newbie here, I planted a peach tree last September, Not sure what to make of this but it appears dead till I really got down and looked at it. There are new leaves at the base of the trunk. There is nothing on the rest of the tree. It’s approx. 40" tall, Help.
Can you post a pic? It sounds like the rootstock may be responsible for the new leaves and that the grafted plant might be dead
Hi Mark, welcome to GrowingFruit!
Whereabouts is your property?
It could be that your peach will just grow from those two small branches and nothing will ever grow on the main stem above those branches. In that case, that’s okay, as one of those branches will become the new main trunk, and you won’t be able to even tell when the tree is sufficiently large.
I would use a shovel to carefully remove the grass roots within at least 1 ft radius of the trunk. I would add some high nitrogen fertilizer (1 part urine + 5 parts water works) and mulch as well.
It’s difficult to tell but your tree may be dead above the graft. The two live branches may be coming from the rootstock? That s difficult to determine with the pic provided. Can you tell where the graft union is?
Maybe with a different perspective one could tell. Try to take a better image closer up!
Hi @DennisD , it looks clear to me both live branches are above the graft union.
Yes agree now with better pic
It appears to be just below the 2 branch’s
If the main stem is alive (green tissue underneath if you scratch it), you can use a knife to cut a shallow line into the bark above the buds where you would like a new branch to grow. Some people do that to try to induce branching. Not guaranteed to work.
Additionally, as mentioned, I would remove the grass around the tree ASAP and fertilize. Those actions will be very beneficial to your tree regardless of the branching.
you can read up on notching here
thank you, I will try the notching, it does appear to be alive above those branches,sorry for the grass, I have to tend to all my trees.
Don’t need to apologize to me. Your trees will appreciate you removing the grass.
Hi Mark52, I cant see what’s happening at the top of your peach tree but was it pruned when you planted it? The root system is still small and was probably trimmed if bare rooted or possibly damaged when planting. The root system is trying to support the top growth which is still it’s original size (if unpruned). It’s a good idea to rebalance this with pruning at planting. I’d do a heading cut (cut back it’s height) to around 20-30 inches, just above a bud. Be a bit careful with fertilizing as it could damage the roots if they can’t process the nutrients. (learnt this the hard way). Try some weak liquid seaweed (encourages new roots) and weed and mulch as sockworth said.
If you’d like to apologize, you may want to apologize to your trees.
Peach trees, in particular, have shallow feeder roots. They dislike competing with grass. When you plant a peach tree, you should remove grass to 3-4’ radius, the bigger, the better, for your tree’s health. Then, mulch it with 3-4” deep mulch.
My guess is that, you planted this peach tree without mulching last fall. It endured a cold winter with not much winter protection (not mulch) while the roots have not quite established. Thus, the tree has struggled.
Removed the grass, mulch it and fertilize with high nitrogen fertilizer. If I were you, I would not notch at this point.
I’d tie the longest remaining branch up to the trunk. Not real tight just more upright. That will get it growing up. That can become the new trunk if the old one fails.