Growing Peach trees in Central Michigan

Asked February 23, 2016, 1:05 PM EST

Should I try again with peaches? Planted Red Haven and July Elberta fron Stark Bro's nursery, April 2013. Fast strong growth, but in second year, showed signs of severe problem. Cracking bark, gooey jelly like masses up and down trunk and leaves dried up at about 1.5 in growth. 2015 the Elberta died, and half of the Red Haven died. Showing bud growth this season, but as you see in the photo, the trunk still looks very bad. Probably no hope for this one, but do I give up on peaches?

Eaton County Michigan peaches cold hardiness winter damage

1 Response

Generally Peach production in central Michigan is pretty iffy due to the winter cold. Winter temperatures down to -13 to 16F will kill the flower buds. For this reason, most peaches are grown areas where the winter temperature seldom drops below -10F. Most peaches are grown close to Lake Michigan, where the Lake Effect keeps the winter temperatures a little warmer. Temperatures below -20F damage the trunk and branches. The winters of 2014 and 2015 were the coldest winters in 20 years and peach trees suffered accordingly. We lost many peach trees in SW Michigan where peaches are a common fruit crop. We reported on this in 2014. Here are some articles
http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/how_cold_is_too_cold_for_michigan_fruit_crops http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/southwest_michigan_fruit_regional_report_may_27_2014
http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/southwest_michigan_fruit_regional_report_june_2_2015

You could plant again and you would probably have better luck since these were unusually cold winters. You should not anticipate a crop of peaches every year but you might get a crop 2 or 3 years out of 4.