Caring For Purple Leaf Peach Trees – Tips On Growing A Purple Leaf Peach Tree
By: Amy Grant
Not all peach trees have the typical green foliage. These dwarf purple leaf peach trees add pizzazz to any landscape with the added bonus of fruit. If you’re interested in growing a purple leaf peach, read on to find out about purple leaf peach care.
What are Red or Purple Leaf Peach Trees?
There are several peach (Prunus persica) varieties that sport reddish purple leaves. The most common and readily available is ‘Bonfire.’ Bonfire is a dwarf purple leaf peach tree that only grows to about 5 feet in height (1.5 meters) in 5 years and the same distance across, making it almost more of a shrub than a tree.
This cultivar is hardy in USDA zones 5-9 and is tolerant of temperatures down to -10, possibly -20 F. (-23 to -29 C.). These particular peaches with reddish purple leaves are derived from the rootstock of ‘Royal Red Leaf,’ a taller red leaf variety.
As mentioned, the beauty of growing a dwarf purple leaf peach is the easy accessibility of harvest and its hardiness. Unfortunately, by all accounts, the fruit is rather flavorless eaten fresh, but it is edible and can be made into preserves or baked into pies.
Bonfire is also an excellent choice for those with smaller gardens or as a container grown tree. The beautiful lance-shaped leaves of Bonfire retain their color from spring to fall.
Caring for Purple Leaf Peach Trees
Caring for purple leaf peach trees is the same as for peaches with green foliage. Like all peaches, Bonfire is susceptible to quite a number of insect pests and diseases.
Plant Bonfire peach trees in full sun in nutrient rich, well-draining soil with a pH of about 6.5 in the spring or fall. Mulch around the tree to help retain moisture and cool roots, taking care to keep the mulch away from the trunk.
Peach trees, in general, are fairly high maintenance requiring watering, pruning, consistent feeding and spraying for pests and disease. Purple leaf peach care is much the same, albeit easier to access and treat, prune or harvest due to its smaller height.
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How to Stop Your Peach Tree's Leaves From Curling
Peach leaf curl, a common disease that causes yellow and red distortions to appear on foliage, is difficult to treat once it takes over a tree. The disease spreads via a fungus, Taphrina deformans. In the summer, spores land on the tree, and they germinate when the weather turns wet and cool in autumn. Treating your peach tree with a fungicide every year keeps the fungus spores from germinating and destroying your harvest. If the fungus has already infected the tree, minimizing stress helps ensure its full recovery.
Fill a hand-pump sprayer with 1 quart of ready-to-use liquid copper ammonium fungicide per 10 square yards of treatment area. Add 1 percent horticultural spray oil to the fungicide to increase its effectiveness.
Apply the fungicide to the peach trees in autumn after 90 percent of leaves have fallen. Spray all plant material, including the trunk, branches and both sides of the leaves.
Treat the trees again in spring before buds begin to swell. This is necessary if treating heavily diseased trees.
Remove the fruit from diseased trees after they lose their leaves to minimize stress.
Apply extra nitrogen fertilizer after leaves drop to give the trees nutrients needed to recover.
- Consider planting peach trees that are resistant to the leaf curl disease. Some varieties include Muir, Indian Free, Q-1-8 and Frost.
- If you have several trees, treat them all, not just the infected one. Spores spread easily from tree to tree, and a new infection may crop up next year.
Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, "The Colt," writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.
Copper Beech (Fagus sylvatica)AndyRoland / Getty Images
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Copper beech trees feature purple leaves and produce beechnuts, which are edible for wildlife and humans. As the experts at the Kew Garden note, the young leaves of copper beech are also edible. Copper beeches may grow very large—up to 100 feet, depending on the variety. Recommended varieties include 'Purpurea,' 'Atropurpurea,' and 'Atropunicea' weeping copper beech varieties with purple foliage include 'Purpurea Pendula' and 'Purple Fountain.'
- USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 7
- Color Varieties: Green, purple, yellow or variegated leaves
- Sun Exposure: Full to partial sun
- Soil Needs: Any well-drained soil