Is there anything wrong with my young pear tree?


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Hi guys. I planted this pear tree around 3 months ago and it didn’t break dormancy up until a couple of weeks ago. Now that it’s leafing out its leaves do not seem healthy to me (look at the somewhat curly edges of the leaves). Note that there are some grapevines around this tree which, time and again, have been infested with powdery mildew and downy mildew, so I’m wondering if it has been contaminated with the same fungi too. I also did not amend the backfill soil when I planted the tree, so maybe it does not get enough nutrition. What do you think? Are the leaves just OK and when they get bigger they will look more robust or are they suffering from some kind of disease or poor fertilization and I have to do something about it?

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Looks like a nutritional issue. The leaves are chlorotic which means either a lack of nitrogen or iron or both. When you fertilize the leaves will start to look normal.
 
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Looks like a nutritional issue. The leaves are chlorotic which means either a lack of nitrogen or iron or both. When you fertilize the leaves will start to look normal.
Thanks. Which one do you think will work better for a young tree: foliar feeding with a 20-20-20 fertilizer which also has micronutrients or adding some sort of slow-release fertilizers to the soil?
 
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Thanks. Which one do you think will work better for a young tree: foliar feeding with a 20-20-20 fertilizer which also has micronutrients or adding some sort of slow-release fertilizers to the soil?
When one foliar feeds a plant it is not just once or twice. It is numerous times because only a certain amount of the fertilizer can be absorbed at one time. When applied as a soil drench it is more effective but one has to be careful when using something like a 20-20-20 chemical fertilizer as it is easy to damage tender roots. I personally never use chemical fertilizers. Organic fertilizers and manures are slow release and save to use. Pear trees are very prone to iron chlorosis especially if you have a soil that has a Ph of over 7. Manures and manure-based fertilizers are excellent at restoring chlorotic plants. It takes a little longer than high number chemical fertilizers but if it were me and you can get it, a couple of applications, both foliar and as a soil drench of Iron Chelate plus a heavy application of blood meal, followed by a heavy application of manure-based compost and fertilizer is what I would do to get you tree into top shape.
 
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When one foliar feeds a plant it is not just once or twice. It is numerous times because only a certain amount of the fertilizer can be absorbed at one time. When applied as a soil drench it is more effective but one has to be careful when using something like a 20-20-20 chemical fertilizer as it is easy to damage tender roots. I personally never use chemical fertilizers. Organic fertilizers and manures are slow release and save to use. Pear trees are very prone to iron chlorosis especially if you have a soil that has a Ph of over 7. Manures and manure-based fertilizers are excellent at restoring chlorotic plants. It takes a little longer than high number chemical fertilizers but if it were me and you can get it, a couple of applications, both foliar and as a soil drench of Iron Chelate plus a heavy application of blood meal, followed by a heavy application of manure-based compost and fertilizer is what I would do to get you tree into top shape.
Thank you very much. So I will foliar feed the tree every other week and amend the soil around the the tree with cow manure.
 
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Update on my not-thriving young pear.

I foliar fed the tree around ten days ago with a full-strength 20-20-20 fertilizer (five grams of fertilizer per liter of water). Moreover, since I saw five or six aphid-like insects on the leaves of the tree l sprayed it with diluted diazinon. So far nothing has changed and the leaves still look droopy and wilted. I should say the situation has even deteriorated because, since yesterday, the leaves of the tree have started to fall (just today I spotted three fallen leaves on the ground.) As you can see in the attached photo the fallen leaf looks chlorotic and the end of its stalk has turned black. Should I feed the tree with a micronutrient fertilizer too? Or maybe a disease or some sort of fungus is the culprit. I also worry that overwatering is the root of the problem since I water the tree twice a week. Can it be the case?
 

