Bavay Obit

mrsg47(7)April 4, 2012

I finally dug up the Reine Claude de Bavay green plum today. The Bavay was a bit alive. The Citation rootstock was dead. Now I'm worried about my Arctic Jay nectarine that is planted next to where the Bavay was. The nectarine does have pink buds and some green showing, but I did prune off a bunch of small stems that were dead. I do not know what is going on with my orchard. No Volck on this tree at all. I am at a loss to understand what I am doing wrong. Mrs. G

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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Mrs G:

Anything going on under ground? Like pocket gophers or voles? Is your soil well drained?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 8:55PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Mrs G, new trees dying from the rootstock are not that uncommon. The biggest reason I see is the tree did not transplant well at all the previous year, it never grew much, and the winter was somehow hard on it so it had no energy to wake up. Or there was a soil problem, like too wet or some mineral imbalance. If its just one tree I would write it off but if it is multiple trees I would consider a soil test and looking at drainage more carefully.

I have many trees on citation and it has been a fine stock for me. Don't worry about the oil, it had nothing to do with your problem.

Scott

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 9:11PM
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mrsg47(7)

Dear Fruitnut, no voles, no gophers in RI, no pine voles and yes the soil drains well. The orchard has a downhill slope but nothing drastic. The soil is excellent. The root system on the Bavay was non-existant. Very little growth in two years. The tree was troubled the first year in went in(three years ago; and it was a three year old tree! ) It had two borers its first year, right at the rootstock union. Maybe it was that. I just don't know. Its really sad. Mrs. G

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 9:15PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Sounds like the borers came at the wrong time. They may have also allowed an infection to enter the roots. In a way thats good news, it means you will probably be OK on your other trees assuming you keep an eye out for borers.

Scott

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 10:58PM
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mrsg47(7)

Thanks Scott. The orchard has a downward slope but no drastic angle, making the drainage excellent. All of the soil has been properly amended, but I think its best to test it again anyway. The borers arrived the first year I had the tree, when I was very new to spraying, watching for insects and basically knowing when to spray. I was too late. Its tough seeing that 'hole' in my orchard. I have a new Bavay arriving next week. I will not put it in the same hole that housed the first one. Many thanks Scott, and Fruitnut for all of your help, and Olpea too! Don't know what I'd do without this forum, as no other friends or neighbors grow fruit. Thanks All! Mrs. G

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 8:49AM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

Mrs. G,

It could be a soil problem. I'm inclined to think it wasn't borers because you indicated you cleared this problem after the first season. The tree should have healed from the borer damage by the end of the next season. I can't think of any infection the borers could have carried that would infect the roots but not the grafted portion of the tree.

Although I've never experienced it, I've read oil can be phytotoxic to bark if enough is applied in the dormant season. However, this is not the case with your tree. The oil would have damaged the grafted portion of the tree, not the roots.

A few dead branches on your nectarine isn't necessarily something to worry about. It's normal to get a few dead branches underneath the canopy where they are shaded. If they were in full sun and still died, that's a problem.

You mentioned you amended the soil. What did you put in the hole?

I think your getting so many opinions because this is an unusual occurrence.

Healthy trees don't generally just up and die their third year.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 9:53AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I also get more concerned when you say "properly amended" -- I recall a guy posting here who thought he was properly amending his trees when he planted them in mostly manure. Of course they did not do well. You should do minimal or no amending of the soil when you plant, unless you are correcting known deficiencies from a soil test. So, you should let us know how you amended the soil.

Scott

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 10:12AM
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mrsg47(7)

All I mean by properly amended is that (first of all the soil is deep brown/black and very rich. I added some peatmoss a year before I started the orchard. It was then grassed in. Dug holes in lawn, put in orchard. Added garden soil to the holes (did not fertilize the first year), then added topsoil and covered with mulch, but not close to the trunks of the trees. Fertilized in the spring only with 10-10-10 for the peach and nectarine and every else gets 3-4-4. I pull the mulch away from the trunks every fall, and replace it with new mulch in the spring. Just don't get it. I do not let my husband spray insect killer in the lawn. Only crabgrass killer. And the trees all have a 4-5' circle of mulch around them before the grass even comes close to the mulch. There are also plastic tree guards around each trunk that I made out of deer fencing to keep out voles etc. Ugh. Many thanks all. Mrs. G

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 11:20AM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

Mrs. G,

I don't know what killed your tree, but on the next tree, I wouldn't do all the amending. If your soil will grow grass, just dig a hole and plant.

I'm not saying drainage is your problem because you seem pretty sure it isn't, but I will offer that at my location putting those amendments in the hole and then mulching = dead trees. My understanding is peat is a pretty good amendment for containers, but I think it can hold a lot of water in a hole.

Planting on a hillside wouldn't guarantee good drainage. At the farm the worst drainage is on the hillside because that's where the seeps are. If you haven't already done so, there is an easy way to check drainage. After a heavy rain (couple inches) wait an hour, go out and dig a hole where the Bavay was. Dig down a foot. If there is water in the bottom of the hole, drainage is not good. If water stays in the hole for more than about 8 hrs., drainage is bad.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 10:37PM
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mrsg47(7)

Ok, and many thanks Olpea! When my new trees arrive, I'll just dig holes and plant. I won't even mulch them. Also the peat moss was integrated into the soil a year before my first trees went in. (the peatmoss was rototilled into the soil.)We get droughts during the July - August months because of the heat and great sun. We do have a bit of extreme weather here. Our area is known for raising wine grapes, and is home to huge commercial nurseries for any tree or shrub imaginable (except for fruit trees), hydrangea and evergreens. My slope is very gradual. I'll get it right. No pain, no gain, I'd rather learn than not; even if it causes me a loss of a tree. Cannot thank you enough for your patience.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 10:03AM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

Mrs. G,

I didn't mean to leave the impression you shouldn't mulch. If the drainage is good, go ahead and mulch. A couple inches of mulch is a good thing.

The only reason I mentioned mulch with drainage is if the drainage is very poor with lots of soil amendments in the hole, a heavy mulch pack will make that situation worse. But normally the numerous benefits of mulch outweigh any negatives.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 10:21AM
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mrsg47(7)

Okie Doke, mulch is ok then. I thought so, its hasn't been a problem yet. My soil does not retain water they way you described so that is good as well. I'll just dig a new damned hole! LOL Mrs. G

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 12:10PM
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