Yellowing leaves

Asked May 11, 2019, 4:02 PM EDT

I have two red haven peach trees planted last spring. This spring both seemed to leaf out well but one now has all the leaves yellow and the leaves not as full.

Kent County Michigan

10 Responses

Yellowing leaves can be caused by several problems, water (too much or too little),nutrient issues, soil pH, pests and diseases. Being spring, peach leaf curl would be suspect. Are the leaves disfigured? Is there anything unique about the yellowing tree's location? If you have had a soil test it would be helpful to know its results. What type of soil do you have (sand, clay, loam). If you could share a photo of some individual leaves and the whole tree that would be a big help. I look forward to your response.

One photo attached is the healthy tree. The leaves are not disfigured they are about half the size of the other tree though. Location is not so unique from the other good tree other than its an area where some subsoils got mixed in with top soils. Grass planted last year is growing fine their though. Soil test of top soil was 8ph, very low nitrogen but I fertilized last summer

A pH at 8.0 is extremely high. Peach trees like their pH closer to 6.5. You may be seeing an iron deficiency because of the high pH. The high pH will inhibit the uptake of the iron. The soil pH may need to be reduced to have any success with these trees. Having another soil test may be helpful at this point. You can have one done through MSU: https://homesoiltest.msu.edu.

You may be light on nitrogen do to a fairly wet spring. You should also check to be sure you are getting good drainage. At this point, get a soil test and monitor the trees progress. If the tree's health degrades further or develops other symptoms please get back to us.

Thank, I ordered the soil kit. So when I gather soil should it be it the area where subsoil mixed with top soil or should I take from an area where top soil was not disturbed?

Follow the collection data on the get started tab at https://homesoiltest.msu.edu. Use the 7 in depth. The sample should be in the area around the tree where the soil would influence the root zone.

I sent in the soil kit but as I collected it I'm growing convinced the tree should have been planted higher up and soil augmented for better drainage. Is it too late in the year to correct that?

It is probably best to move a plant when dormant;however, if you can manage to lift it with minimal damage to the roots you would reduce the risk. Was this bare root, ball and burlap, or container on purchase? Don't over amend the soil. Mix (no more than 50%) with native soil. If you move it, it will water regularly until the tree establishes it's roots.

It was bare root. I was thinking to completely dig it out, leaving soil around roots. Fill with better soil about 8" and then put tree with old soul still on roots on top. This would leave the tree (where it meets soil) about 4" above the soil level elsewhere in the area.

If I understand correctly, you will be creating a raised bed for the tree. That should work, but you will need to check it periodically to make sure the raised area stays raised.

Yes you have it. It was 4" too low before so I had dug a bowl around it. I forgot about that until I got under the mulch. After 8" of full it will be 4" above area soil line. Thank you so much for your patience/input. I really have appreciated it. After this we'll see what soil test shows too.