When you notice that your tree leaves are beginning to curl, you might get worried. Diagnosing the right cause may require a bit of investigating. Are they curling upwards or inwards? Are conditions especially wet or dry? Are the leaves turning colors or changing in appearance?
According to our arborists at Empire Tree in Augusta, GA, the following are the five most common causes of curled leaves on trees.
The first thing to check for is insect damage. The most common culprits are aphids, thrips, and whiteflies, which cause leaf curling by sucking plant juices out of the leaves.
Insecticides or other insect removal methods can usually remove these pests and save your tree leaves.
Peach Leaf Curl
When tree leaves on a peach or nectarine tree begin to curl, it usually signifies a fungal disease called peach leaf curl. This fungus only affects peach and nectarine trees and causes curled, reddish, or puckered leaves. Symptoms start in the spring and may cause leaves to fall off and die.
You can treat many fungal diseases, including peach leaf curl, with a fungicide.
Another fungal disease that might cause curled leaves is verticillium wilt. This disease attacks many trees and woody ornamentals from the soil, traveling up through the roots to the leaves.
Left untreated, verticillium wilt could cause the death of the tree. Experts recommend fumigating the soil with fungicides to control infections.
A fungal disease called anthracnose can also affect tree leaves. It infects developing shoots and young leaves, causing dark leaf spots, curling, dying leaves and twigs, cankers on branches and trunks, and dark stains on citrus fruits. The best methods for combating anthracnose include pruning infected twigs, fertilizing trees, and applying fungicides.
One more cause of tree leaf curling that you might look for is the use of herbicides. These chemicals typically get sprayed onto weeds but can drift onto other plants and trees. Certain ingredients, such as glyphosate, can cause leaves to curl.
Tips for Preventing Leaf Curl
You can take steps to prevent leaf curling before it happens, which is always easier than treating it afterward. First, make sure that your trees receive enough water and soil nutrients to keep them healthy and infection-free.
Fungal diseases grow best in moist environments, so it’s best to water trees at their base and avoid spraying water on the foliage.
You may also want to consider planting varieties that are resistant to fungal diseases and other infections. Learn about the diseases that infect trees in your area, then find out what resists them the best.
Steaming or solarizing the soil can prevent verticillium wilt, specifically. This process kills fungal spores before you plant anything.
Keep Your Tree Leaves Healthy and Beautiful
Many dangers can affect your trees and cause leaf curling. Insects, funguses, and herbicides are the most common culprits. These problems usually require some kind of intervention to correct, but it’s much easier to try to prevent them in the first place.
To diagnose tree problems in the Augusta, GA, area, be sure to call our arborists at Empire Tree at 706-607-5801 for a diagnostic service call.