Rain hats prevent peach leaf curl

A temporary rain hat can help prevent the spread of peach leaf curl, sector commentator Helen Yemm explains.

She suggests that the fungal disease, which attacks peach, nectarine and ornamental almond trees, is spread by "splashy rain" in the first few months of the year.

The leaves on infected trees can become disfigured – developing swollen red blisters – before falling off.

"By protecting trees from rain in spring you can go a long way to conquering the disease," Ms Yemm explains.

As such, she suggests that gardeners keen to avoid the disease from blighting their own crops should create a protective barrier using material, such as tough polythene, to shelter their trees from the rain during the period between late January to March.

The Royal Horticultural Society suggests that collecting and disposing of infected leaves before blooms of spores appear can help in the control of peach leaf curl.