During summer, the leaves on my peach tree turn an orange-green shade. Is this normal? Is this a response to heat stress, drought, or something else (e.g. mineral deficiency during high heat conditions). The color change is almost as if it was Autumn/Fall, but the leaves change color far too early and they do not drop. I was looking last night (whilst watering it) and noticed new leaves that are just emerging are a nice fresh,healthy green color.

This is NOT orange leaf curl, which is a fungi that deforms leaves and eventually kills the tree.

Tree age: approx 4 years old. About 7-8 ft high. No fruit yet, although it had its first two blossoms this spring. Variety: Unknown (gift that was little more than a "stick in a bucket of clay"). So it might even be a nectarine.

Location: North Texas. 100+F daily highs have been normal this summer, and not unusual most summers.

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    If it's just one or two/branch, it's normal. Mine does too, and I just remove them. I'll let someone else w/ more experience leave a better, authoritative answer. Commented Aug 28, 2011 at 19:19
  • More the whole tree. They don't go completely orange (in which case I would think they are dying) but a mix of green/orange. One thought is that it could be normal - I see it every year, but it could be stress issue - with the tree getting the same stress every summer?
    – winwaed
    Commented Aug 28, 2011 at 19:37
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    That does look like stress from the heat. My cherry trees and peach tree started turning slightly off-green and more orange when it started getting hot. Luckily, it never gets that hot here and the temperaturs came down in 2 weeks and the trees are back to normal. Commented Aug 28, 2011 at 19:53
  • The new leaves just coming out are green - perhaps they start like this during summer - or perhaps this is the result of a week of my more normal watering (vs. the kids next door during my absence - although they DID do a good job with the peppers)
    – winwaed
    Commented Aug 28, 2011 at 20:13

1 Answer 1


I think "yoda's" above comment should be put into an answer, seeing as he has firsthand experience (IMHO).

I know for a fact, via listening to "Gardening Naturally with John Dromgoole" weekly podcast, that Texas has had an exceptionally brutal summer this year:

  • Summer heat started really early in the year.

  • Virtually zero rain fall (except for the odd very lucky area).

  • Record number of days (not continuously) over 100°F (38°C).

Those above factors have put a lot! of stress on tress, even affecting fully grown mature ones...

Is the reason why Arborist Don Gardner put together and released his "Watering Guidelines" for tress this year:

I believe what you're seeing (and have heard Don Gardner say the exact same thing only a couple of weeks ago), "leaves on my peach tree turn an orange-green shade" is in direct response to the weather conditions you've been experiencing in Texas, and is a natural survival mode that the tree has gone into ie

  • Tree starting to lose its leaves early than normal, so it can concentrate all its energy on surviving.

Just in the past week here in Missouri I've started to notice tree leaves (even on mature tress) browning, changing colour and falling off. Missouri has experienced a very! hot and dry July and August, more so than normal.

If the tree isn't mulched, I would:

  • Put down a 2inch (50mm) layer of compost, starting about 4inches (100mm) away from the trunk and work outward as far as you can (is practical to-do-so).

I'd also:

  • Follow Don Gardner's "Watering Guidelines".

I highly recommend you listen to, "You Bet Your Garden" podcast -- Not So Perfect Produce, 27the August 2011 (Direct link to MP3) and start listening at 13mins:27secs in.

How to water your lawn perfectly with Guy Fipps, PhD, P.E., Director of the Irrigation Technology Center at Texas A&M University.

Ignore the above "How to water your lawn perfectly", the watering information given by Guy Fipps, PhD, P.E. is first class (IMHO) and the link to "Irrigation Technology Center" is worth its weight in water for anyone living in Texas.

Additionally you may wish to take the time (7 minutes) to listen to this podcast:

Richard Hentschel, Horticulture Educator and Retired Extension Plant Pathologist Jim Schuster discuss drought and drowning symptoms and the long term problems with annuals, perennials and woody plants. Also discuss are methods for proper watering and indicators of drought and drowining

  • Thanks Mike: Well I'm definitely not giving my smaller trees "1 hr of watering"! (the others are a red bud and a mimosa tree - the latter is very responsive to too little water). I'll try this tonight or tomorrow night. The tree is in grass (which is of course longer as I don't water the lawn itself - just trees, peppers,etc). Next year I'll consider a mulch approach - esp. as I'll be planting the second tree out in spring.
    – winwaed
    Commented Aug 28, 2011 at 20:02
  • Parts of TX have broken records for continuous 100F days (eg. Houston I think). DFW got within a couple of days of the record so it had to have a few 98F days before returning back to 100F - I was half way up a mountain in Snowdonia in the rain at the time! :-) They're currently forecasting a break at the end of the week with thunderstorms. 100F in the first half of September isn't unusual but I've never known 100F temperatures in the second half. Let's hope it stays that way...
    – winwaed
    Commented Aug 28, 2011 at 20:05
  • @winwaed, Well I'm definitely not giving my smaller trees "1 hr of watering"! <-- Do you mean you haven't been or you won't? Personally I think Don's Watering Guidelines make a lot of sense, especially when factoring in the extreme weather you're experiencing in Texas...
    – Mike Perry
    Commented Aug 29, 2011 at 3:03
  • @winwaed, fingers-crossed the weather breaks kindly for you (in Texas) ie Substantial rain spread over a few weeks. Here in Missouri we could do with a wettish Autumn.
    – Mike Perry
    Commented Aug 29, 2011 at 3:08
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    Follow up: Still watering on a two day cycle, but with much longer periods (1hr first day but probably more like 30mins last night). Youngest leaves and buds remain a healthy green color. Older orange-green leaves remain the same: I assume leaves do not retro-actively change back to a healthy color. Current forecast is for a tropical storm / hurricane possibly early next week (likely to form in GoM but great uncertainty in strength and direction)
    – winwaed
    Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 12:54

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