Disappointing peach season

Hi all,
I have a Bell of Georgia peach tree, and last yr it had its first BIG crop, I canned 25 qts of peaches from that tree. The peaches were huge, sweet and juicy. This yr it only had about 7-8 peaches on it, and they never ripened, they just stayed green and hard! I did the same things with it this yr that I did last yr! Any thoughts or opinions as to why this is will be greatly appreciated .
Thanks Much,
Paul

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No real experience with peaches as I’m up north, but most fruit trees seem to lean towards biennial bearing if you don’t thin. I find that during off years, even if the tree produces a few fruits, they’re usually substandard, like the tree forgets about fruit and focuses on growth. It is strange that your peaches never ripened though. Maybe someone with more knowledge will speak to that. Any differences in weather this year?

Pics always help as well if you have em.

I’ve had one instance of one tree that missed a crop due to biennial bearing. That’s stone fruit and pome fruits over the 52 years I’ve grown my own trees. If one thins enough early enough a tree shouldn’t go biennial.

And there’s no reason in the off year for the fruit to be of poor quality.

Really cold Spring? I heard Maine lost nearly all its crop this year. No idea what happened in Indiana.

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Where do you located? Zone 5b is quite borderline for peaches. In theNortheast this year, most peaches/nectarines and even plums got frozen out in Feb (subzero freeze) and May (late freeze).

Knowing where you are could help answer your question.

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Most folks in my area had a bust year as well.

We used to buy peaches shipped in from Michigan and I still get the price list. This year they weren’t sure that there would be a crop, but there was, it just wasn’t as large as usual, so it drove the price way up.

Next year should be better (hopefully).

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Didn’t Georgia have a late frost that kicked their crop as well?

This yr our 8 yr old bailey peach trees both winterkilled. That was a kick in the groin. Was hoping to see at least one flower this year. Now our hope is on siberian peaches, but we’re 3 yrs away from a chance(if they survive). I don’t know if we’ll ever see some semblance of a peach here, but I keep trying.

Sorry, don’t mean to derail the thread. Best of luck OP, I have nothing to offer; we’re just trying to keep them alive here, lol.

The OP lives in zone5 but not sure where. He grows Belle of Georgia, a peach variety. I don’t think there is a zone 5 in Georgia.

You are zone pushing, indeed. Growing peach in zone 3.

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I have seen trees that overbear fruit so much that branches droop badly, even break at times. Thin your crop to prevent this. Anyway the stress on the limbs most definitely damaged them and the tree needs to heal. So often don’t bear many fruit the next year. Although weather plays a role no doubt.
So too much fruit or late frosts. Unripened immature fruit probably suffered damage and tried to grow but failed to thrive from embryo damage from cold.
I’m in southeastern Michigan zone 6a and my peach crop is excellent this year. I only grow late ripening types. Pluots, plums and nectarines are fine this year. I always have some that don’t produce but many others are doing fine. Culling out non performers.
I grew out a few seedlings of Indian free for fun. All three have fruit this year. None are ripe yet. Im netting them tomorrow. They need 2-3 more weeks one has nice sized fruit. Pollen parent is probably Fantasia. Arctic Jay possible but less likely. Fruit is better looking than moms fruit. Less fuzz, lighter colors.

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Well Paul,
I live in SW Ohio. I have four peach trees, This year the trees looked like they were dead. No leaves until May. Then what leaves I did have made the look sick. I actually had 3 peaches on my trees, total. I think it was an odd winter and an odd spring with temps up in the 80’s really early on and then low temps. It threw the trees into a tizzy, I think and I hope. I will hopefully see some peaches next year. If not I will take them out and start over with some new trees. That is the only thing I can think of- weird early high winter temps and then cold temps.

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Thanks so much for all the replies, I live in north central Indiana. The tree only had a few flowers on it this yr, and like I said only the few that did turn into peaches never got big or ripened. I have a Redhaven that bore it’s first peaches ever this yr, it was only two peaches, but they turned out really big and good. Maybe it’s just the weather we had, the tree is good and healthy, with lots of growth on it this yr. Maybe next yr will be better!
Thanks again for all the replies,
Paul

In my region I’m right on the border of where peaches successfully bore fruit and where they did not this year. If a peach tree is reasonably vigorous and defended against pests, about the only thing that stops it from bearing fruit is weather. What is confusing about this is that winter OR spring temps not quite extreme enough to damage a flower’s male parts sometimes only damage the ovaries or ovules, so full bloom can happen but never leads to a crop. You may believe that flowers swarming with pollinators portends a great crop, but it’s not always so.

