Leaf curl on young Apple trees

I’m experiencing some severe leaf curl on new growth on new trees planted in the spring (see attached photos). I’m wondering if this some type of soil issue. We have had a lot of rain over the past month here in NY’s Hudson Valley. This is only appearing on a few varieties.

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Most likely aphids are under the curls in the picture above. My Jonagold leaves curl outward like yours in the pictures below and I have no idea if it is even a problem.


That’s what I expected but no visible aphids

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I am going to go with environmental stress (such as too much moisture). Not exactly the symptoms I am used to seeing in our nursery, but in the same realm. Do you have any older trees close by? If so how do they look?

There’s a dolgo crab and a pear within about 30 yards that seem fine. There are a couple of old macs approximately 200 yards that are also fine. The severe leaf curl under is only on my Kingston blacks. Most other trees show some stress - hardened leaves curling upward, some yellow on new leaves, brown spots on outside of leaves. I’ve added a couple of more photos.

I dont have any first hand experience with Kingston Black. The green or lack of green in the leaves exhibited that way is not something I have seen before. I am sure you will get some other feedback. I will stay with enviromental stress unless someone comes up with a definite.

My red fuji has the same discolored and curled leaves on it, I suspect it as too much water as it was raining frequently. But I am not very sure.


I’d been noticing in recent weeks that my young apple trees have a weird leaf curl too. I have 7 trees and most have it to some degree or another, more so in the more recent growth. No sign of aphids, and my leaf curl is concave rather than convex. I’ve been wondering if this is a problem I should be concerned about or if it’s no big deal. We had a dry spring but more recently rain once a week or so which is typical. Here is a pic from my Ashmead’s Kernel this morning.

Mine are curled way worse than that. I’d think it’s related to water stress. But watering mine doesn’t change anything. Yours looks like it might just be during one period of growth a few weeks ago. Maybe they get set like that and then can’t change.


My apple grafts from this spring are looking exactly like your jroskey. I’m also hoping it’s just due to the wet weather we’ve been having this summer.

I agree with Fruitnut! My Mott’s Pink apple leaves are very curled. All other 9 apple trees are fine. Motts pink is unusual in that its leaves are silver and not as large as other varieties. I too think its (lack of water here). They seem to go through this phase every summer. There are no mites or other insects.


I have run into the same issue. (yes this is an old post) I have a young Granny Smith whose leaves are curling. I thought aphids but have been unable to find any. But the weather for the past month has been mostly rain.

My Jonagold look just like that and it’s an aphid problem. The lady bugs are working on them already.

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Looks like where aphid were doing their dirty work and possibly have move on. The leaf is probably hard and breaks if you try to uncurl it.

@jroskey I think if you look at your first pic, on the right side, third set of leaves up from the bottom/ The one with brown edges. There are what looks like aphids inside that curl.

I’d bet aphids.

I know this is an old thread but I’m wondering how your trees did this year (and other who said they had this happening on their trees)? I’m seeing the same thing on my young apple trees this year and was looking for what it might be when I came across your photos. That’s what mine look like. We’ve had an unusually hot (for us) and wet July so I’m guessing as others have that it is water related. Only a few, newest, leaves on the bearing trees doing it. Hoping it is temporary.

My trees are doing fairly well this year. They are still experiencing some leaf curl, but not as bad as last year. It’s been very hot and dry here in Upstate New York. I’ve noticed aphids seem to be the primary reason for the curl. I usually spray neem oil to take care of of them.

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Last year the affected tree didnt set fruit and had low vigor but it is setting buds now so I guess it was none the worse for wear. This year I will be spraying earlier and hoping that we don’t get an overly damp spring.

I had quite a it of leaf curl in my first year orchard last year. It seemed to hit some cohorts on a particular tree and not others. I.e. All leaves of a certain age would be affected. That made me hypothesize that it was stress related at certain growth stages.

I think I was underwatering the trees, based on some extension calculators I’ve read on line, giving them only 5-10 gallons per week. I’m going to up that quite a bit and use a drip system on a timer for more periodic watering this year.