I am wondering what the problem is in my food forest. I have 6000 square feet that was formerly sod. I have dug two hugelculture/swale mounds across most of the length of this area over the last two years. I have cover cropped it twice with Grow Organics sod buster and soil builder seed blends. There is drainage through this area off two buildings and an asphalt driveway. I think the swales are catching and spreading most of this water now. Probably many thousands of gallons over the course of a year.
Everything flowers out beautifully, but fruit production is mediocre to non-existant. My largest peach tree is full, lush, has nice peaches on it, then they all shrivel up and drop off. It is just on the downward side of my first swale. I had a few peaches on most of my trees, then they all seemed to disappear. I am sure there are squirrels that are taking some of them, but that does not explain what is happening to my largest peach. This area is a rectangle cut out of the forest. It gets good morning sun, and the middle gets a lot of afternoon sun. My biggest peach is toward the top and probably gets sun up to about 2:00. The blueberries are doing fantastic this year (middle). The apples are 4 years old and have not given me fruit yet. I got peaches last year from my trees in this area, except for the largest one.
So, what is going on? Are my trees not getting enough sun? Are they getting to much water draining through the area? Is there some mineral deficiency of which I am not aware? The grass, weeds, flowers, vegetables, and unknown trees are lush and grow fine. There are mimosa trees on three sides, and I have to cut down seedling mimosas at least twice a year to keep them from taking over. I think there is plenty of nitrogen in the soil. Maybe to much nitrogen in the soil?
Jason Matthew wrote:Everything flowers out beautifully, but fruit production is mediocre to non-existant. My largest peach tree is full, lush, has nice peaches on it, then they all shrivel up and drop off.
What do the peaches look like when they are shriveling?
My peaches do not even grow to that size. They seem to start and then abort before they are the size of a quarter. The stone does not even form before they drop off. Also, they are more shriveled, almost desiccated by the look of them.
Jason Matthew wrote: The blueberries are doing fantastic this year (middle).
I think this might be be biggest clue. blueberries like really acidic conditions, they like growing best at a pH around 5.5. Maybe your soil is too acidic for the other trees. You can get a simple soil testing kit at Home Depot or Orchard. It costs about 10$. If your peaches are deep green, then I would not say nitrogen. But, a test kit will tell you that. The one I picked up tests pH, N, P, and K.
I general, trees like full sun the whole day, but they do NOT like wet feet. If your swales are retaining too much water, they may be suffering from oxygen starvation.