Orchard Care During the Dormant Season

In addition to good orchard sanitation (picking up rotten fruit and raking leaves), applying dormant sprays in the fall and winter is a great way to reduce overwintering pests & diseases in the home orchard. Dormant oils are applied when trees have dropped their leaves and are dormant. The oils can be applied when daytime temperatures are over 35-40°F. Dormant oils control aphids, scale, spider mites and many other insects by smothering eggs and larvae.

Peach leaf curl, also known as curly leaf, curly blight or leaf blister, has been recognized as a common disease since the early 1800s. It is caused by the fungus Taphrina deformans and can affect the blossoms, fruit, leaves and shoots of peaches and nectarines. Peach leaf curl is the most common disease found in backyard orchards and can weaken the tree over time if the disease is not controlled. Cool (48-68°F) wet weather when leaves are first opening favors the disease. Watch our video on Peach Leaf Curl where Tricia shows how to care for your trees.

To control diseases such as peach leaf curl, a fungicide is applied multiple times throughout the dormant season. An easy way to remember when to apply the fungicide is after leaf drop, New Years day (or around that time) and a final treatment on Valentine’s Day (before buds have broken or blossoming). For more information you can also read our blog Peach Leaf Curl Control.

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