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I have a nectarine tree, about 5 years old. It has the main trunk to about 2 feet high, then three main branches. These are all grey, moss grows on them, and although I made a feeble attempt at pruning, leaves only grow at the very top of each branch (about 8 ft off the ground). The rest of the tree looks dead all year round.

I’m inclined to pull the tree out and start again – but before I do that, is there any recommendation you’d make for an attempted recovery?

The tree is planted in a lawn area, and grass is clear from the trunk to the dripline. No current mulch, and no feeding at this point (I’m assuming some mulch and blood-and-bone could be beneficial, if it is worth giving this a go).

Any thoughts welcomed.

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Hi Catherine

Thanks for your question. It does sound like your tree is feeling rather sick. Moss can be a sign of deficiency and with the tree looking quite lackless it may be best to start again. The thing to check is it’s location with wind? Nectarine and all of the stone fruit like Apricot and Peach do poorly in a windy location and make them vulnerable to all sorts of die-back issues and even resistance to leaf curl as well. The ideal location is full sun for ripening the fruit and in a sheltered space from wind, with a well prepared hole using quality compost mixed in with a little bit of the existing soil. Plant the tree at the depth of the original potted tree as well to prevent the trunk from rotting or covering the graft of the tree.

Happy gardening

Maria – Palmers national garden consultant

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