Sometimes it’s a 24 degree day in late March or an -7F day in early Feb., as was the case this season. Even then, it depends on the relative hardness of the flower fuds whose ability to tolerate cold varies based on both date and preceding weather, so the consequences of any cold event is often unpredictable.

That dip in February did not destroy my stone fruit crop, but it certainly thinned if for me. I have customers nearby in seemingly better locations hat have no peaches or plums, probably because flower buds there were not quite as hardened off during the temp dive in Feb which was accompanied with a strong breeze, negating advantages of specific sites that night (in other words the degree or two higher lows at these sites that occured in Dec. and Jan. left the buds with more water in them than buds at my site). The ovules of surviving fruit tended to be badly damaged creating fruit that mostly has split pits that has led to a lot of fruit rotting as it ripens. Rot that starts from the inside apparently cannot be controlled by applying fungicide to the outside, which is the only way we do it. I had a TangO tree loaded with fruit and harvested not a one- it is a variety that really suffers when it has split pits and fruit cannot be protected from rot when it’s all split.

I have a tree now that is loaded with huge peaches- a Messina. I only had to thin about half the fruit instead of the 95% required on a typical year. The fruit is good but not great because we have had too much rain and cloud cover to really pump up the brix this season. At least a lot of other people still believe it tastes pretty great, but I have to warn them about the split pits.

What astounds me is that I have never found this info in the literature and had to learn it from hard experience. I used to think flowers mostly didn’t set fruit because of poor compatibility with nearby varieties because of a focus on plums, but in recent years, peaches have lost their fruit while flowering 2 or 3 times. Now I’m confident this holds true of both peaches and plums and possibly most flowering plants. The female parts of a flower are more sensitive to cold than the male parts.

Just a tradesmen’s theory, though.

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Siberian peach is zone 4a-3"ish". Pretty sure the trees will survive ok here, wether our summer is hot enough for long enough for them to produce is another thing.
Keep in mind this is not the same class of peach as say a, “BC” modern peach.

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Good to know.

Still, even with peaches that we have in zones warmer than yours, we usually lost peach production because flower buds are not as hardy as the trees. Cold weather usually does not kill the trees but it often kills the flower buds.

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Ya, we run into that with apricots too. In AB the enemy was chinook’s. Warm wind for a couple days, they’d flower, then back to winter. Would get a crop once every 4 yrs or so, but when they Did produce you could hardly see the tree for the apricots. Do different things to delay flowering. Have been wrapping in burlap and stacking small square bales against the base in attempt to keep ground frozen longer.
Want to try paint some 1/8" ply white, place around the base of the tree. It’s a constant challenge.

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Or build a greenhouse.:grin:

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Apricots are one of the easiest fruits to grow in my greenhouse. They’d be a natural for a greenhouse in a cold area. For the cold months all you need to heat to is the critical temperature. In zone 3 you could do 3 months at 0F. Then heat to increasingly warmer until bloom. Just warm enough to stay above the damaging temperature for each stage of growth. Add in sweet cherry, peach, nectarines, and pluots for a harvest of 3 months even in zone 3.

In my zone 7 greenhouse stone fruit harvest runs April thru September, about 5 months.

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Were I 20 yrs younger, … Read an article about a gentleman in, maybe S Dakota?? That built a half underground greenhouse and sunk about 2’ furnace ducting below the frost line, natural flow keep it warm enough he’s growing lemons and oranges.

Couple yrs ago built a little cold greenhouse(8’x20’), tried starting seedlings there ended up spending more on electricity and propane than it was worth. Now we use it to harden off things before planting and our veg cleaning/prepping for sale, bubbler lives in one corner.

Fruitnut, we are trying lapins cherries again, when first moved here tried them and stella, with no winter protection they lived for 3 yrs, on the 3rd spring all 4 were literally covered with flowers and I thought, “wow, we can grow sweet cherries!” Then an unexpected and unforcast -4C frost and I figured well there goes the flowers; next night they forcast -4 again and I figured why bother? Trick was it didn’t just kill the flowers, it killed the trees.
The, “new” lapins are about 7’ tall now and branching out nicely. Have been heavily wrapping them in burlap and small squares on the base, fingers crossed.
Not sure if I’m just stubborn or a glutton for punishment, but I just love trying to grow things we, “shouldn’t be able” to grow.
Honestly more failures than successes, but the successes make it worth the effort. :wink:

Did I mention I may be a little stubborn when it comes to failure? :slight_smile:

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This is an interesting article on how they grew citrus in the USSR.

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Thanks for the article, great find!

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