How do I correct a poorly begun peach tree?


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Hello everybody!
I am completely new to this subject. I've researched, but haven't found information specific to my problem, so I hope someone hereabouts can help me. I was given a young (2-3 years old I guess) poorly pruned peach tree (pictures attached) in a 2 gallon pot. From what I saw, the roots don't seem to be very well developed (far from being root-bound). I planted it with a mixture of the sandy soil it came in, some store-bought garden soil, and some natural fertilizer. It's about 10 feet tall, and 12-18 inches above the ground - where I'm thinking of pruning below the two, narrowly crotched scaffolding branches - the trunk is one inch in diameter. In other words, from what I've read and seen, I need to chop it back to a stub to create 3-4 new, better angled scaffolds. My questions are: should I in fact do this, is it ok to do it now in the middle of May, and how risky is it? I am in Ankara, Turkey, which I'm told has a climate similar to Denver. Thanks in advance for your help!


Thumb of 2020-05-16/dm0hotmailcom/b3e1c6


Thumb of 2020-05-16/dm0hotmailcom/901ada

Close-up of trunk below the scaffolds
Thumb of 2020-05-16/dm0hotmailcom/593c71
 
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Hello everybody!
I am completely new to this subject. I've researched, but haven't found information specific to my problem, so I hope someone hereabouts can help me. I was given a young (2-3 years old I guess) poorly pruned peach tree (pictures attached) in a 2 gallon pot. From what I saw, the roots don't seem to be very well developed (far from being root-bound). I planted it with a mixture of the sandy soil it came in, some store-bought garden soil, and some natural fertilizer. It's about 10 feet tall, and 12-18 inches above the ground - where I'm thinking of pruning below the two, narrowly crotched scaffolding branches - the trunk is one inch in diameter. In other words, from what I've read and seen, I need to chop it back to a stub to create 3-4 new, better angled scaffolds. My questions are: should I in fact do this, is it ok to do it now in the middle of May, and how risky is it? I am in Ankara, Turkey, which I'm told has a climate similar to Denver. Thanks in advance for your help!


Thumb of 2020-05-16/dm0hotmailcom/b3e1c6


Thumb of 2020-05-16/dm0hotmailcom/901ada

Close-up of trunk below the scaffolds
Thumb of 2020-05-16/dm0hotmailcom/593c71
The first thing you must do is remove enough of the soil to uncover the root flare. A covered root flare will cause the tree to have a lot of serious problems. A tree does not gain height from the bottom. It grows taller from the top, so where ever you cut the trunk, that will be as tall as the trunk will get. Remove the smaller diameter scaffolding limb. You now have a single trunk tree. This trunk must now be topped which means cutting the top off of the tree. You should cut the trunk about 1 foot above where there are at least 3 scaffolding limbs that are fairly close together. From the picture I cannot see a third limb close to the first limb up from where you cut off the right fork of the trunk. I can see only two. If there is a third limb cut the trunk about a foot above these limbs. If there isn't a third limb cut these two limbs off and cut the trunk a foot above the next three limbs.
 
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I recommend you do the above while the tree is dormant.
Whilst it is definitely the case that all movement of trees is best done whilst dormant, as Meadowlark says, your tree, not being bare root, should withstand the process okay.
It is also the case that leaving it to continue to grow in that pot, becoming more & more rootbound, will not do it any good at all.
So I suggest trying to put everything in that pot straight into a prepared bigger pot, with plenty of mycorrhizal fungus spores.
 
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Thanks everyone for your replies.

I just noticed that both branches of the fork appear to be grafted also. So 3 grafts in total. Am I correct, and does this matter in what to do? Photo below. I've also added a photo of the first three branches on the most upright main branch. So if I prune the other main branch, these will be the new scaffolds. They are about 4 feet from the ground.
 

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Thanks everyone for your replies.

I just noticed that both branches of the fork appear to be grafted also. So 3 grafts in total. Am I correct, and does this matter in what to do? Photo below. I've also added a photo of the first three branches on the most upright main branch. So if I prune the other main branch, these will be the new scaffolds. They are about 4 feet from the ground.
I don't think that those are graft points but it doesn't really matter. "If" that fork were grafted it would split from the trunk because of its weight when loaded with fruit.
Yes, after cutting the other fork those will be the new scaffolds. They look pretty good, which is growing at the correct angle and spaced fairly well evenly around the trunk. Top the trunk about 8-12 inches above the new scaffolds. And don't forget to expose the root flare. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of this.
 
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Thanks for your further replies. Based on your recommendations, I planned to take Chuck’s advice, but later while the tree is dormant according to Meadowlark. I have uncovered it down to the first root. However, the leaves are not developing further and I’m afraid it’s slowly dying. I’d appreciate further ideas. Thanks!
 
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Thanks for your further replies. Based on your recommendations, I planned to take Chuck’s advice, but later while the tree is dormant according to Meadowlark. I have uncovered it down to the first root. However, the leaves are not developing further and I’m afraid it’s slowly dying. I’d appreciate further ideas. Thanks!
Please send pictures of the base and of the tree.
 
