What the heck is with my weeping peach?

scully931(6)June 6, 2007


I'm hoping someone can give me advice on what to do with this new weeping peach tree I planted this spring. I ordered it from an online garden shop. It has been in the ground approximately two and a half months. I know it is difficult to see in the picture because the reddish leaves blend in with my mulch. But, it has only sprouted at the bottom. I drew an arrow where the leaves stop. I was originally going to ask if I should just lob off the top. But, come to think of it, should there even BE growth on the bottom? Shouldn't that just be the trunk? Any advice is appreciated. Thank you!

~Deborah :-)

Here is a link that might be useful:

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This appears to be a case of failed graft, in which the growth comes from the rootstock, while the upper, grafted scion is dead. That is a very sad looking example of a nursery tree.

Would you mind telling us which online nursery this tree came from, and where it is located? Whatever this nursery is, it is one to be avoided. You should call or e-mail them and get a new tree at the very least. Your money back would be even better.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 12:28AM
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joereal(Ca z9/SS z14)

Such thing could come from the best nursery in the world. Contact them to change your tree or for a refund. I wouldn't dismiss any nursery simply because of some bad shipment. Only if reports are across the board that they're bad. But if they don't respond back, then surely they should be avoided next time.
Mislabeling, failed grafts, delayed shipments, itty bitty trees... They happen to anyone that are handled by humans.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 12:35AM
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joereal(Ca z9/SS z14)

Dig it out and check the roots also. There is nothing to lose at this point, only something to learn. the roots could have been damaged too, gophers, nematodes, moles, other critters...

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 12:37AM
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I don't quite agree there Joe. None of the nurseries I deal with would send out a tree like the one in the photo. It's not really a tree at all.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 12:41AM
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joereal(Ca z9/SS z14)

Don, obviously, there is no nursery that would send out a tree looking like that in the photo, who would accept such a thing looking like that? I have assumed it was obtained bare-rooted and it initially grew and then died out later. If you dig out the records of nurseries, none are perfect, but no one would send out a tree looking like that in the photo, but who would have known it would end up like that when it was sent out bare-rooted. So you may be rushing out into concluding that you don't agree with me. Cheers!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 1:00AM
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joereal(Ca z9/SS z14)

Our local nurseries here have a lifetime guarantee because sometimes things like that happen. It could be mishandled during shipment by disgruntled lowest paid employees, repotted improperly, etc, aside from simple failed graft. Soemtimes grafted to wrong rootstocks also (I've caught one popular nursery done that with persimmons). Home Depot has one year guarantee, some of OSH outlets here have lifetime guarantee that trees would grow in our area. Things of bad trees like these are common, but depends on your definition of common. Out of several hundred trees, I have returned or exchanged a couple with no questions asked. If the nurseries won't bother to talk to you after telling them about the problem, then that is a sure sign of a bad nursery.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 1:07AM
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Thanks for the information. That makes sense. I was going to put in the name of the nursery originally, but I couldn't remember if it was Springhill or Michigan Bulb. I believe it was the latter. I actually had good luck with both of them this year (except for this tree) and I know they will replace it if they are not sold out.

So, what will happen if I just let this 'tree' grow? Will there just be foliage? I don't want to throw it away. Thanks again!


    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 1:24AM
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Peach scions are normally grafted to a species of plum rootstock, and if you allow it to grow it will end up as a type of plum bush, usually with poor plums or none at all. If this is what you want, then leave it. I wouldn't.

Michigan Bulb Co. is part of a group of 3rd rate mailorder nurseries that sell cheaply, but you get what you pay for. These outfits are not really nurseries at all, but warehouse clearinghouses that buy stock from various sources, then resell it. They send out a lot of flyers with one-cent and half price sales, and that is the tipoff. For example, compare a few gladiolus bulbs from Michigan Bulb with those you can buy in spring at Costo Warehouses. Costo bulbs are about 4 times larger. That's where I buy my bulbs.

Stark Brothers Nursery also carries the weeping peach you purchased, and I am betting that they would send you a much healthier specimen, although at a somewhat higher price. Time and effort are factors that are at least as important as price. You have obviously put some effort into planting your little weeping peach, and you have been let down. Stark Brothers Nursery has lately gone though a corporate reorganization, but nurseries like Stark at least obtain their stock from contract growers where they have some control over quality.

I checked the Michigan Bulb site, and they are indeed sold out of your Pink Cloud peach.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 1:13PM
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