Note from Farmer Al: April 23, 2018
Dear CSA members,
The backyard peach grower probably sees "peach leaf curl" often. Peach farmers, not so much...because we learn early on that this fungal disease must be controlled. The ugly disfiguring that occurs to the leaves is horrible to look at, like leprosy must have appeared to the eyes of the beholder.
And it's relatively easy to control, most years. The organic material used is actually the same one used by conventional growers, namely copper. Copper occurs in nature, so is allowable under organic rules. Copper, like sulfur, is a natural fungicide. Its chemical properties inhibit fungal growth.
The timing of the spray application should be when the buds begin to swell. Here at Frog Hollow, that's usually around the end of January of the first week in February. Coverage of each leaf bud must be one hundred percent, so don't spray on a windy day.
This year, we broke that rule (about wind) because we had so much groundwork to cover we felt that we had to keep going. It was a mistake, and now we have a few areas (not a lot) that look terrible. Fortunately, as the weather warms up, the trees will grow new leaves and branches very quickly. We're thinning the fruit of those infected areas first because reducing the crop load of these weaker trees will allow them to recover more quickly.