Treating Waterlogged Peach Trees – Is It Bad To Have Peaches In Standing Water


By: Mary Ellen Ellis

Peach waterlogging can be a real problem when growing this stone fruit. Peach trees are sensitive to standing water and the issue can reduce crop yield and even kill a tree if it is not addressed. The best way to handle the situation when a peach tree is waterlogged is to avoid it happening in the first place.

Waterlogging Peach Tree Problems

While most crop plants prefer not to have standing water, some can tolerate it better than others. Peach trees are not on that list. They are very sensitive to waterlogging. Standing water around the roots of a tree can cause serious problems. The main issue is that the waterlogging creates an anaerobic environment for the roots. Roots need access to oxygen in the soil to be healthy and to grow.

Signs of waterlogged peach trees include color changes in the leaves from healthy green to yellow or even a deep red or purple. The leaves may then begin to shed. Ultimately, the roots will die. When investigated, the dead roots will look black or dark purple on the inside and give off a terrible smell.

How to Avoid Peaches in Standing Water

The key to avoiding peach waterlogging is to prevent overwatering and the collection of standing water. Knowing how much to water a peach tree is a good starting point. About an inch (2.5 cm.) of water during any week without rain should be adequate. It is also important to plant peach trees in areas where the soil will drain well or to amend the soil to drain.

Agricultural research has shown that growing peach trees on raised ridges or beds can also keep the soil drier and prevent water from standing around the roots. You can also minimize the risks of waterlogging by selecting certain rootstocks. Peach trees grafted to Prunus japonica, P. salicina, and P. cerasifera have been shown to survive waterlogging better than those on other rootstocks.

Being especially sensitive to it, waterlogging is a serious issue with peach trees. Great care should be taken to prevent standing water to avoid lower fruit yields and even the death of your fruit trees.

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Alleviation of waterlogged stress in peach seedlings inoculated with Funneliformis mosseae: Changes in chlorophyll and proline metabolism

Peach plants are highly susceptible to soil waterlogging.

This study was made to evaluate AM effects on waterlogging stress in peach.

AMs markedly increased chlorophyll a, b, and a + b concentration under waterlogging.

AM plants had higher proline level and P5CS activity but lower δ-OAT and ProDH activity.


When a tree is infected with gummosis (Botryosphaeria dothidea), small blisters with a raised center and a gummy resin start to appear on young bark during the late growing season or the following spring. Fungicides aren't always effective against this disease, although captan repeatedly applied to bark may help. The best defense is to keep trees from becoming waterlogged and to remove and destroy dead wood. Some peach tree varieties, like Harbrite, are less susceptible to gummosis.

Peach canker (Cytospora leu­costoma and Cytospora cincta) is a leading cause of death to peach trees. The first signs include gummy sap around wounded bark that appears in the early spring. Later symptoms include black specks on bark, tiny curled orange or amber strands and dead callus ridges. Instead of fungicides, which are ineffective, prevention involves avoiding pruning weak narrow-angled crotches in young trees and waiting until early spring to prune. With already-affected trees, remove or burn all cankered bark and limbs.


DON’T use too little—or too much—mulch.

Three to four inches of organic mulch like hardwood or cocoa bean hulls applied around a plant or tree, but not touching it, is ideal for suppressing weeds, maintaining proper soil temperature, and conserving water. Be especially careful with hardwood mulch against your home’s foundation: Piled too high, it’s an invitation for termites. To prevent an infestation, only apply mulch there if absolutely necessary, tapering it so that the layer thins as it nears the house and leaves six inches of concrete is exposed.


Gummosis Disease

Remove the surrounding plants and debris from the base of the tree if you do not find any holes and the peach tree does not have an infected canker. Feel the soil for dampness. Gummosis disease is caused when the peach tree takes up too much water. It is common in dwarf peach trees.

Fertilize the peach tree in the spring and midsummer to promote vigorous growth. Once the canopy spreads out, the difference between water uptake and evaporation through the leaves is equalized. This will stop leaking sap as a way to get rid of excess water.

Keep the ground bare and without mulch so the soil stays dry to the touch. Do not mulch the tree in the winter until the sap stops flowing.


Watch the video: Fruit Trees and Berries for the Urban Landscape, Part I


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