How is this peach tree still alive (sort of)?


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Greetings,

I live in Southern California, USA, and have a young peach tree that is maybe 9 feet tall. In the fall, some bucks came around and cleaned the velvet off their antlers by scraping their antlers on the peach tree trunk. In so doing, they completely stripped away about 2 vertical feet of the outer layer of the bark all the way around (starting from about 10 inches off the ground...very thorough work). I assumed the cambrian layer, or however trees transmit nutrients to their branches, of the tree was gone, and that this badly 'girdled' tree would die. And yet now, in March, it has bloomed and is now leafing out.

I presume this tree is fixin' to die, but it has enough nutrients left in its branches to make one last gasp, right? Or is there some way the tree is still getting nutrients to it branches even though a big section of bark is completely stripped off?

And here is a crazy idea: What if I cut the tree off in two places, once beneath the section damaged by the bucks, and once above that section. And then I graft the top (undamaged) part to the bottom (undamaged) rootstock. I have never grafted fruit trees before, but I know it is commonly done. If, as I suspect, the tree is gonna die anyway, wouldn't my self-grafting plan be worth a try? Worth a shot, or more trouble than it is worth?

Thanks for any advice!

Chuck
 
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I've only had very modest experience with grafting, a section in a propagation class. From what I learned, yes you can cut the damaged portion out and and graft back the to and bottom. In the class the instructor brought in an old timer, a grafting expert from the local rare Fruit Growers group, this fella was of course extremely impressive, informative and helpful. If you go this route and you not 100% on it maybe see if there is a similar organization or maybe even a master gardeners group that could help with information. I'll be interested to see what you decide to do.
 

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