Q: We have a small nectarine tree that was transplanted three years ago. For the last two years it has had blisters on the leaves of a sort of rust color. It also has some sap bubbles?? where there is a sort of injury, maybe. Last year the tree was treated with sevin in the early spring then later one five gallon bucket of thrive. It has produced a ton of fruit. The squirrels seem to get most of them before we do. Is the leave curl a recurring problem, or will it really damage the tree so there is no point in keeping it?
A: Thanks for the question. Without seeing the leaves I’m not 100% sure what’s going on but it sounds like it could be peach leaf curl. This is a fungus that causes the leaves to curl, thicken, turn a reddish color and drop. There is no control at this time of year. The treatment time is during dormancy, late fall (late October) or early spring (late February), using a copper based spray. Clean up fallen leaves and throw them away, don’t compost. Weather has a lot to do with fungus problems and how severe they are each year but symptoms for peach leaf curl stop developing when temperatures remain above 69 degrees. If the infection is severe and the tree defoliates repeatedly, it may kill the tree within several years. However, peach leaf curl can be successfully controlled with timely fungicide applications.
Try bird netting to try to deter those pesky squirrels from stealing all your fruit!