceed 6 feet tall. Grown in pots or planted in the garden, one tree is capable of producing an impressive amount of fruit in a single year.

Unfortunately, genetic dwarfs are highly susceptible to peach leaf curl. They won’t survive unless they are sprayed in a timely manner, or otherwise protected from the disease. Another problem is that in our mild Puget Sound climate, unless we have an unusually hot summer, there often isn’t enough heat for the fruit to ripen and develop good flavor.

Fortunately, we can take advantage of an old English method called ‘eaves dropping’ to solve both problems.

English gardeners discovered they could prevent peach leaf curl infection by covering the trees with plastic in order to keep the buds dry when infection normally occurs in winter. With this knowledge, they plant and espalier their peach and nectarine trees under the eaves of the sunny south side of their houses. They fasten plastic sheeting to the eaves that covers the trees and keeps them dry in winter.

The trees not only remain curl free, the added warmth and reflected sunlight on a south wall fosters earlier ripening and more flavorful fruit.

Genetic dwarfs are the perfect tree for eaves dropping. They stay small, and they’re easy to espalier. Just don’t forget to open the plastic sheeting during the bloom period to allow free access to pollinating insects. Likewise, open the plastic on hot sunny days to prevent burning the foliage.

Peach Leaf Curl

Introduction

Probably the most irritating thing about seeing the characteristic warty red leaves of peach leaf curl is realizing that it’s already too late to do anything about the disease. The second most irritating thing is realizing that a single fungicide treatment would, in all likelihood, have prevented the outbreak. And to really frustrate growers, the disease often fails to appear for years, even without fungicide treatments, only to suddenly appear in epidemic proportions during a particularly wet, cool spring.

Disease Cycle

The fungus that causes peach leaf curl (Taphrina deformans) survives as spores in microscopic crevices on the tree. Spores from old infections lodge in loose bud scales and other tiny fissures, waiting for the next spring. Then, spores that are washed into buds or onto the first new leaves will cause infections if leaves stay wet and temperatures are between 50º and 70º F. Wet, cool springs keep peach growth slow, so new buds and leaves remain susceptible for a long time, and heavy leaf-curl will develop in untreated peaches. A warm spring, even if it is wet, won’t produce nearly as much disease.

Once the fungus is in the leaf tissue, fungicides won’t effect it. Infected leaves characteristically have reddened warts or curling. Leaves may also appear yellow, orange or purple. Infections of the new twig tissue cause swelling. In rare instances, fruit may be infected, and develop raised, wart-like growths.

As the leaf infections age, they turn gray and appear powdery. The fungus produces spores, which break through the leaf surface, causing the powdery appearance. These spores don’t cause new infections, but rest in protected areas on the peach tree until the next. Infected leaves generally drop in early summer.

Treatment

Leaf curl is relatively easy to prevent, even though the timing of the treatment is a little inconvenient. A fungicide spray applied in the autumn after at least 90% leaf-fall, or in the spring just prior to bud-swell, will generally stop leaf curl. If an orchard has been heavily diseased, making both fungicide applications may be necessary to deal with the large amount of inoculum. The fungicide applications should not be concentrated to more than 2X, to insure that the coverage is thorough. Fungicides need to penetrate the microscopic crevices that are protecting the fungal spores.

The most effective fungicides are chlorothalonil (Bravo) or copper compounds (Kocide, COCS, etc.). Ziram, lime sulfur or Bordeaux are useful but somewhat less effective. Check the label for rates and other use recommendations.

For the growing season when a leaf curl epidemic hits, the only treatment is to minimize stress on the infected trees. After infected leaves drop, peaches will generally produce new leaves. This new growth stresses the tree. In severe cases canker infections develop more easily and trees may fail to develop adequate winter hardiness. Severe leaf curl can ruin one season’s crop, and may set the stage for more long-term problems related to stress. Minimize the stress by supplying some extra fertilizer, particularly nitrogen, irrigating, and removing the fruit load.

Preventing Leaf Curl

SERIES 26 Episode 23

Tino shows how to prevent peach leaf curl

Tino has a long-standing love affair with certain stone fruit trees – peaches, apricots and nectarines. Unfortunately for him, so does a fairly nasty fungus called Peach Leaf Curl.

The main symptom of Peach Leaf Curl is red pimple-like deformations on young leaves which, as they grow, become unsightly. The fungus reduces the tree’s ability to photosynthesise and fruit abundantly. If left untreated, the problem will get worse year after year, but the good news is, it’s a fungal disease that’s easily treated.

The fungal spores take up residence over the winter in the nooks and crannies of the tree’s bark, but mainly they reside in the leaf bud scales. When the tree breaks bud and comes back into the leaf in spring the new growth gets reinfected and the cycle starts over again.

The treatment is simplicity itself. Tino uses a fungicide containing copper hydroxide to treat the tree in late winter. He thoroughly sprays the tree, paying close attention to the fissures and cracks in the bark as well as the leaf bud scales. “For trees that are severely infected, a second application as the tree’s leaves are dropping next autumn will help too,” he says.