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Hi Chuck, here are the photos you requested. I checked the base again and apparently the little first roots that I had dug down to before have died, or I was mistaken that they were even roots (I didn’t want to damage them, so I didn’t dig deep enough to clearly see them - I’m a real rookie, for sure). So now I’ve uncovered down to what I’m sure is the first root (about another 2 inches).
 

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Hi Chuck, here are the photos you requested. I checked the base again and apparently the little first roots that I had dug down to before have died, or I was mistaken that they were even roots (I didn’t want to damage them, so I didn’t dig deep enough to clearly see them - I’m a real rookie, for sure). So now I’ve uncovered down to what I’m sure is the first root (about another 2 inches).
Yes, that is the top of the root flare. Now, just clean off the top of the roots and extend the dirt removal to a radius of about 1 foot. Then put in place some kind of barrier to keep the root flare exposed as during rains soil will wash back onto the flare covering it up again. After the barrier is in place you could remove the grass another foot or so and cover that area up with mulch.
 
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Yes, that is the top of the root flare. Now, just clean off the top of the roots and extend the dirt removal to a radius of about 1 foot. Then put in place some kind of barrier to keep the root flare exposed as during rains soil will wash back onto the flare covering it up again. After the barrier is in place you could remove the grass another foot or so and cover that area up with mulch.
Ok, I’ll do that, thanks. Do you think the leaves will start developing now? They’re still tiny more than a month - maybe two - after they sprouted.
 
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Ok, I’ll do that, thanks. Do you think the leaves will start developing now? They’re still tiny more than a month - maybe two - after they sprouted.
Just give it some time to recover. The tree also needs nutrition. Can you get organic fertilizers in Turkey? If so, feed with that. If not organic fertilizer then use old dried manure
 
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Just give it some time to recover. The tree also needs nutrition. Can you get organic fertilizers in Turkey? If so, feed with that. If not organic fertilizer then use old dried manure
Yes, it’s available. I already used some when I planted it. But is it okay to cover the root flare with it? How would I mix it with the soil without damaging the roots?
 
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Yes, it’s available. I already used some when I planted it. But is it okay to cover the root flare with it? How would I mix it with the soil without damaging the roots?
No, keep everything off of the root flare. With organic fertilizer you just sprinkle it around on top of the soil out to the dripline of the tree and water it in. What is the name and NPK of the fertilizer you used?
 
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No, keep everything off of the root flare. With organic fertilizer you just sprinkle it around on top of the soil out to the dripline of the tree and water it in. What is the name and NPK of the fertilizer you used?
Sorry, then I misunderstood. What I used was I guess local brand natural fertilizer, which I suppose is just the dried manure (no NPK printed). I don’t know about the organic fertilizer. I know there is chemical fertilizer available, but I wouldn’t want to use that. Would I apply the manure the same way?
 
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Sorry, then I misunderstood. What I used was I guess local brand natural fertilizer, which I suppose is just the dried manure (no NPK printed). I don’t know about the organic fertilizer. I know there is chemical fertilizer available, but I wouldn’t want to use that. Would I apply the manure the same way?
Without knowing what it is it is difficult to say. Is it poultry manure or horse or cow? With most manures you just apply a layer around and out to the drip line maybe about an inch deep but, don't put it on top of the root flare. It won't burn the root flare but in time will cover it up. The big root flare roots are not feeder roots. The flare roots are what the feeder roots are attached to. Feeder roots are small, tiny, and are found slightly below the soil surface and downward. Straight dried manures are fairly mild except for chicken manure which is a little hotter but by watering in the layer of manure it dilutes it and stops it from burning the feeder roots. Feeder roots extend out to the drip line and maybe a little further. On your tree, I would layer the manure in a radius of about 2 feet.
 
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Without knowing what it is it is difficult to say. Is it poultry manure or horse or cow? With most manures you just apply a layer around and out to the drip line maybe about an inch deep but, don't put it on top of the root flare. It won't burn the root flare but in time will cover it up. The big root flare roots are not feeder roots. The flare roots are what the feeder roots are attached to. Feeder roots are small, tiny, and are found slightly below the soil surface and downward. Straight dried manures are fairly mild except for chicken manure which is a little hotter but by watering in the layer of manure it dilutes it and stops it from burning the feeder roots. Feeder roots extend out to the drip line and maybe a little further. On your tree, I would layer the manure in a radius of about 2 feet.
Ok Chuck, thanks for your time, knowledge and patience. Hopefully I’ll be able to report a healthier tree after some time. (Although I always assumed it was cow manure, I don’t really know as it’s not written on the bag.)
 
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Ok Chuck, thanks for your time, knowledge and patience. Hopefully I’ll be able to report a healthier tree after some time. (Although I always assumed it was cow manure, I don’t really know as it’s not written on the bag.)
If it cow or horse manure they are about the same NPK but the horse has a slightly higher nitrogen content.
 
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