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IMO the fertilizer you are using is way too strong. Pears and apples really don't need feeding for about 2 years IF the soil it is planted in is fertile. The wrinkling of the leaves looks like over fertilization to me. What ever you are doing is not working so stop with the 20-20-20. Just get some old manure or manure based compost and put it all around your tree. Harmful insects on a tree shows that the tree is in stress. What I would do is get some Iron Chelate and use it as a soil drench and stop the fertilizing. 20-20-20 is just too strong, no matter if you are using it at half strength. And foliar feeding a tree really is not the way to feed a tree even if it does need feeding.
 
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IMO the fertilizer you are using is way too strong. Pears and apples really don't need feeding for about 2 years IF the soil it is planted in is fertile. The wrinkling of the leaves looks like over fertilization to me. What ever you are doing is not working so stop with the 20-20-20. Just get some old manure or manure based compost and put it all around your tree. Harmful insects on a tree shows that the tree is in stress. What I would do is get some Iron Chelate and use it as a soil drench and stop the fertilizing. 20-20-20 is just too strong, no matter if you are using it at half strength. And foliar feeding a tree really is not the way to feed a tree even if it does need feeding.
Thanks. The leaves were already wrinkled even before applying the fertilizer, so I guess the tree is suffering from another problem. However, I won't feed the tree anymore at least for a couple of months.
 
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Thanks. The leaves were already wrinkled even before applying the fertilizer, so I guess the tree is suffering from another problem. However, I won't feed the tree anymore at least for a couple of months.
Have you had any dramatic weather changes such as from a high temperature to low temps or big changes in humidity? Also, do this. Water in a cup or two of Epsom Salts. There may be something in the makeup of your soil that prohibits the uptake of some nutrient and ES many times fixes this. We know that the NPK is there and available, it just isn't being used for some reason.
 
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Have you had any dramatic weather changes such as from a high temperature to low temps or big changes in humidity? Also, do this. Water in a cup or two of Epsom Salts. There may be something in the makeup of your soil that prohibits the uptake of some nutrient and ES many times fixes this. We know that the NPK is there and available, it just isn't being used for some reason.
I planted the tree in March and over the last 3 months we haven't had any drastic weather change. If I find Epsom Salts here, I will try it, although I have already applied 3 grams of humic acid diluted in 2 liters of water on the soil around the tree in order to tackle the problem that you mentioned. Also, I have spotted some tiny black beetles around the tree coming out of small holes in the ground, can their larvae damage the roots of the tree?
 
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I planted the tree in March and over the last 3 months we haven't had any drastic weather change. If I find Epsom Salts here, I will try it, although I have already applied 3 grams of humic acid diluted in 2 liters of water on the soil around the tree in order to tackle the problem that you mentioned. Also, I have spotted some tiny black beetles around the tree coming out of small holes in the ground, can their larvae damage the roots of the tree?
Humic acid is good. It has many needed trace elements and I would apply it again. I don't know of any beetles that eat living roots but they will eat holes in leaves. The larvae of some beetles eat roots but when the roots of plants are damaged it shows as a wilting and possible yellowing of the leaves, not distortion such as your leaves show. With the absence of severe weather changes, that only leaves nutrition as the problem or the very remote chance of a virus and in all of the pears I have seen with a virus the leaves turn black and fall. When you planted the tree did you leave the root flare exposed?
 
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Humic acid is good. It has many needed trace elements and I would apply it again. I don't know of any beetles that eat living roots but they will eat holes in leaves. The larvae of some beetles eat roots but when the roots of plants are damaged it shows as a wilting and possible yellowing of the leaves, not distortion such as your leaves show. With the absence of severe weather changes, that only leaves nutrition as the problem or the very remote chance of a virus and in all of the pears I have seen with a virus the leaves turn black and fall. When you planted the tree did you leave the root flare exposed?
To be honest, up until now, I did not know anything about root flare exposure. Only when I bought the tree, the guy in the nursery told me to put the graft union about 15 cm (6 inches) above the ground and I guess I planted the tree even higher than his recommendation, however, I believe there is no visible root flare at the soil surface around the trunk of the tree. Right now it's too dark outside, but I will take some photos tomorrow. Oh as a side note, some sprouts keep coming out of the rootstock even some from those parts which are under the ground. Although I immediately snap these shoots off, the leaves on the rootstock look healthier compared with the leaves on the scion. Can this too indicate that I have planted the tree too deep?
 
