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Got a Peach Tree, roots are all hacked up  RSS feed

 
Posts: 32
Location: Central VA
bike chicken urban
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Some guy offered to cut down a bunch of weedy trees I had in my backyard. I wasn't too keen on it since it's a job I was going to do myself. He gave me a good deal and threw in a peach tree too. So I figured why not. He did a good job with cutting down the trees and last night brought me my peach tree. It's about four feet tall has good foliage, but he hacked the roots up when digging it out. It's got a tap root, a few larger roots off of that and not much else. What can I do to help this poor this pull through?

Should I cut off the leaves to minimize water loss like I would with a cutting? I've got it sitting in some aged compost right now because he came by at 10 pm and I didn't have anything else I could do with it.

I can post pictures when I get out of work if they are needed.
 
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For sure, you need to remove at least 1/2 of the leaves.

I would even cut the top half off, and then remove some leaves.


If you can give it 75% shade the first week or two, along with regular watering (but not overwatering).


 
Ian Pringle
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Troy Rhodes wrote:For sure, you need to remove at least 1/2 of the leaves.

I would even cut the top half off, and then remove some leaves.


If you can give it 75% shade the first week or two, along with regular watering (but not overwatering).




I can definitely cut the top half off. Should I plant it in the ground at this point or just leave it in the pot of compost and take a wait and see attitude? I've got a willow in my front yard, maybe I should make some willow water to help stimulate growth?
 
Troy Rhodes
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I would plant it and be done with it (except for watering...).  The more times you move it, the more times you set it back.

Willow water wouldn't hurt anything.

In my experience, the faster they go in the ground, the better they do.

 
Ian Pringle
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Great thanks! Hopefully I'll have a good report in a few months then!
 
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Willow water will stimulate new root growth as will vitamin B-12 water, the B-12 will also help it recover from shock faster.

As Troy says, the faster you get it into a permanent home the better, you can prune branches or just pluck leaves, your choice but you do need to remove at least 1/3 of the leaves so it can't respire so much that it dries out.

Redhawk
 
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I'm glad I found this thread--thank you for starting it, Ian! My sister-in-law just gave me a peach tree that wasn't doing well on her small property. The tree is three feet tall and has leaf curl. She dug an 18 inch diameter circle around the tree, and about 3-4 inches down of soil. There's no taproot on mine, nor roots coming out of the soil. I planted it right way with some poultry bedding for mulch. I was worried about taking of the leaf curl leaves, but now it seems like removing leaves is a good idea after transplant, so it looks like I should go take off those leaf-curl leaves!
 
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When I get a plant that is root bound, I'll purposely hack off a good third of the roots when I plant it. So far it hasn't increased mortality, even when I do this with trees. I think that like above ground pruning, those hacked up roots will branch out above the cut and may actually dig roots into the new planting hole faster than if they were undamaged. Remembering to water well at the beginning is essential, though.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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hau Cassie, that is very true in the nature of roots. Bonsai are created by root pruning along with top pruning thus creating a full sized tree in miniature.

When I get a new tree from the nursery I always prune the ball at least somewhat then plant and water in with a B-12 blend which stimulates those pruned roots to regrow with vigor.
A cut root will branch, creating two or more roots, each of those will put off a multitude of feeder root hairs (these are temporary in nature they grow, do their job, get old, die and new hair roots grow from the base of the dead ones).

Redhawk
 
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My experience with transplanting established trees (2 years old or older) hasn't been very good.  Once that tap root is damaged, they just don't grow right.  Apples, in particular, can be slow growing trees, but if you damage the tap root, in my experience they don't want to grow much at all.

Apricots are much more hardy.  They can take a lot of abuse and come back.

Figs don't seem to have a tap root and are readily transplantable.  Figs can be cut WAY back, and they seem to like it all the more.

Cherries --- not so much.  I've transplanted one and it took 3 years before it seemed to get its groove back.

Avocados --- never.   Once planted and established, they don't transplant at all.

Citrus --- much more flexible if the tree isn't very old.  They have such fine feeder roots and not a single strong tap root.  But like a fig, you want to trim them back aggressively.

I've never tried to move a plum, but I did move a pluot (very similar) and it did well --- it was stunted for a year, and has done well subsequently.

Take your time and dig a good hole, with a clear space for the tap root to extend straight down into the hold.  Perhaps back-fill around the tap root with some fine soil so that it doesn't crimp or bend.  Getting that right is, in my opinion, the most important thing if you want the tree to have a long and prosperous life.
 
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I'd prune it pretty severely, give it shade for awhile, and water a lot more frequently than if it had good roots. Willow tea sounds like a great idea. I need to learn how to make and use that
 
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