Peach tree fruit will not ripen

jamieshalonMarch 12, 2008

I moved into my house about 3 years ago. Some large peach trees in my back yard. They look to be full grown(they were this full size when I moved in). They are semi-dwarf trees. The fruit on them gets to a certain size each summer, but will get no larger, and will not ripen. what can I do to make these tree's produce fruit? There were 2 trees when I moved in, and now there are 4 trees. They seem to reproduce well, and the trees look strong and sturdy, but none of them will produce any fruit.

Thanks

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jellyman(6/7VA)

Jamie:

Have you looked closely at your developing peaches before and after they fall off? Growing peaches in Virgina calls for some up close and personal observation.

There are two insects that commonly attack young peaches: plum curculio, which strikes early and has only one generation, and the oriental fruit moth, which is around for the balance of the season and can have 4 generations. Visits by either of these insects can be clearly seen on a developing peach in the form of a small crescent-shaped scar for the P.C. or a small blob of pectin on the skin caused by the OFM.

When peaches are attacked by either of these insects their development soon slows and stops, and they eventually fall before attaining full size. I spray my peaches very early, soon after fruit set, with Imidan, although Permethrin would be an acceptable substitute. Then I thin the peaches to a spacing of 6-8 inches apart (another requirement for growing full-size peaches) before spraying them again.

At that point I install nylon shoe store try-on footies on the little peaches, tying them over the branch or twig with a single knot. If I did not thus protect the peaches, I would have to spray at about 10 day intervals all season long.

Your peach trees may be strong and sturdy, but if you do not prune them regularly to thin out the centers, the peaches will receive insufficient light to develop into first-class fruit. The best time to do this is just after harvesting the peaches, but if your trees are very tall and crowded, do it now. You must be able to easily reach the peaches from your ladder to thin them (and bag them, if you are inclined to do that), and it is much easier to spray a 12 foot tree than one that is much larger.

It may take you a couple of years to fully understand the requirements for growing peaches in our bug-infested, humid, mid-Atlantic climate, but it can be done and it is worth it.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 3:38PM
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jamieshalon

Thanks so much Don. My peaches actually never fall off until the tree dies in the winter, they just don't ripen, they just stop growing at about golf ball size and remain green. Could this still be the bugs or pruning?
Is is possible that they are reproducing the same type of tree, and they need a different variety of peach tree to pollinate?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 12:40PM
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sautesmom

If they hadn't been pollinated, there would be no fruit at all. Unpollinated flowers dry up and fall off, leaving nothing. The fact that you have green fruit means your pollination is fine. It's something else.

Carla in Sac

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 2:35PM
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jellyman(6/7VA)

Jamie:

It is possible that the larger trees you have are seedlings, started from seeds of supermarket peaches that someone threw out in the yard or deliberately planted. The smaller trees would thus be seedlings of seedlings.

Although most backyard and all commercial growers plant grafted peach trees of known, superior cultivars, peach trees will often come true from seed. However, there are exceptions to every rule, and you may have one of them. It is possible that your seedling peach trees are genetically incapable of producing decent peaches, if you have pruned the trees to allow light on the developing fruits, and thinned them to reduce stress on the tree and allow the fruits to develop to full size. Pollination is seldom an issue on peach trees, and if they set fruit at all they have been pollinated. Mine set so many that I have to thin them off by the hundreds, nay thousands.

The only way to find out for sure would be to plant a grafted, nursery tree of a know, good variety, such as Redhaven, Reliance, or dozens of others available by mailorder or online. Make sure you site the tree in full sun, if possible, mulch around the base, then stand back and wait about 3 years. If the new tree produces decent peaches, you can safely conclude that your original trees are just good-for-nothing, take them out, and replace them with something that will give you decent fruit.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 3:39PM
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BUDB24_OPTONLINE_NET

I WENT TO THE LOCAL NURSERY AND TOLD THE OWNER HE SAID THAT YOU MAAY NEED FERTILIZER AND LIME. I BOUGHT SOME AND FOR THE FIRST TIME WE HAD SOME PEACHES.
FOR THIS YEAR I BOUGHT 10-10-10 AND THROUGH SOJME AROUND BOTH TREES AND ALSO SOME LIME. I HOPE I GET BETTER ONES THIS YEAR. MY DAUGHTER WAS READY TO CUT IT DOWN AS SHE SAYS THEY ARE IN THE WAY. NOW SHE IS WAITING TO SEE WHAT WE GET THIS YEAR. I HAVE A PAW PAW TREE AND THAT FRUITS BUT IT ONLY HAD A FEW FRUIT LAST TIME.I AM LOADED WITH THE DARK FLOWERS THAT THE PAW PAW GETS FIRST SO MAYBE IT WILL HAVE A LOT OF FRUIT THIS YEAR.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 4:57PM
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busy_bee_7tn_grow

I'm having the same problem Jamie. Did you ever get an answer to your question- or has the tree gone on to produce? If so, I'd like to know. Mine is an Elberta semi dwarf. It has produced peaches both this and last year, and like yours, the peaches just stop developing at about the size of a half dollar. Next to it is a different variety that gives great peaches.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 4:43PM
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