University of Illinois Extension

University of Illinois Extension

Hort Answers

Fungal Disease

Peach Leaf Curl and Plum Pocket
Taphrina spp.

Peach leaf curl.
Peach leaf curl.
3 (1 = rare 5 = annual)
3.5 (1 = very little damage 5 = plants killed)
Taphrina deformans attacks leaves, and sometimes new shoots, of peaches and nectarines. Taphrina communis attacks plum, causing plum pocket (also known as bladder plum).

Plants Affected

Peach Leaf Curl: Leaves become deformed and misshaped. The infected leaves often turn yellow, then reddish, in color. Weeks later a whitish "bloom" occurs on the infected tissue. Leaves fall early – often by early July in Northern Illinois. Repeated early defoliation can weaken trees and predispose them to other problems.

Plum Pocket: Begins as small, whitish spots on young fruit soon after flowering. Eventually, these spots enlarge to affect the entire fruit, which become very large with a hollow core and a decayed outer appearance.

Life Cycle
The fungus is spread by wind and rain and attacks the leaves as they break bud and fruit as it begins to develop during cool, wet weather. A single layer of spore-producing tissue develops on the infected plant part, giving the blistered area a white or translucent appearance when fresh. Spores are released from this tissue from late spring to midsummer, and will remain on twigs and bud scales until the following spring.

Grow resistant varieties. Promote tree vitality through pruning, fertilization, and watering. Make one fungicide application as a dormant spray to buds and twigs in the fall after leaf drop or in the spring before buds begin to swell. Applications of fungicides after bud-break are ineffective.

Related Resources
Home, Yard & Garden Pest Guide
Illinois Commercial Landscape and Turfgrass Pest Management Handbook
U of IL - Distance Diagnosis through Digital Imaging
U of IL - Plant Clinic