Taphrina deformans, commonly known as Peach Leaf Curl, is one of the most common plant disease problems experienced by backyard tree growers. This leaf curl is a fungal disease, that affects both fruiting & ornamental peach trees, nectarine and almond trees.
Peach Leaf Curl appears on tree leaves about two weeks after leaf emergence in the spring. Symptoms include curling & puckering leaves, leaf discoloration of red, yellow, orange or even purple, and leaf drop-off. This disease can spread rapidly to healthy leaves especially in a wet spring. Peach Leaf Curl can defoliate a tree and its this loss of leaves stresses out the tree causing loss of fruit production, and has the potential to kill a tree if left unchecked.
The best defense growers have against peach leaf curl is to buy disease resistant varieties, so ask your nurseryman for disease resistant varieties for your area. The only way to prevent Peach leaf Curl is to control it with lime-sulfur or copper-based fungicides. To treat, spray the tree in late December then again twice more with two-week intervals between sprayings.