Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Potting a Peach Tree and Some Tree Volunteers. 10.29.14

El Dorado Peach Tree, Uprooted.  10.29.14
 I have been meaning to dig up the smallest of the genetic dwarf peach trees - this is El Dorado - and pot it up.  The main reason is peach leaf curl.  If I can keep it in shelter, out of the rain, in theory, PLC should not be a problem.  I have larger Honey Babe and Garden Sun, too big to dig up and treat this way.

I love peaches but it's been quite difficult growing them here.  The main problem is devastating peach lead curl disease.

This El Dorado Genetic Dwarf Peach tree is really too big to dig up.  It a robust, 6 foot tall tree, well branched.  I started digging yesterday, and finished today.  I dug a trench in a wide circle around the tree, then tried to slice under the tree with a shovel.  I was surprised there was a large thick tap-root.  I had to cut  through it to release the tree.  I pruned to even up the somewhat rough cut, trying to minimize removal of any more feeder roots.

Most of the other roots look ok.  Even though the root pruning was drastic, I've seen worse and the tree survived.  It does look  very drastic to me.  Being fall, there is a chance the tree will re-root itself with feeder roots despite removal of the anchor root.

Reasons it might not live -
*Too drastic removal of roots.
*Residual leaf curl disease on the stems.
*Root mass may freeze.  I plan to keep the tree outside because it needs chill time in order to bloom.

If the tree survives, it will make a nice ornamental.  Genetic dwarf peaches bloom beautifully.

Based on the tree planting info from Linda Chalker-Scott debunking horticultural myths, I did not top the tree or prune top to compensate for loss of root mass.  I did remove dead twigs.  There were a lot of those.

For this winter, I intend to keep the tree under house overhang, on the North side of the house.  That location may also keep it cooler, and delay bloom, which would be good.  But it it does bloom, and frost threatens, I can move it inside on chilly nights.  Next Spring and Summer I can keep it on the deck, for TLC. 

El Dorado Peach Tree, Potted.  10.29.14
 Doubtless, it will need a larger container by early summer.

There are also the peach seedlings at battleground.  They survived potting up and look nice and healthy.

I want at least 2 cherry seedlings in order to create Japanese cherry trees.  I think sweet cherry seedlings should be very robust and make a nice tree.  This was a volunteer sweet cherry from the yard.  At Battleground I also have a few sweet cherry seedlings.  By growing them in containers for a season, I can protect them and give TLC, as I do with figs, for maximal growth.    It would be nice to be able to bud graft at least one, next year.

While I was at it, I also potted up the volunteer fig tree from the front of the house.  It had nice roots.  Based on inspection, it was a stem or cutting, I just don't know from which variety or why it was there.

El Dorado Peach before moving.  10.28.14

Volunteer Fig Bare Root.  10.29.14

Sweet Cherry Seedling.  10.29.14

"Volunteer" Fig and Cherry Seedlings, Potted.  10.29.14


  1. I'M back from LA/MS; I can't agree with you not topping that peach tree.
    It wasn't that bad of a root lost but it will sure set it back a bit. Just personal experience from transplanting a lot of stuff from roses to fruit trees or bonsai. Naturally it will die back by itself or self prune for that matter.
    Funny things about the leaf curl disease, one yr will be so bad that I want to toss the tree but the next, it seems to go away as if nothing have happen. I just ignores it, don't bother with cleaning the fallen diseased leaves or trimming it. Its trying to make you mad but you just have to fight it with patience.
    Talking about seedlings, I dug up a bamboo, pin oak, and a willow oak, can't find a hickory small enough for the suitcase but I got hickory nuts and live oak seeds from LA. A white fig cutting from the botanical garden, I hope it'll make it.
    My garden is too small so the oaks have to be in pots or bonsai.

  2. A year or two ago I would not have agreed with me either. But the linked article is pretty emphatic. I might yet prune it - I don't want it to be too big. Just a nice container tree. Maybe if / after it blooms, I'll prune back to see if I can encourage branching. These are really beautiful in bloom.

    Here the Peach Leaf Curl has been devastating on California varieties, which all of the genetic dwarf types seem to be. I might have to try crossbreeding one with an Oregon Curl Free to see what I get. Most years, bloom is incredible, fruit set is incredible, then whole branches die from leaf curl. Some years I get no peaches at all, most years only a few. PLC comes with the with rains, so I'm hoping, keeping the tree out of the rain is helpful. Here, leaf curl is almost always severe to near lethal, on all of my California type peaches.

    I hope your cuttings and starts do well. That is big fun and very interesting. I love doing that.

    Hope your trip was great!

  3. Yes, the drought in CA actually helps the leaf curl! The peach trees have never done as well as this yr which is the driest I've ever seen. I agree with selecting better variety. Some variety seldom have curls.
    I have southern live oak seeds, I wonder how they will do here, I think its too cold for it. There's a wild Tallow tree that I first thought was a gingko. Seeds were falling everywhere. I also wish I can dig up a cypress tree from my family's property but the suitcase won't co-operate. Fishing was good, I'm planning to go back just for the fishing, trip was too short didn't even pull out the canoe and paddle on the river which is what I was growing up doing. Bass was too small I unhooked and let it go so I can catch him when he gets bigger.

  4. That containerized tree still looks the same as when I planted it. No leaves have wilted and no more have fallen off. Amazing.

    I don't know that you can bring a tree to California. Agricultural regulations and all.

  5. Surprise, Surprise! I checked online about carrying plants with soil and roots etc. I have come across an articles on people bring back orchids from shows within US states, just as easily as any plants. Only items with liquid more then 3.5 oz is not allow which was very disappointing not able to carry-on hot sauce or bring jams to friends. I don't want a small/little bottle of hot sauce, biggest bottle can last me a little longer. I also bough on the plane Satsuma, and kamquat to eat. Only citrus can't go in or out of FL. Domestic flight can allow a lot more strange stuff then international flight.

  6. All of that surprises me. Mail-order / internet nurseries often report they can't send to certain states, including selected plants to my state or your state. Like, grape plants or cuttings, a big no-no due to possible infections that could cause widespread disease in vineyards.

    Live and learn.

  7. I wish I knew that before this trip because I could have bough back a lot more interesting stuff. Nope, never got stop from coming or going both ways. Roses, orchids to LA and bough back willow/pin oak trees to CA. Seeds should never be a problem.