Many gardeners steer clear of peaches because it’s assumed they can’t grow in colder regions. But if you live anywhere in USDA hardiness zones 5a-9a, Peaches will grow outdoors just fine. There are even dwarf cultivars that can be grown in containers and brought inside in the colder months.
Peach Trees can be a bit fussier than your typical landscaping tree. They like sandy, acidic soil and full sun, which can be tricky if you live somewhere with temperamental weather. Unfortunately, Peach Trees are also susceptible to many diseases.
Yellow leaves on your Peach Tree are an early sign that something is wrong such as a nutrient deficiency, under or overwatering, or a disease called bacterial spot. To fix yellow leaves on your Peach Tree, use a balanced fertilizer in the spring, only water when the soil is dry, and use a copper fungicide if you notice bacterial spot on the leaves.
We’ll look at these issues in greater detail so you can properly diagnose your Peach Tree.
Why Does My Peach Tree Have Yellow Leaves?
A Peach Tree can be difficult to keep happy if you aren’t aware of its specific needs. Some of the most common issues with this tree that results in yellow leaves include:
- Nutrient deficiency
- Overwatering or underwatering
- Bacterial spot disease
What Nutrient Deficiency Causes Yellow Leaves?
Peach Trees need fertilization every spring before they produce flowers and fruit. A balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer that contains 10% nitrogen, 10% phosphorus, and 10% potassium is suitable. Because chemical fertilizers dry out the soil, it’s best to use compost as fertilizer. Rake the compost directly into the soil around your Peach Tree for the best results.
Without proper fertilization, your Peach Tree may suffer nutrient deficiency. Some of the most common nutrient deficiencies in Peach Trees include:
All of these deficiencies can cause yellow leaves in one form or another. Zinc deficiency causes leaves to have blotches of yellow, whereas a nitrogen deficiency will turn the entire leaf yellow.
What Does An Overwatered Peach Tree Look Like?
Regular rainfall will provide enough water if your Peach Tree is planted outdoors. Watering by hand is rarely required. Peach Trees prefer well-drained sandy soil, so overwatering can waterlog the soil and cause root rot. Rotten roots cannot take in water or nutrients, making the leaves turn yellow.
Overwatering can also lead to disease. Phytophthora root rot and crown rot are the two most common diseases that affect an overwatered Peach Tree. Both cause rotting at the base of the tree. Fungicides have little effect on these diseases.
Unfortunately, underwatering can cause as much damage as overwatering. Trees get their nutrients from the water in the soil, so when that source of nutrients dries up, the leaves will turn yellow in response. Underwatering your Peach Tree after fertilizing it can also lead to root burn from the salt in the fertilizer.
Peach Tree Leaves Turning Yellow with Holes
Bacterial spot is a pathogen that affects the stems, leaves, and fruit of Peach Trees. It causes brown holes to form in leaves, effectively killing the leaf. After brown spots form, the leaf will turn yellow and drop off.
Bacterial spot is caused by a bacteria called Xanthomonas arboricola pv. pruni. It infects Peach Trees in moist conditions and temperatures greater than 65°F (18°C). It also tends to go after trees which are lacking nutrients. If you notice a bacterial spot on your Peach Tree, the best remedy is to spray your tree with a copper fungicide.
How Do You Treat Yellow Leaves on a Tree?
Unfortunately, tree leaves that turn yellow will not turn green again. Trees conserve energy from dead or dying leaves by drawing even more nutrients away from them. Once this process begins, it will not reverse.
The best way to fix yellowing leaves is to give your tree the best care possible. Regular, yearly fertilization will prevent a lack of nutrients. Avoid overwatering to protect your tree from bacteria and fungi, which prefer wet soil.
If you find watering your tree tricky, try using the “screwdriver test.” Take a regular screwdriver and insert it into the soil near your tree. Be careful not to damage any roots. Your tree likely needs a drink if you have difficulty pushing the screwdriver into the soil.
Many gardeners will water their trees at the first sign of drooping leaves, which can lead to overwatering. Use the screwdriver test to determine whether water is the problem before adding more.
Does Neem Oil Help With Peach Leaf Curl?
Peach leaf curl is caused by a fungus called Taphrina deformans. It commonly affects the Peach Tree leaves, fruit, and stems. It causes leaves to turn thick and red and the ends to curl. Eventually, the leaves will turn yellow, then gray, then drop completely.
Since leaf curl is so common with Peach Trees, it’s recommended that you spray your tree every year with a fungicide. Organic fungicides like neem oil are popular because they are not harmful to humans.
Although neem oil has been proven effective against leaf curl in Peach Trees, a copper fungicide is the better choice. Copper fungicides contain metal ions that penetrate the leaf and kill the proteins in pathogens. You must wear protective gear when spraying this fungicide, as it can cause skin and eye irritation.
What Month Do Peach Trees Lose Their Leaves?
Like most fruit trees, Peach Trees are deciduous. They produce fruit in the summer and lose their leaves in the fall.
Peach tree leaves typically turn orange and yellow as the tree prepares to go dormant. So, if your Peach Tree leaves change color and drop in October and November, there’s no need to worry. The tree will go bare in the winter and sprout leaves again in the spring when it warms up.
What Time of Year Do You Spray Peach Trees?
If spraying your Peach Tree with a copper fungicide, you should wait until the tree is dormant. Experts recommend spraying copper fungicide once the leaves have fully dropped from the Peach Tree in late fall or winter. This is done so that the fungicide doesn’t kill beneficial insects.
Is Miracle-Gro Food For Fruit Trees?
Miracle-Gro is a brand of plant food fertilizer. Their most popular product is their “All-Purpose Plant Food.” It’s sold as a powder and must be diluted with water before applying it to plants. This fertilizer contains an NPK ratio of 24-8-16. That’s 24% nitrogen, 8% phosphorus, and 16% potassium.
Peach Trees mainly require the nutrients nitrogen and potassium. While Miracle-Gro would be sufficient, a better ratio of nutrients would be a 12-4-8 fertilizer or a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer.
Are Coffee Grounds Good for Peach Trees?
Peach Trees like their soil to be slightly acidic. A pH between 6.0-6.5 is suitable. A pH below 7.0 indicates acidity, whereas a pH above 7.0 is alkaline.
It’s always best to test your soil’s pH with a soil tester or soil strips. You may need to add acidic material to lower the pH if it’s too alkaline. One of the most popular materials to use is peat moss.
Peat moss is made of decomposed material from bogs. It’s filled with nutrients and has an acidic pH of 3.0-4.0. You can rake peat moss directly into your garden soil to create a suitable environment for your Peach Tree.
Another trick gardeners love to use is adding coffee grounds. Most coffee grounds are naturally acidic, with pH levels between 4.0-5.0. Coffee also acts as an excellent slow-release fertilizer, as it contains nitrogen.
The Peach Tree can be tricky to grow, as it’s susceptible to issues like overwatering and disease. Its leaves turn yellow in response to stress, letting you know something is wrong.
Often, yellow leaves are caused by overwatering. This plant likes sandy, well-drained soil and will suffer from root rot with too much water. Be careful not to underwater your plant, as this can lead to a nutrient deficiency.
Peach Tree leaves will also turn yellow from a lack of nutrients if you don’t regularly fertilize your tree. Be wary of diseases like bacterial spot, which produces yellow leaves and large holes in the fruit and must be treated with a copper fungicide.