What’s wrong with my pluerries?

I got some pluerries this spring and they leafed out wonderfully. However I noticed lately that they seemed to have yellowed and curled leaves on the growth tips.

It doesn’t quite match with the images of peach leaf curl I’ve seen, though I’ve never seen peach leaf curl in person. I also haven’t seen aphids on the leaves, so I thought I’d ask … any ideas of what’s going on? What can I do to help my new trees?

Any help would be much appreciated!

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It’s hard to tell from the photo but maybe insect damage. If you uncurl the leaves do you see any aphids or caterpillars?

I also just noticed the soil in the background looks dry and cracked. How is the soil moisture level?

Small amounts of weed killer like Roundup can cause similar disfigured growth in tomato plants.

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Looks like aphid damage to me… when I’ve seen rolled up leaves like that on a plum I’ve found aphids hiding inside. Easy to clear up if that’s the problem… a little soapy water spray works great.

Doesn’t look like PLC to me, and I don’t think a pluery would be susceptible. I think it only effects peaches and nectarines and in my experience makes the leaves look thick, red and tortuous.

The holes in the leaves look to me like something fairly large has been chewing on them, larger than aphids, I mean.

I’d try spinosad first to see if it helps and if not, try something broader. Keep a sharp eye out for insects or caterpillars because an ID is best.

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No aphids or caterpillars that I’ve noticed, even under the leaves. I’ll keep looking though.

That said it was fairly close (15 -20 feet) to another tree (in a container) that had an aphid infestation. I’ve moved that other tree away and am dealing with those aphids. Could the infestation have moved trees?

The soil moisture level was fairly low… The top inch or so was fairly dry but once I dug down there was some moisture, though not a lot. I’ve been watering the trees about once a week. Do you think that’s sufficient? The climate where I live is similar to Albuquerque NM.

Oooh … that wouldn’t be good. I don’t spray, and I’m not aware of anyone spraying roundup close in the past year, though they may have done while I was as work.

Do you suppose it could have gotten contaminated through compost? If so Is there anything I can do other than watering?

Yeah, and the leaves are more brittle and brown than red.

I haven’t seen any aphids on the tree itself though one tree I had close had an aphid infestation …

Like June bugs maybe? I’ve seen one or two around, but haven’t caught any in the act.

Yeah, a few of those could do it. In that case, and with aphids (because aphids are suckers) Spinosad won’t help.

I’d spray a little stronger insecticide than Spinosad. One time might do it. Do it at dusk after the bees have gone in for the night and remove any flowering weeds, etc very nearby.

That’s not to say the main problem is insects, but imho it could be.

If this is a newly planted tree and the climate is like Albequerque I’d water at least every other day, given my NC summers. But hopefully others will chime in who know your climate. New transplants just need more water as they establish.

Leaf Curl Plum Aphid, UC IPM: UC Management Guidelines for Leaf Curl Plum Aphid on Plum.

I am growing three varieties of pluerries plus Nadia. They are fine, never had this kind of problem. My cherries had problems with black aphid damage in the past, using dormant oil solved this problem. You should use dormant oil to suffocate the insect eggs on the branches next Winter before the buds emerge.
In the mean time spraying them with mild soapy water from a spray bottle or aphid spray from the garden center should control them while new leaves grow out.