Cause of peach orchard death?

They’re on a hill and I have clay soil, ph 7.2. But had equal losses despite it being on the top, middle or bottom part of the hill. Everything else grows great. But there is a lot of exposure on the hill and no windbreak.

I seem to have to replace peach trees more often than anything else, whereas my brother who lives 5 minutes away has no problem growing peaches but cannot grow apricots without them randomly dying. Yet mine never die and are thriving. His soil is sandy. So, I guess some things just prefer one environment over the other.

I don’t grow a lot of peaches , but I did have some small potted peach trees in my little nursery, that the voles ate every bit of the roots off of the trees 2yrs ago.
I was surprised to see this , as I have never seen vole damage on peach before.
So with the fabric under your trees for ideal vole habitat , it is a possibility the voles ate your roots. May want to take a look ?


I am always surprised when any species of wildlife does something I haven’t seen before and wildlife just keeps surprising me.

Steep slopes does not always drainage make, particular when clay is in the picture. If the trees don’t wobble from having had voles eat their roots then check and see if the soil isn’t mud right now. Even if it isn’t, is it possible it was for a stretch late last summer when trees were just going into dormancy?

How old were your trees? Sounds like you’ve replanted some. Could have been replant disease? How much did they grow last year?

I can relate to how your feeling. I’m still trying to understand what happened at my acerage this spring. My best guess is extreme wind when things were waking up. I’m in NW IA and we are always windy in the spring but this April was way beyond normal, 30 mph wind every day with several days of sustained 40 to 50 mph winds. Coming into the spring early April I did scratch tests on things in question and they all looked good…however it’s clear now that I lost all of my hickory tree 3 and 4 year olds. I can understand these since they are probably somewhat borderline for z5a/4b. My 50 hazelnuts which are completely hardy here experienced 75 to 100 percent die back. Out of 100 red oaks I lost all but 5 or 6 (3 year old trees), I lost 45 out of 50 norway spruce in my windbreak also( 4 to 1 years) Luckily all of my fruit trees have survived, thankful for that. Although green 75% of the way up the paw paws have still not pushed buds out though. I have seen plenty of other windbreaks with conifers dead around here this spring some with 50+ 15ft tall trees in them so it could be worse. Oh even my 4 yo red maples 6 to 7ft tall died down most of the way but think those will come back. One other thing is our winter was very mild.


I had a contender die here, while other trees lived. Have no idea, but i won’t replace it.
I’ve had issues with borers on trees. Something to look for.
In my climate peaches/plums/cots are all iffy and can die at any time.

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I’ve had Peach tree borers damage lots of young Prunus species here, but they tend to do less damage on older, thicker bark trees. But unless you look for them they are easy to miss.

I’m afraid the unpredictable weather extremes are going to play hell with fruit growing, more and more in the future. Even if trees don’t die the weather will also affect pollination, and pollinator survival.
No pollinators around for my early cherries this year, after temps in the 90’s then down to thirties.

But I’m so sad to hear about your tree mortality jx. That hurts.


I’m a commercial grower and had serious San Jose Scale damage that started undetected last year and caused a lot of problems (including limb death and some trees) in one of my blocks across multiple varieties. Google that pest, and also check for white peach scale which is a pest that has gotten much worse in recent years. I think the flareup was related to the large number of heavy pesticides I had to use last year to combat periodical cicada (which also did immense damage)… normally I manage the orchard so we have many more predators.