Cold Hardy Peach Trees in Downeast Maine
Last fall we planted a dwarf Contender and a dwarf Glowingstar peach tree. The Contender looks pretty good, but the top of the Glowingstar tree apparently died over the winter. Our location is about 8 miles from the ocean - our USDA Growing zone is 5b.
It is now mid August and the only sign of life is a ring of foliage around the trunk. These trees were planted above a slightly sloping landscape with a slight swampy brook down at the bottom. The soil has a lot of clay.
The top 2 pictures are Glowingstar and the bottom one is Contender. These trees are growing next to each other, relatively speaking.
Do you have any thoughts? Does the Glowingstar realistically have a chance of surviving? Would you try different varieties? Thank You
Washington County Maine
To start with I would prune off all the dead wood. Peaches and other stone fruits often experience some winter kill. Last year, at least in CT, the late fall into winter weather was warmer than usual so plants were not able to go completely into dormancy and we saw a lot of winter kill as temperatures plummeted for a weekend in January. Whether or not your tree comes back fully or further dies back really depends on the fall and winter weather which unfortunately we can't predict. You could prune out the dead branches and see what happens. You did not say where you got these trees but you might want to check what varieties your local garden centers are selling. They should be able to withstand your weather conditions. I just grow Reliance peaches as the tree always produces and does not get a lot of winter injury but I live in MA. I don't know how other varieties would do in your area. Another source to ask about what varieties would work for you would be a UMaine Master Gardener. They can be contacted at https://extension.umaine.edu/gardening/master-gardeners/. They should have some fact sheets available with peaches that grow well in your area.