4-year old apple tree vs. 4-year old peach tree

JLem(6b)October 5, 2012

3 years ago I ordered a Golden Delicious apple tree and a Saturn-type peach tree from Stark Brothers. They arrived together, I planted them on the same day, in the same general location. While I have not yet had any peaches go to maturity, the peach tree itself looks wonderful - has grown in height and width and has put out numerous new branches and leafs out beautifully each year. Basically, it looks like a nice, healthy tree (except for the lack of ripe fruit).

But the apple tree just hasn't taken off - there has been no major growth as far as I can tell - a few very small twigs grow each year, I get some small clusters of leaves. It is clearly alive and doesn't seem to be dying...but it isn't thriving at all.

I'm just surprised to see one tree growing so well while the other is languishing. But I don't know if this is something that can be chalked up to intrinsic differences between apples and peaches. Or if perhaps my apple tree was not in particularly good shape when I planted it? Or perhaps I need to do something more for the apple tree? I guess it is the lack of branching that has me mostly baffled. What would cause this?

Any thoughts? I wonder if it is time to dig up the apple tree and try again.

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olympia_gardener(5)

You are comparing apple and peach. I ordered from Stark Bro. before. My tree grow just like a tree suppose to grow, peach fruited in second year. Your apple tree does sound odd, did you fertilize your apple tree? does the soil you planted it in a good soil? Hope the tree experts here can diagnosis your apple tree problem.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 1:57PM
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glib(5.5)

You could have black walnuts in the vicinity. That would explain it all.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 2:30PM
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keepitlow(6)

Try another spot for the apple tree or a different tree altogether. W

hen a tree does not get going after 2 or 3 years I yank it. No time to screw around. It either produces edible fruit or it is axed.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 2:38PM
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ltilton

2 or 3 years isn't enough time to judge if an apple will fruit. But if the tree itself isn't thriving now, it won't thrive later.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 3:40PM
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JLem(6b)

I have added fertilizer to both trees. I amended the soil when I planted. I imagine the soil around the trees are not that great - probably mostly fill from when the house was built. I've treated the trees the same. Here are a couple of photos to show the difference. Not the greatest photos, but they will show you what I am talking about (note the scale is not quite the same in both photos - the peach tree is taller than the apple tree)

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 5:25PM
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mamuang_gw

HI J,

I have 3 peach trees. All have fruited in 2-3 years. I did not really amend the soil except for adding some top soil to fill the holes because I did not have enough native soil to put back. In my areas, rocks grow best. Rocks and boulders are everywhere when you dig a hole. I've fertilized the tree a bit in the spring each of the following years. I don't want to fertilize too much.

If I were you, I'd get rid of competing weed around each tree and mulch it.

Your apple tree looks stunted. A 3 yrs old apple tree should not look like that even in your type of soil. Not sure why, but you may want to consider relocating it. The soil in my yard is also land fill. The trees still grow decently.

As for apple fruiting, I have apple trees that have fruited in 2nd and 3rd year on semi-dwarf rootstocks. My Honey Crisp is on an unknown rootstock. It must be at least 6 years old now but still have not fruited. My guess is it's on a standard rootstock which will take much longer. Make sure you have another variety of apple that blooms about the same time to cross pollinate. If there are crab apple trees in your neighborhood, you'd be all set.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 8:23PM
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JLem(6b)

Yeah, I've been pretty lax about keeping under the trees clear. Was good for the first year, but then let it get away from me. However, I can't imagine that is why the apple tree is not growing...especially since the peach tree is doing great. I will look into relocating it, though my options are limited...which is why it is where it is in the first place. I'm not sure I can find another open, sunny spot for it.

As for the pollination...I purposely bought a golden delicious variety since it doesn't need any cross pollination. Still, I imagine there are some crab apple trees around...just not sure how close.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 12:40PM
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cousinfloyd

I really don't know, but I can certainly imagine that not mulching/weeding under the trees much could have made a big difference, i.e. that peaches seem to compete less directly with grass than apples. I wonder if anyone with more experience can weigh in on the subject?

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 7:38PM
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olympia_gardener(5)

Jlem, I would think the soil is the cause. Looking at the picture you posted, the apple tree on the right, grass even grow poorly around it;comparing to the peach tree on the left, lushes grass. Did you get soil ph tested?

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 12:13PM
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fabaceae_native

Really could be anything, but there is certainly nothing obvious about how the apple tree looks. Of course, peach trees are much more vigorous and precocious than apple trees, but your apple is obviously a dud.

If I were you I would plant a new one in the spring with a nice healthy 5-gallon apple tree from a local nursery (or even a big box store if they have what you're looking for). You'll be able to see what you're getting, and not have to worry about shipping. Mail-order is really best for unusual species/varieties that are unavailable locally, or for large quantities, at least in my opinion.

Good luck...

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 6:51PM
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