Troubleshooting a Stressed Tree
Common environmental factors such as too much sun and too much or too little water can have the following symptoms:
- Too much water: yellowing leaves, small leaves, root rot, poor quality fruit that ripens early
- Too little water: wilting and yellowing leaves, fruit ripens and/or drops early, in conjunction with high heat edges of leaves will turn brown or entire leaf may brown and drop off tree
- Sunscald: irregular reddish-brown sunken patches on fruit surface, can be alleviated with proper watering, nutrients, and adding shade cover
If nothing else seems to explain what is wrong with your tree, the likely culprit could be some kind of nutrient deficiency. Based on what is deficient, nutrient deficiencies can have a wide array of symptoms like browning or yellowing leaves, leaves growing unusually, and various problems with the fruit like dark sunken spots, cracking, and brown patches.
If you believe your tree is suffering from a nutrient deficiency, we would recommend getting soil test and/or a plant tissue test to see what the problem may be. Most towns/cities should have an agricultural lab where you can get these tests done or you can mail them to a lab. We get ours done at AgriAnalysis in Stratford for about $10 each and get the following results back. Below is an example from 2020:
As you can see, we have some things to work on; as does just about every soil as its constantly changing! Soil tests are great starting puzzle pieces to help improve nutrients in your soil, crop, and food. If you want to learn more about soil, soil tests, and amending your soil accordingly, we recommend THIS COURSE from Orchard People.