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To be honest, up until now, I did not know anything about root flare exposure. Only when I bought the tree, the guy in the nursery told me to put the graft union about 15 cm (6 inches) above the ground and I guess I planted the tree even higher than his recommendation, however, I believe there is no visible root flare at the soil surface around the trunk of the tree. Right now it's too dark outside, but I will take some photos tomorrow. Oh as a side note, some sprouts keep coming out of the rootstock even some from those parts which are under the ground. Although I immediately snap these shoots off, the leaves on the rootstock look healthier compared with the leaves on the scion. Can this too indicate that I have planted the tree too deep?
It's possible it is planted too deep, I will just have to look and see. Sprouts coming from the rootstock is fairly normal but be sure to snip them off. What is the Ph of your soil? Pears do best from about 6-7.5. If your soil is overly alkaline Epsom Salts really helps in some aspects but not as much when the soil is very acidic. If it is acidic you can add lime and raise the Ph and if very alkaline you can add sulfur to lower the Ph but, there is something in Epsom Salts that allows calcium and other trace elements to be used by the plant.
 
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It's possible it is planted too deep, I will just have to look and see. Sprouts coming from the rootstock is fairly normal but be sure to snip them off. What is the Ph of your soil? Pears do best from about 6-7.5. If your soil is overly alkaline Epsom Salts really helps in some aspects but not as much when the soil is very acidic. If it is acidic you can add lime and raise the Ph and if very alkaline you can add sulfur to lower the Ph but, there is something in Epsom Salts that allows calcium and other trace elements to be used by the plant.
Unfortunately, I have never tested the Ph of the soil in my backyard, but I know for a fact that the soil of the region I live in is mostly alkaline, yet there are still some productive pear orchards in my home town.
 
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Unfortunately, I have never tested the Ph of the soil in my backyard, but I know for a fact that the soil of the region I live in is mostly alkaline, yet there are still some productive pear orchards in my home town.
Just remember that sulfur lowers Ph. Epsom Salts (magnesium sulfate) can really do wonders, but I can't guarantee it in this circumstance. My best advice is to let the tree do its thing. Just keep it watered correctly and see what happens. And throw that 20-20-20 in the garbage and go get some manure of some kind.
 
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Just remember that sulfur lowers Ph. Epsom Salts (magnesium sulfate) can really do wonders, but I can't guarantee it in this circumstance. My best advice is to let the tree do its thing. Just keep it watered correctly and see what happens. And throw that 20-20-20 in the garbage and go get some manure of some kind.
Here are two photos of the base of my tree. As I mentioned before, it seems that the root flare has been covered with the soil, though the graft union is well above the ground. Moreover, as you can see, on one side of the trunk there are two relatively big wounds which I suppose were inflicted on the rootstock in the nursery when they wanted to pull the tree out of the ground. Should I be worried about these wounds too?
 

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Here are two photos of the base of my tree. As I mentioned before, it seems that the root flare has been covered with the soil, though the graft union is well above the ground. Moreover, as you can see, on one side of the trunk there are two relatively big wounds which I suppose were inflicted on the rootstock in the nursery when they wanted to pull the tree out of the ground. Should I be worried about these wounds too?
It is buried too deep. Remove enough soil to see the top of the large roots. Those wounds are old and closed. As a factor in your tree today it is possible as those wounds had to have stressed a young tree but the wound themselves is nothing to worry about now.
 
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It is buried too deep. Remove enough soil to see the top of the large roots. Those wounds are old and closed. As a factor in your tree today it is possible as those wounds had to have stressed a young tree but the wound themselves is nothing to worry about now.
OK, thanks.
 

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