What’s wrong with this Peach Tree?

Please tell me what is wrong with this peach tree. We are getting a replacement but we really need to know what happened to this one so it doesn’t happen again. We have had it for 2 months. It was distressed when we received it with sad droopy leaves. After a month we planted it in the ground and one side got progressively worse with wilting leaves. We gave it extra water but it still started losing leaves. A scratch test showed its yellow inside. We understand revival is unlikely but how do we prevent this with the next tree? Photo attached.

Try to receive trees that are dormant.

Try to plant in Early Spring or Fall.

Growing roots and keeping leaves alive at the same time in the Summer will likely give u the same result on just about any tree, not just peaches.

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How deep did you plant it - at the same soil line as it came in or deeper? It is hard to tell from the photo, but if it is planted too deep that can kill a tree.

What is the soil like and the drainage there? Again, hard to tell from the photo, but it looks a bit like clay and if you planted deep, it is in a location that drains poorly or if the tree is in potting soil and the surrounding area is clay, it would basically be drowning. Peaches don’t like “wet feet.”

For you next tree, Ideally coming when dormant this fall, build up a bit of a mound to plant it in and make sure not to plant too deeply.

My guess, and I can only really guess, is that the plant had dried out a few times before you got it and already had some root damage and then stayed too wet and the roots rotted/drowned.

Good luck with your next one. If it comes as a potted tree, you might consider repotting it into a large container (10 gallons or more) while disturbing the roots as little as possible. That way you can baby it and try to keep it as healthy as possible until it goes dormant in the fall when it would be a better time to plant.



I concur with previous replies and would add that you might give the tree more room and do more to eliminate competition. I dont think this os a wet area, since I see lots of beech leaves all around your peach. Beech trees have a very shallow fibrous root system and they sucker like crazy. Id be more concerned about the bittersweet. Its a serious contender, Id suggest ripping it out while you still can. Virginia creeper isnt much better, though its a nice plant in its own way, just know that itll climb all over your tree before you can say jack robins. Stuff thats already growing has a HUGE leg up on anything you plant. Its not even close.

If you do want to grow your peach near this woods edge, Id suggest pruning and (preferably) grubbing everything you can (and be prepared to follow up annually) and giving the tree more room to start. A happy peach tree will easily achieve 15 -20 ft in crown width, so planting it 10’ from the woods is actually about the bare minimum.

It could be from being too wet or too dry. Competition from established trees makes for a very difficult situation especially when planting in summer. The established trees suck away water so fast that the new tree needs ICU level care to survive.

Don’t plant another tree now into a similar situation. Wait until fall.

I had a similar issue with the peach trees that I planted this year. The issue was that the trees arrived while the planting site was still under snow and broke bud while waiting to plant. There was fewer roots than shoots so I pruned the shoots down to one or two branches. The trees responded well to the pruning but still get a bit wilted on hot days. During the spring my beer fridge becomes my tree fridge but these were too tall to fit.
Dormant trees are very forgiving. I dug 35 apples out of the ground before bud break, two of which I dropped on my way back to the house and didn’t find them them till the next week. I left the 35 in the fridge and when as the weather warmed I would dig apples that were breaking bud from the nursery and plant in the orchard. Then I planted the 35 completely dormant in late May-early June. I didn’t loose a single one of the dormant trees (including the trees left dug up bare root laying in the sun for a week). But I lost half of the trees that had broke dormancy planted earlier (we had a bit of heat and no rain in May).

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There are a lot of good comments already from very experienced members, but I have a couple to add. Talk to your supplier about getting a replacement this fall when his stock is dormant.
Meanwhile find a better location preferably with good all day sun exposure and at least 30’ feet from a forested area. Test the new site now by digging a hole 3 feet deep and 2 feet wide to assure there are no other tree roots to compete with. Once you locate a good hole give it a 5 gallon bucket of water to time how fast it drains. If it fails to drain you may have a hardpan preventing draining or even a perched water table to deal with. In my location on a glacial moraine, a hardpan exist in several areas but it’s shallow and only about 5” to 6” thick, so I have to pick thru it to assure good drainage. Good luck
Kent, wa