Safe Organic Control Of Peach Leaf Curl and other Fungal Diseases
It also controls brown rot and other insects. I came up with this recipe based on the knowledge of the excellent anti-fungal properties of Melaleuca (Tea Tree) oil and vinegar. Neem oil has also some anti-fungal and insecticidal properties. The soap acts as an emulsifier and sticker. My peaches and Nectarines have been disease free. No peach leaf curl, no mildew, no brown rot on the fruits, and no aphids.
This recipe is so safe that I don’t need a mask to apply it, and I can lick it off my hands without a problem, and yet it has been very effective for my peaches and nectarines. Beware though the aroma is so addictive, like aroma therapy, from the Meleuca oil. Diluted further (see instructions below), it also controls rust on my roses and citrus leaves.
The Italian Dressing Recipe for Peach Leaf Curl by Joe Real
- Add 2 oz of 5% vinegar to 1 gallon of water. Always add acid to water and not the other way around.
- In a small cup, mix well together 2 TBSP of Melaleuca Oil, 1 TBSP of Neem Oil, 2 TBSP of Dawn Liquid dishwashing soap.
- Add to the 1 gallon diluted vinegar solution, and stir well, hence oil and vinegar and it makes for Italian Dressing.
- Mix and Shake very well like you would an Italian dressing before spraying.
- Spray during bud swell, but not during the full bloom, and when air temperature is above 40 deg F but below 75 deg F, preferably in the late afternoon.
During the growing season, you can use the same spray but use a diluted version, use 2-3 gallons of water instead of one to control mildew and other fungal diseases but apply towards the evening. Make sure to try out small portion of your trees or plants first to determine the dilution that they can take. It varies with cultivars or species.
You can buy Tea Tree or Melaleuca oil from Amazon or eBay, the cheaper ones work, it doesn’t need to be food grade quality. Neem oil can be bought from Home Depot. Vinegar, just raid your kitchen or buy the cheapest one you can get from CostCo or WalMart.
The above recipe is often enough and would want you to try that one first. And if you have stubborn diseases, such as when they built resistance through the years of using the Italian Dressing Recipe, here’s the ultimate upgrade that as a winemaker I came up with.
In the lowlight evening or morning hours, spray your plants with 0.5% hydrogen peroxide (prepared by mixing 5 volumes of water to one volume of the store bought 3% hydrogen peroxide). Light, especially sunlight quickly degrades hydrogen peroxide so apply during lowlight. Hydrogen peroxide is by itself a very good antimicrobial but the dilution we apply is not that strong.
While the plant is still wet from the hydrogen peroxide spray, follow it up quickly with a spray of my Italian Dressing Recipe mentioned above. This causes a reaction to produce peracetic acid, a mild acid but very effective against numerous kinds of plant and human pathogens. This an additional recipe requested by Daniel Chappell that I mentioned to him when he visited.
Peracetic acid is one of the antiseptics used to clean up wineries and it is easy to produce by combining hydrogen peroxide and acetic acid. So why not simply combine vinegar and hydrogen peroxide in the first place to produce peracetic acid, and then spray? Well, peracetic acid is a very bad irritant, and you don’t want spraying it around without the proper gear.
With my technique, there is no danger of inhaling any peracetic acid as they aren’t being sprayed but formed at the reaction site. By spraying the plants first with hydrogen peroxide and then the vinegar and oil mix, the reaction to produce peracetic acid occurs at the surface where it is also coated by oil, preventing any peracetic acid to form air droplets. The Meleuca and Neem oil, aside from being antifungal, and with the liquid soap, will also minimize the evaporation of the peracetic acid formed, having a more prolonged effect. After a couple days of sunshine, the peracetic acid degrades to water and carbon dioxide and no trace of it but has efficiently killed vast majority of the microbes on the surface from a more prolonged contact. The oils will have also prevented microbial spore formation and dispersal. So if applied at the proper time, Peach Leaf Curl disease would be effectively controlled. Too late though if applied after the leaves pushes out.
Caution: Never apply any fertilizer or micronutrients along with these formulations. It could have unwanted reactions or it could damage the plants!!!