Underwatered vs. Overwatered Peach Tree

It is always nice having fruit trees in your yard. They provide shade, beautiful flowers, and fruit you can eat all in one plant. However, if you don’t live in a suitable climate, it can be a little hard to take care of them and ensure they get the care they need. 

One of the common issues with fruit trees, especially Peach Trees, is that it can be easy to overwater or underwater them. Unfortunately, it can also be hard to tell the difference.

Underwatered Peach Trees look burned or as if they are experiencing an early fall, while overwatered Peach Trees look wilted, weak, and yellow. 

Understanding the differences between these conditions is important, as it allows you to understand how to fix your Peach Tree and prevent any further problems in the future. While underwatering isn’t as bad as overwatering, it can still be dangerous for your plant. 

How Do You Tell if You Are Overwatering or Underwatering Trees?

There are a few ways to check if you are underwatering or overwatering your trees. The first is to check the soil. Like with any other plant, going down into the soil will help determine how dry or wet your soil is. 

While a moisture meter is the best at determining how wet your soil is and is the most accurate, a simple feel of the soil is also good. For younger plants, you just need to stick something about 2 inches (5 cm) into the soil. If the soil is moist and sticks to the object, it is likely still too wet. If nothing is sticking to it, you can probably water it again. 

With larger plants, you can check by going about 6 inches (15 cm) down. It is usually easier to dig a little hole this far down. If the soil is too hard to dig into, that is also an indicator that the soil may be too dry. 

However, good indicators from your plant don’t involve checking the soil. If you aren’t sure if you have been overwatering or underwatering your plant, you can look for some of these signs that warn you. 

Signs of an Overwatered Peach Tree

water pouring in bucket
Peach Trees need a fair amount of water. However, that doesn’t mean that they can’t still be overwatered. Usually, the best way to tell if your Peach Tree is overwatered is to look at the base. If water sits on the soil’s surface, that is a good sign that your plant is getting too much water. 

However, there are more subtle signs as well. Sometimes, the leaves will turn yellow or a brighter shade of green. New growth may also struggle to form fully and may even wither and die before finishing its growth. Even the leaves that are green may look fragile and break easier than you may expect of them. 

Signs of an Underwatered Peach Tree

Unfortunately, overwatered and underwatered plants can look very similar. Yellowing or browning of the leaves can also mean underwatering. While underwatering, a plant will often have dry and brown leaves that are wilted or curled. 

The new growth may be undersized or deformed as well. Sometimes, the leaves will change color and drop as they would in fall, but in a different season. 

How Often Does a Peach Tree Need to Be Watered?

Generally, underwatering is better for your tree than overwatering, so if you aren’t sure if it is time to water your plant or not, it is best to wait a few more days. Peach Trees do need a lot of water, though.

When young, they prefer about three waterings a week. However, Peach Trees prefer less frequent but deeper waterings as they start to establish themselves and grow. Often, around 1 to 1.5 inches (2.5 to 4 cm) of water a week is plenty. 

While you could water a little every day, Peach Trees prefer deeper watering. Watering that full 1.5 inches once a week is usually ideal. You can break it up into two waterings, but any more than that is usually not as helpful. 

If you have underwatered your plant, all you have to do is give it water, and it should bounce back. Keep track of the moisture levels in the soil to prevent it from occurring again. 

However, overwatering can lead to issues like root rot, and extra steps must be taken. Generally, making sure you use a fungicide on the roots to prevent root rot-causing bacteria from growing is a good idea, as well as allowing your soil to dry thoroughly before watering again.

What Is the Screwdriver Test for Trees?

Screwdriver tests are similar to standard watering tests. You take a screwdriver and push it into the ground. However, instead of checking to see if the soil sticks to it, you see how easily you can push the screwdriver into the soil. 

If the screwdriver can easily make it down 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm), that is usually a sign that your Peach Tree still has plenty of water. If it is difficult to get the screwdriver in that far, or it just won’t go, it is probably a good time to water your Peach Tree again. 

Will an Overwatered Tree Recover?

Peach in Tree
An overwatered tree can be recovered. Since you can’t easily move full-grown trees, treating the roots with fungicide is important. This can help prevent any root rot that may occur due to the excess water. Follow the instructions carefully to make sure your plant gets the right application. 

It is also good to ensure your Peach Tree doesn’t get more water. While you can’t control rain, stopping any additional watering via irrigation or a hose is a good idea. Ensure you hold back watering until the soil is completely dry, about 6 inches (15 cm) down. This will help your plant recover and slow down any fungi that might be trying to grow. 

The soil may be the problem if your plant is watered the right amount, but the water is just pooling. Try to mix in more organic materials with the natural soil, especially if you have a lot of clay in your soil. Items like manure, compost, and leaves all help with drainage

How Long Does it Take for an Overwatered Plant to Heal?

You should start seeing signs of your plant recovering in as little as a week. However, fully recovering can take between a few weeks and several months. It depends on the full extent of the damage.

For the most part, a week to a month is expected. When your plant is very close to dying from overwatering or has to combat root rot, it may take a few months to recover fully. 

It is important to note that while you want your plant to recover and don’t want to overwater them again, underwatering can worsen the situation. Usually, a plant does better being underwatered than overwatered, but when they are recovering from overwatering, it is important to give them the right amount of water. 

If parts of your tree died from overwatering, such as branches or leaves, you can also cut those off to encourage recovery. This lets your Peach Tree focus on healthy growth and recovery rather than trying to keep dying areas of itself alive for a little longer. 


Peach Trees can get overwatered or underwatered fairly easily. While both can be bad and cause harm to your tree, overwatering is much worse. While your plant can recover from a few days of underwatering, overwatering can lead to root rot or even a dying Peach Tree if you aren’t careful.

Underwatered Peach Trees look burned or as if they are experiencing an early fall, while overwatered Peach trees look wilted, weak, and yellow.

Thankfully, there are many ways to check the moisture of your soil. If you manage to overwater your Peach Tree, making sure you apply a fungicide and allow your soil to dry fully before rewatering will enable your plant to recover and heal as it should.