"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Plum tree leaf problems


For the last couple of years my plum tree leaves have been quite off - to say the least.
Can anyone tell me why they are distorting like this,..
...and how do I treat it / hep the trees?

I have tried picking off the affected leaves (l-o-n-g job) and burning them, and thought that last year I had sorted out the problem, but obviously not.

It didn't seem to affect the harvest last summer, but it is obviously not right.


Marlin:
Larger res pics - absolutely no sign of aphids...?!




18 comments:

  1. I found the link below and thought it might be of some help. I know aphids do cause leaf curl but have never heard of a variety that you must use a hand lens to see. Hope it helps.

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  2. Sorry...forgot the link.

    http://www.gardenbanter.co.uk/united-kingdom/60885-leaf-curl-plum-trees-help.html

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    1. Marlin - Thanks. I have used a magnifying glass on at least 8-odd affected leaves and can see no sign of an aphid :[ I have added a couple of larger resolution pics of the topside and underside of two leaves - nada.

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    2. Dani I have a Mexican Plum that has a mild leaf curl that is not nearly as bad as yours. I have always thought it was because where I live is not a good climate to it. I've never be able to correct it. Is that a possibility with your tree?

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    3. Marlin - No, where I live is a good fruit area - loads of commercial orchards with peaches, persimmon and citrus trees. Not many apples and pears - but I think they need cooler temperatures?

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  3. Wish I could help, but I just don't know. My wife and I planted plum trees up here in our meadow when we first moved to the mountains in 86, but the winters are so severe, sometimes below zero for days, that all our fruit trees just died.

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    1. Harry - You should try apple and pear trees - they like cold winters 😉

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  4. So, I thought looking in one of my books might yield an answer, but I'm afraid I found NOTHING that looks like what you have going on.
    But what I did read on the many diseases that were close, it seems that once the tree has this problem, you can't control it--even with subsequent spraying. No one likes to lose a tree, but if this has happened before, I'd consider removing the offending tree.
    Sorry. I wish I could have been more help..........

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    1. Sue - Oh, that would be terrible - t'is only the 2nd year they're bearing fruit... Thankfully, the two plums seem to be the only fruit trees affected at this stage (touch wood).

      Thanks for looking it up - I appreciate it

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  5. This looks very much like leaf curl that affects citrus and stone fruit trees - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leaf_curl. Doesn't look like there's an easy answer except fungicide.

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    1. pqsa - Yup - I think that's it. Wish Biogrow had stock of Bioneem... (the monsoon rains in Indai have delayed harvest of the neem oil plant). I think I'll try that this year and see what happens.

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    2. Faithful to Nature has Bioneem - http://www.faithful-to-nature.co.za/search.php?mode=search&page=1&is_inclusive=1&is_advanced=0. I recently ordered a gift for a friend from them and they're absolutely great.

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    3. Thanks for the info - a small bottle will do for now ;) I am trying to egt 5lts from the importer in Hermanus... :D

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  6. http://lancaster.unl.edu/hort/articles/2013/PeachCurl.shtml

    It is called leaf curl.

    Controlling Peach Leaf Curl & Plum Pockets
    submitted by Sarah Browning, Nebraska Extension Educator

    Two odd diseases that may occur on home-grown peaches and plums are called peach leaf curl (photo above) and plum pockets. Peach leaf curl is common and widespread, and can be found in Nebraska wherever peaches are grown although it is usually not severe in the drier areas of western Nebraska. The disease is favored by the milder, wetter climate of eastern Nebraska.

    Although leaf curl is principally a disease of peaches, nectarines also can be infected. Related fungi of the Taphrina genus cause similar diseases such as plum pockets and leaf blisters on oak, maple, and elm.

    Symptoms

    Peach leaf curl, caused by Taphrina deformans, is easy to recognize. The most characteristic symptoms are curling and crinkling of the leaves as they unfurl in spring. Usually, the entire leaf is affected, but sometimes only small areas are involved. In addition to curling, diseased leaves are thickened and often turn red or pink. As the season progresses, diseased leaves turn gray and appear powdery. This is the result of the fungal pathogen producing spores on the leaf surface. Eventually, the leaves turn yellow or brown and are prematurely cast.

    This disease may also occur on fruit, blossoms, and young twigs. Diseased fruits are distorted, swollen, and exhibit discolored surface areas. These areas are usually wrinkled and lack the normal peach fuzz. Infected fruits seldom remain on the tree until harvest. A severely disease tree does not yield well and is subject to winter injury.

    Plum pockets, a disease caused by a similar fungus, Taphrina communis, causes similar symptoms on plum leaves, while the plums become distorted and puffy. This disease is not considered a serious problem in most cultivated plums. Wild plums, however, are highly susceptible. If necessary, the same control procedures used to prevent peach leaf curl may be used to minimize plum pockets.

    Disease Spread

    Fungal spores are produced on the surface of diseased leaves and are washed or blown onto twigs and leaf buds. When these buds break open in the spring, the spores come in contact with the young, unexpanded leaves. When environmental conditions are cool and wet, the spores germinate and infect the leaf tissue. Infected cells do not develop normally due to the secretion of growth regulating chemicals by the fungus. This results in abnormal cell division and enlargement giving the leaves a curled and crinkled appearance. Only expanding leaves are susceptible to infection.

    Control

    Fortunately, peach leaf curl and plum pockets are two of the easiest fruit diseases to control. In most years, a single application of chlorothalonil fungicide provides control. Lime sulfur, Bordeaux mixture, or a copper fungicide, are also effective at controlling both diseases.

    Because infection occurs when the buds begin to swell, the fungicide must be applied during the dormant season. In Nebraska this can be done in the fall, after the leaves have dropped, through late winter. Remember, for effective disease control the fungicide must be applied at the proper time, and the tree must be thoroughly covered with the fungicide spray. When applying any fungicide, be sure to read and follow the label directions.

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    1. Raiy December - Wow! Thank you so much for your detailed comment - very helpful :D OK - we get an apparently organic, biodegradable product here called Copper Soap - distributed through Biogrow (http://biogrow.co.za/products/copper-soap/) I will, therefore, live with the leaf curl / pocket until next winter when we will spray the plum trees.

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  7. I had this previously the neighbour helped me strip the tree of the affected leaves, he burnt them. And then when all the other leaves fell off, he sprayed it for me. And then again before spring. He used bordeaux mix on his orchard which backed on to our garden.

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    1. Sue - I took hours last year stripping the tree of all the effected leaves - but didn't spray this winter. I would, however, hesitate to spray a bordeaux mix as I am trying to be as organic as possible...

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    2. Sorry - I meant Sol not Sue ;)

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