Promoting root growth

My nectaplum has put on a ton of top growth but the tree doesn’t seem to have the best base. It wiggles slightly when I move it which leads me to think (maybe incorrectly) that the roots aren’t as mature as I thought. I staked it to keep it where I want and was wondering if there is anything I can feed it to promote better root growth?

Any chance it is on Citation?

It’s likely more a matter of loose soil than poor roots. You grow roots the same way you do top. And if the canopy is large the roots are also. Just maybe not that well anchored. You can’t grow a large top without large roots.


All peaches/nectarines/nectaplums I see have puny roots even with vigorous top growth. My Nectaplum still “rocks” in its 3rd year in the ground. Citation is just really poor for these varieties.

I’m not 100% certain which rootstock this came on. I ordered it from Bob Wells nursery and it’s a Dave Wilson tree. Is there a way to look at a rootstock and tell? The top part of the tree looks amazing and I had to thin 400+ pieces of fruit this week. The soil around it is identical to my other trees which have rooted in nicely and are very sturdy. The stakes are keeping it where I want it so hopefully it just needs a bit more time to branch out underground.

@fruitnut Is that still true if the tree is overwatered generally or sits in soggy soil, or if it’s “bowl planted” into hard soil and circles? Seems like in both of those cases you’ll get a big top on small roots right up until your watering doesn’t keep up with the heat and the whole thing fails.

I don’t have experience with those situations.

I checked my Spice-Zee on citation and it is solid as solid can be. So I’m not having root problems, and my yard is super wet in the spring. No pooling water though, it drains off fairly well. And puddles are gone in an hour. I also have trees on Lovell all are solid too. I think rootstock may not be the issue. Those are generally the two rootstocks used. Sometimes a tree just gets into trouble, for a multitude of reasons. keep it supported and hope it regains strength this summer.

this happens sometimes, especially in desert areas, and if the tree was recently ‘imported’ from states where the tree used to get lots of rain/humidity and cooler summers.
if i am worried about impending doom due to rapid warming of weather(and after an exuberant growth while it was cool), i selectively prune the tree, most especially many of the fast-growing apical buds, and leave just a few mature leaves.
i often do a calculated guess, depending on how i remember the size and quality of the roots were-- when i first planted it. It is generally safer to overprune the leaves than underprune. Only caveat is that if you’re hoping to have fruits in the same year(those which bear fruits in succession or later in the year, say, figs and jujubes), fruit production may be affected if overpruned, but at least the tree is alive.

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I had something similar happen but the cause was ground rodents either loosening the soil and/or eating the roots. One Japanese Maple fell slam over right before budding out. I staked it, watered it with rooting hormone, and it survived. Now it is solidly anchored again.

[quote=“Mickster, post:5, topic:5298”]
… Is there a way to look at a rootstock and tell? …[/quote]
Not usually, but in this case all Spicezee nectaplums released to the public have so far been (sadly) on Citation. So that is what yours is on.

That’s not true. My Spice Zee is on Lovell. I bought it from Raintree.

I have three trees on citation and all three have canker. Good news it isn’t killing them. It will eventually, but I should get a few years out of them. I have three on Lovell that show no signs of canker. Needless to say I’l never buy citation again. In the west this might not be a problem. But if in the Midwest I would avoid them like the plague!