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Life is Beautiful Blog

Controlling Fruit Tree Diseases with Dormant Sprays

Blaire Benson

Peach leaf curl is one of the worst diseases afflicting peach and nectarine trees. Symptoms include abnormally thick, puckered and curled leaves. Infected trees are weakened, and the crop may be seriously reduced. Leaf curl can only be controlled when sprays are applied during the dormant season. Spray the first application after 90 percent of leaves have fallen (around Thanksgiving). Spray once a month with Liqui-Cop or Copper Fungicide in late November, December and January. In February, spray once a week with Copper Fungicide (not Liqui-Cop). If it rains within 4-5 days of application, reapply after rain. Adding 1 percent Master Nursery Pest Fighter Year-Round Spray Oil (2.5 tablespoons per gallon) improves control.

Now is also the time to spray for shothole fungus on almond, apricot, cherry and plum trees. Use Liqui-Cop after leaf fall. To help control scab on apples, fire blight on pears and anthracnose on dogwoods, use dormant spray late winter/early spring in cool weather, just after dormancy ends. Finally, sanitation is key to preventing next year's pests and diseases, so be sure to pick up and dispose of fallen leaves, twigs and fruit!