I jinxed myself last winter when I told my sister-in-law that I got a
1/2 bushel of peaches every year from my *single* dwarf peach tree.
Our discussion was whether peaches need a cross-pollinator. If I
remember right, these trees supposedly did. The names are long
forgotten, but 10-15 years ago I bought two -- one died before either
had a blossom-- and the other has been making piles of peaches every
This spring it had no blossoms. I *did* prune a large horizontal
branch off late last fall. [maybe 20% of its foliage] I also opened
up the canopy above it as it was beginning to be shaded by some Sumac
to its west. It's at the foot of a east-facing slope & the sumac
was growing out and above the peach tree.
It looks healthy otherwise, so I'm guessing it just put all its energy
into new growth this year. Does that sound likely, or is 15 years
getting old for a dwarf peach?
[zone 5-6, NY]
Fifteen years is getting old for any peach, dwarf or otherwise. That
has nothing to do with the lack of bloom.
With few if any exceptions, peaches are self fertile. Even if they
were not, it wouldn't have anything to do with a lack of flowers.
The buds that are destined to be next years flowers are formed near
the end of the growing season. Pruning of any kind in late fall will
not affect the remaining branches and their flower buds.
Something either prevented the development of flower buds last
summer or something killed the buds during the winter. A heavy crop
one year can reduce the number of new flower buds formed for next
year but peaches usually manage to produce flower buds every year.
I'm going to guess that the buds formed but were winter killed. You
must have had a cold spell last winter that was just a little over
the limit for your tree. Late frosts can cause a crop failure but a
late frost is one that kills the flowers after they open (or just
before). Since you saw no flowers at all, I would think about what
happened back in January.
[zone 3-4 NY]
Hi. I was told by a peach grower that if the temp got down to -16 for about
45 minutes at any time during the winter, it would kill the buds that would
have made blossoms on a peach tree. That not being the case, you might try
putting a "super phosphate" (0-52-0) on the ground around your trees next
winter or early spring. It is supposed to encourage blossoms to be produced
by the plants on which you use it.
That's good to know-- I thought it might have been a special cultivar.
I've gotten used to having just one peach tree & when it goes I'll
replace it with a single tree.
Bingo! One week in January we had 13, 9, 8 degree below zero
nights with highs below zero, too.
Thanks. The tree looks otherwise so healthy, I won't be peach tree
shopping for a bit. But I will miss the 1/2 dozen peaches the
squirrels let me eat.
Age of tree isn't the problem. Probably just got frosted (blossoms
don't need to fall off the tree to have been frosted, or even to look
horrible .. just centers can go dark sometimes). Most trees don't
bear each and every year due mostly to being frosted or have low
yield years if they just get spotty frost.
The average lifespan of a peach tree is 8 years I read once. That's
not because peach trees are short lived, it has to do with it being
an "average" age, as peach tree borers kill many trees, just like you
said that other tree died before it ever bloomed. Was it a bare root
or a potted up tree? If a potted tree left over from the previous
year, it was probably already infested. I got a peach tree like that
and I dug out about 8 borer grubs from a tree the diameter of my ring
finger or smaller. It helped killing those, but there were others and
it didn't take long before they girdled the tree.
Between peach tree borers and string trimmers, more young trees die
before their second year. But that means that many trees live quite
awhile or the average age would be much younger. Many live 30 years
Just "knock on wood" next time you brag about it ;-) I had a nice
peach tree that I used to can 100 + quarts from and eat some fresh,
give some away, and some managed to make it to the ground, but I
pruned it a bit too much and the tree got a really bad case of sun
scald on the tops of the limbs.. thought it was a gonner so had it cut
One of those peaches that reached the ground, sprouted and a tree
grew, and I was on crutches and otherwise unable to get rid of the
sprout and it grew and grew, and it too got sun scald without me
touching it. The tree responded by bending over, like an L then
turning and growing upwards again. But what I did not know was
possible, the tree that was black on the side facing the west that was
so completely burned that the bark peeled back to show the inner wood,
managed to heal itself over the years. The bark grew inward, a little
more each year, until it had practically closed the wound by last
year. The tree bears peaches that look good and they taste ok, not as
good as the parent plant an elberta, but much better than other named
varieties I've tasted before.
So I learned that until the tree is dead, it's not dead!
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