Other organic controls for Peach Leaf Curl include:

  • Applying copper oxychloride or lime sulphur sprays as above, or

    Bordeaux mixture .

  • Bagging and binning any affected leaves or fruit.
  • Hygiene is important – clean up any leaf, branch or fruit material that accumulates beneath the tree. Spores can overwinter in these materials, reinfecting the tree in spring.
  • Choose resistant varieties.
  • Growing strong, healthy plants that are well fertilised and watered is the best defence. A healthy plant will be better able to defend itself against pests and diseases.

A combination of these controls can treat this fungal problem with almost 100 percent success, and a happier stone fruit tree means better fruit.

Peach Leaf Curl Treatment And Symptoms

Peach tree leaf curl is one of the most common disease problems affecting nearly all peach and nectarine cultivars. This fungal disease affects all aspects of these fruit trees, from blossoms and fruit to leaves and shoots. Learning about peach leaf curl symptoms is a crucial step in the treatment or control of this disease.

Peach Leaf Curl Symptoms

Signs of peach leaf curl usually appear within two weeks following leaf emergence. Symptoms of peach tree leaf curl include leaf curling and discoloration. Leaf color may be yellow, orange, red or purple. There may also be deformed reddish-colored warts on the leaves. Later leaves may turn gray or powdery looking.

Fruit may also become infected, developing raised wart-like growths. Infected fruits often drop prematurely.

Peach leaf curl can also affect new twigs and shoots. New twig tissue becomes swollen while affected shoots become thick, stunted and die.

Peach Leaf Curl Treatment

While treatment of peach leaf curl is not always effective once symptoms occur, the disease is fairly easy to prevent. Applying a fungicide spray in autumn following leaf fall or just before budding in spring can usually stop peach leaf curl.

While a single treatment in fall is usually sufficient, areas prone to wet weather may require an additional treatment in spring. Infections are greater following rain, as spores are washed into buds.

Fungicides for Peach Leaf Curl

Controlling peach leaf curl with fungicides is the only way to prevent this disease. So what are the most effective fungicides for peach leaf curl? The safest and most effective fungicides available to home gardeners are fixed copper products. These may be listed as metallic copper equivalent (MCE) on product labels. The higher the MCE, the more effective the fungicide will be. Other less effective fungicides include lime sulfur and copper sulfate.

Pear Tree Leaf Curl: Learn About Leaf Curl On Pear Trees

Why do pear tree leaves curl? Pear trees are hardy, long-lived fruit trees that usually produce fruit for many years with minimal care. However, they are sometimes susceptible to diseases, pests and environmental issues that cause leaf curl on pear trees. Read on for possible reasons for curling pear tree leaves, and tips for pear tree leaf curl treatment.

Why Do Pear Tree Leaves Curl?

Below are some of the most common reasons behind the curling of pear tree leaves and what can be done to alleviate the problem:

Pear Curling Leaf Midge

A native of Europe, the pear curling leaf midge has found its way across most of the United States since it first arrived on the East Coast in the 1930s. It is often responsible for curling pear tree leaves in young trees.

This small pests pupate in the soil, and then emerges to lay eggs on new, unfurled leaves. When the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the leaves for a couple of weeks before dropping onto the soil where they wait to start a new generation. Although the pests are small, they can cause serious damage to young trees, evidenced by tightly rolled leaves and red swellings (galls). Eventually, leaves turn black and drop from the tree.

To control the pests, remove rolled leaves and dispose of them properly. Severe infestations can be treated by application of organophosphate insecticides. Damage is generally not significant on mature trees.

Pear Tree Leaf Blight

Often known as fire blight, pear tree leaf blight is a highly destructive bacterial disease. Curling pear tree leaves is only one sign. If your tree has fire blight, it may also display brown or black leaves, blooms with a water-soaked appearance, discolored bark and dead branches.

There is no cure for pear tree leaf blight, but pruning of infected branches may staunch progress of the disease. Certain chemical antibiotic sprays may be effective when applied before development of symptoms.

Aphids

Aphids are tiny, sap-sucking pests that attack primarily young, tender growth. They are often controlled by aiming a strong stream of water directly at the leaves. Otherwise, insecticidal soap spray is a safe, effective solution that can be repeated as needed.

Caterpillars

A variety of enjoy dining on pear tree leaves, often rolling themselves tightly in the protective shelter of the tender leaves. Encourage birds and beneficial insects to visit your garden, as they sometimes eat the pupae and larvae. Look for rolled leaves and other signs of damage and prune as needed. Heavy infestations may require chemical control.

Drought

Wilted or curled pear tree leaves may be a sign that your tree isn’t getting enough water. According to many resources, young trees need about a gallon of water every seven to 10 days during normal conditions. During hot, dry weather, however, your trees may need double that amount.

Established trees rarely require supplemental irrigation, but drought-stressed mature trees benefit from an occasional deep watering.

Features

Mark McMullen asks…

I recently moved into a 1930’s bungalow and have two pear trees fan shaped against the south facing back wall of the bungalow. The fruits of one were a conference type and the other a dessert type. The diameters of the main stem / trunk is about 5 – 6 inches, and has evidently been sharply pruned in the past. Is having a pear tree growing against the back wall likely to damage the house, or affect the fruit?

