The most beautiful tree in the world hits a snag

8 Aug

A couple of months ago I planted a sunset peach and nectarine. They have beautiful red foliage and stunning pink flowers. I’ve put them in matching pots on either side of the front yard and they are just coming into flower.

It is just the most beautiful sight – pink blossoms against vibrant red leaves, all in a tiny package, barely 40cm tall.

So I was pretty sad today when I realised that both my peach and nectarine have leaf curl.

Leaf curl is a nasty fungal disease that overwinters well in the little crevices on the tree, then springs quickly into life again once the weather warms slightly, curling the young leaves as they emerge in the Spring.

Our uncharacteristically warm weather in Sydney has sprung my fruit trees to life – they are almost* all flowering, including the dwarf apples. My mulberry is loaded with fruit already, and I have a bumper blueberry crop that I really should thin, but I’m not gonna.

So before I had even thought about spraying fruit trees with anything, the leaf curl has hit the peach with a bang. Dr Google says that it’s useless trying to control it at this stage, but I just can’t admit defeat. So I pulled out the lime sulfur spray this morning and gave the stonefruit a good spray, despite the fact that they are flowering. Now they look all bedraggled and yellow, and the smell! Despite the scary bottle, revolting smell and extreme safety directions, lime sulfur is actually an allowed organic input. It is reportedly highly effective against leaf curl, but not past the bud-swell stage, which my trees are well past.

I expect that the spray is going to burn the new foliage, and I’m not sure what will happen to the flowers. I’ll need to repeat the spray in a couple of weeks I think. I haven’t decided whether to pick off the infected leaves – any advice on how to proceed would be gladly received!

In other news, the garden is looking very much ‘between seasons’. I have a stack of seedlings ready to go in once it warms a bit more, and I can’t wait to rip out the remaining crops to make way for them. My brussels sprouts are finally producing, and they are fascinating everyone. I love to watch people’s faces when they ask what it is, then I lift the leaves to reveal the sprouts. It’s like a hidden treasure.

Also, and regular readers will understand how much self control was required by me to leave this till last, heck, to not devote a whole post to this even- I hereby declare my indoor coriander-growing experiment a success!

* The sickly Imperial mandarin is looking worse. Certainly not flowering.

8 Responses to “The most beautiful tree in the world hits a snag”

  1. The New Good Life August 8, 2011 at 10:40 pm #

    Sorry no help with the leaf curl thing, I’m so far clueless when it comes to fruit trees, but hopefully not for mush longer. Good luck with curing them though.

    A super well done with the coriander, I’ve never had any luck with it. Perhaps I should try it indoors as well.

    Sorry to hear about the mnadarin.

    • L August 8, 2011 at 11:03 pm #

      Thanks. I’m mustering all my strength for the fight 🙂 A bit of fungus ain’t gonna get between me and peaches!

  2. Leanne Cole August 9, 2011 at 7:38 am #

    That doesn’t sound good at all. I haven’t heard of any of this stuff, guess I’m about to start finding out about it first hand. Good luck. Well done on the coriander. I have always been able to grow coriander, but the one herb that I’ve never had any luck with is mint, it just won’t grow for me.

    • L August 9, 2011 at 8:00 am #

      The trick with mint it to keep it really moist. And obviously in a pot because it’s invasive when it gets established. I’d be surprised if you don’t have any luck if you put it in a self-watering pot.

  3. Liz August 9, 2011 at 3:57 pm #

    YAY for the coriander – perhaps its a season thing – I too have any number of difficulties with coriander and I too have managed to grow some (in the garden) this winter (started from seedlings rather than seed though). Lacking your self control I did write a whole post on it a few weeks ago. Sad for your tree – I hope it improves. Lovely brussel sprout photo.

  4. ali August 9, 2011 at 7:17 pm #

    Oh no, I wouldn’t give up either!! But if you have to, take heart from those brussels sprouts – they are amazing. I am very envious, I am not sure how they would go here, but after how fabulous yours look I am going to have another try next year. Be sure to let us know how they taste, I’ve never had a freshly picked one.


  5. Mrs Bok August 9, 2011 at 8:38 pm #

    Hooray for your coriander and brussel sprouts! With leaf curl…my mini nectarine had it last year but it survived! This year and looks like it’ll bloom!


  1. Bring on the summer fruit « 500m2 in Sydney - November 10, 2011

    […] slug pellets out quickly.  I love the fact that they are iron-based and  non-toxic. My little sunset nectarine is still holding onto 3 or 4 fruit. Unfortunately the peach didn’t take well to the late […]

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