Saturday, 13 October 2012

The Rhubarb Cure

Every year, despite valiant efforts, our peaches and nectarines  get leaf curl and as such have been severely 'curl-tailed'.  The apricots planted at the same time are now massive and highly productive, while the peaches lag behind.

This year Trevor took on the job confident that he would beat the fungal affliction. But, sadly, failed. (though there was some degree of schadenfreude on my behalf.)

Each year after several all over doses of either copper hydroxide, lime sulphur or copper sulphate mixes, which, while not strictly organic, is still better than what shop bought fruit is sprayed in - and especially  if it results in managing to grow our own fruit. 

Despite our efforts we've failed to eliminate leaf curl. I go around with a bucket and pinch off the leaves and buds affected and burn them. It helps control it, but obviously doesn't do the tree a lot of good, especially as it can mean having to strip the whole thing back.

My title is a tad bit premature as it only appears that I have found a cure. I could still be proved wrong on this. But the organic rhubarb leaf spray seems to have done the trick. I've always known they're strongly anti-fungal and even though all the books say once you've got  leaf curl give up till next year, I decided to give it a go. First I stripped off  affected leaf material and burnt it.

The Recipe

500grams of rhubarb leaves boiled in 2 litres of water for 20 minutes and strained through muslin.

Add a teaspoon of soap (that's been dissolved in a cup of water), and then add another 2 litres of water and spray it over the tree, leaves, bark, the lot making sure to get complete coverage.

It's a good idea to check the weather forecast first and chose a time where you're going to have at least 24 hours without rain.

It's over a week later and I've had to hunt hard to find a leaf showing leaf curl to photograph.

I'm planning on continuing this regime for the next three or four weeks (once a week). Anyone  have a sure-fire cure for leaf curl?

 An added bonus ... rhubarb and vanilla custard :)


Anonymous said...

Will be trying this on our nectarine. Pinching off the leaves is not one of my favourite jobs...

And with your rhubarb - how about this rhubarb curd recipe

Michelle said...

Interesting solution! Please keep us updated - I have bad leaf curl year after year and no matter how oftern we spray with Bordeaux it just keeps on coming. I have a rhubarb patch, so could definitely do this at a pinch!