Peach trees and water stress??'s

quackmasterAugust 19, 2013

Hi all, I need a little help please. I planted 5 peach trees at the start of spring and over the last week we had terrible rain almost every day. 3 out the 5 came from a local nursery and 2 came as seedlings from under my uncles tree. The two that came from my uncle seem to be doing fine. The 3 in the back yard from the nursery are wilted real bad. They grew like crazy adding 3 foot or more if new growth since planted and I think that's why they are so weak. What's the chances of these trees living? The tips of the branches are curled over and the entire tree is wilted. The hot sun is baking them I believe. Any help is appreciated. I just want to know if a tree can get as stressed as these are and still pull through, or should I plan on replanting?

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I'm trying to post a pic

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 10:36AM
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Hope this works

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 10:41AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Poor soil drainage kills many fruit trees. The excess water excludes oxygen from the soil killing the roots. Your trees are wilting because the roots have been killed or severely damaged. The trees will probably die but might hang on until they can grow new roots.

If you are forced to replant consider planting on a mound to improve soil drainage. If I were facing that situation I'd make the mounds at least 18 inches higher than current soil level. Also improve surface and subsurface drainage as much as possible. Standing water is bad. Drain that off asap if possible.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 11:53AM
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The area actually has pretty good drainage and there is no standing water where I planted, its just that we had so much rain, everyday for over a week with a lot if heavy down pours, the ground is saturated. If I do have to replant I will certainly build it up a more. Thanks

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 12:25PM
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gator_rider2(z8 Ga.)

The problem in usa half peaches planted drown water causes root death in winter as well summer. I would dig holes off from plant roots dip water out to save tree.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 1:05PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)


I agree w/ Gator and Fruitnut, too much water on the roots. Water doesn't have to be standing on the ground to harm peach roots. My guess is if you would have dug down during the rains, you would have seen standing water in the holes which would mean the roots were sitting in water.

If you build a good raised planting for your peach trees, it won't matter how much rain you get, you can dig a hole and there won't be standing water in the root zone. Your peach trees will laugh at torrential rains.

If you dig down now (beside the trees) and still see water in the holes dipping the water out can be helpful as Gator suggested (I've also done it before.) Be aware the water may already be gone (having already done its damage).

Something else which can be helpful is providing a bit of temporary shade for the affected peach trees. Since there has been significant root loss, providing shade will decrease the water demand on the remaining root mass and could improve chances of the top's survival. If the trees are small, an old umbrella on a stake will help. Just make sure the shade doesn't trap heat next to the tree, which would defeat the purpose.

The tree does look pretty rough so any heroic attempts to salvage it may be moot anyway.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 1:48PM
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Thanks, I'll see what I can do but I think its too late for them.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 7:18PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Good luck! Most years I have the opposite problem. Keeping the trees hydrated is an issue in SE MI. This year was an exception. Not until August, did the dryness occur, it usually is all summer. We got lucky this year. Crops should be huge!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 7:30PM
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gator_rider2(z8 Ga.)

Peaches and Blackberries drown easy so when prepare a place for peaches and want blackberries do same I like ditch deep pile dirt up one side ditch plant on top pile. Making where mow is good thing.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 9:37PM
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a couple of important points missed...first of all...dump the seedling trees unless you just want to conduct an experiment. Ungrafted seedlings will never provide a clone to the mother tree. Usually the tree is inferior in quality (especially fruit). This is why nursery professionally grown trees are always grafted. Secondly, dig down to the rootzone and know exactly what you have at that level. Looking at the top of the soil line not effective.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 10:06AM
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