Bill replies…

I am always worried about trees growing too near a house Mark and what usually happens under very dry conditions is that the roots will take any moisture available to them and this could be from moisture from the mortar of the brick work and foundations of the house and this in time could cause problems for the foundations.

Frank Johnston asks…

Our pear tree is looking very sick. All the bark is covered in a slimy layer of greenish moss. Many of the smaller branches have been taken over and covered by a more vigourous growth of a greyish green parasite. It has a more ‘leafy’ appearance and sprouts feathery shoots in places. This seems to cause the small branches to die off.
The tree is around 50 years old, but we don’t want to loose it. Can I use a chemical spray or brush on treatment? I was wondering about much diluted Jeyes fluid now the the leaves have fallen. Hope you can help.

Quite a number of old Pear trees do suffer from moss and algae growth both on the shoots and branches Frank and this happens quite frequently if your fruit tree is situated in a shady area. You will find that the moss does not do much harm to the pear tree shoots but if you are really worried about the moss I would recommend that you gently wash the moss off with a hose pipe. I am always reluctant to use any disinfectant on fruit trees as this will kill any beneficial insects and I am also slightly worried that it can harm the dormant buds.

Dave Harbon-Downes asks…

I have just transplanted my two year old conference pear tree but all the leaves have died on it. How can I tell if the tree is still alive or have I damaged it beyond repair? I haven’t had any fruit from it yet as it’s still a young tree.

It is coming to that time of year Dave when the leaves on your pear tree should begin to fall and it could be quite well be that the effect of transplanting your pear tree has caused the leaves to fall prematurely. There is nothing you can do at the moment and I would be inclined to wait until next Spring to see if your tree comes into leaf. If it does come into leaf you will need to keep an eye on the watering during the spring/summer months.

Yvonne Callaghan asks…

I have had a pear tree in a tub for 7 years. It was 2 foot high and now it is 6 foot. Last year it produced 3 pears but there have been no pears this year. Would I hurt it if I planted it in my garden and if not when would be the best time of year to replant it please?

Your Pear Tree can be planted in the garden Yvonne and autumn time is the ideal time for transplanting as the soil will still be warm. If possible I would work into the soil some well rotted manure and, it is important that your tree is planted with the graft showing just above soil level and that the tree is planted firmly. Early spring/summer time I would feed your tree with a general balanced base fertiliser such as Fish Blood and Bone Meal. During the winter months you will need to ensure that the tree has not worked loose in the winds.

Margaret Lodge asks…

I bought a conference pear tree in May. At the time it looked like a stick with branches and no leaves. Unfortunately it still looks like a stick with no leaves and now we’re in July. Is this how it’s supposed to look? Will it grow leaves next year or is it dead?

It sounds very much like you have purchased a dead Pear Tree Margaret and what I would suggest you do is to go back to the Garden Centre/Nursery where it was purchased – explain the situation to them and hopefully they will replace the tree.

Barry Price asks…

One of my pear trees (a honey pear) has leaves covered in red spots. Leaves curling. Fruit seems to be setting ok. Mineral deficiency/pest/disease? What steps would you recommend to correct the problem?

Leaf curling and red blotches on the pear leaves Barry could quite easily have been caused by the Pear Leaf Blister Mite which, as the name suggests, causes red blisters on the leaves causing the leaves to fall early and the fruit may also be blistered. Another cause could be Pear Scab which causes unsightly damage to the fruit and the leaves bear brown spots. Pear Scab can be controlled by spraying with a fungicide such as Dithane. For Pear Leaf Blister I would recommend that you remove some of the badly infectected leaves.

Sue Taylor asks…

I have a pear tree that has black fly under the leaves, it is a young pear tree that has only just started to grow and leaf, so I want to stop this infestation so that it will grow strong can you advise me of a spray that won’t hurt the young leaves but will get rid of the blackfly?

It is important that when you spray edible crops Sue that you use a contact insecticide and preferably an organic product which clearly states that it can be used on fruit and edible crops. The two products I would recommend are Bayers Organic Pest Control (which contains fatty acids) or Bio Liquid Derris. Both products will control green fly/black fly are available in both Garden Centres and DIY Stores. It is important not to spray in direct sunlight and I would advise that you spray either early morning or late evening and as you will be aware you must never spray when your trees are in blossom.

Denyse Gregson asks…

For the last three years I have had scab on apples and pears. The pears being particularly bad. Please advise what to use and when.

Scab is a serious disease in both apples and pears – the leaves become mottled with brown spots – the fruit becomes badly scarred and disfigured and, it can also affect the shoots and stems. To keep scab under control you need to spray at regular intervals through the spring and summer months with a fungicide spray. Do not spray your trees when they are flowering as, this will affect pollination by the bees. The fungicide which I use is Dithane. This is contact fungicide which I find very effective. I also would recommend during the autumn and winter months to rake up fallen leaves which will contain infected spores – these need to be dispersed of.

During the autumn and winter months spray the trees with a funicide to kill any harbouring spores.

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