How to Diagnose What Killed Your Peach Tree

A reader asked: Last spring I planted a peach tree, which subsequently died. Someone told me that a peach tree won’t grow near a pine. Is this true? My peach was planted about 25 feet from a pine.

Let us bust this myth for you!

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It’s a myth that fruit trees, like peach trees, planted to close to pines will die simply because of proximity.

It’s a seemingly age-old gardening myth that fruit trees won’t grow near pine trees. Walter Reeves, an expert grower in Georgia says that pines don’t have the same negative effect as black walnut trees on surrounding plants. The roots of the black walnut tree send out chemicals that attack nearby plants, pines do not. This fruit tree vs. pine tree problem is a myth.

Normal competition can exist between old, established trees and new, too closely planted ones not getting enough sunlight. But 25 feet seems sufficient unless the pine was extremely tall.

It’s possible that the pine needles shed by the tree over the years made the soil too acidic; peach trees prefer a pH of 6.0. A soil test for acidity and nutrient content could help solve the mystery behind the peach tree’s death. The pine may have depleted nutrients, and its deep roots robbed the younger tree of water. A new tree needs to be watered slowly and deeply regularly during the dry seasons.

Of course, there are many other reasons the peach tree died. Dig it up and check the roots for rot and the trunk for borer infestation. Don’t plant in the same area until you figure out what killed the peach tree.

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