Peach leaf curl
I bought a dwarf peach tree last spring and placed it, in its pot, against a south-facing stone wall in my garden in the north of England. It did really well, and after some thinning out of the fruit at various stages, produced several really good, juicy peaches towards the end of the summer.
I did read about peach leaf curl, and had intended to keep the tree covered during the winter to prevent it from appearing. However, foolishly, I didn't get round to doing so and this spring the plant seems to have been struck down by a particularly bad bout of the disease. I have had to remove many leaves (perhaps 75% or so). Even leaves that look OK will, a couple of days later, show the signs.
I have given up hope of getting any fruit from the tree this year - it is looking decidedly forlorn and defoliated. I am now trying to decide what to do in order to prevent the tree dying or at least losing too much of this year's growth. I see two options:
1. Remove the young peaches that have now appeared post blossom (so the tree doesn't put any energy into growing fruit) and keep removing affected leaves. However, I am concerned that the disease doesn't seem to be subsiding, and I will have to keep removing leaves for the rest of the summer, weakening the tree.
2. Remove the young peaches, and spray now with Bordeaux mixture. My hope is that this would halt the continued spread of the leaf curl, and at least allow the tree the rest of this spring/summer to grow and recover. However, all the advice I have read says to spray peach trees with Bordeaux mixture in the autumn and again during the winter. Could I harm the tree by spraying at this time of year?