Taking Care Of Peach Trees

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, USDA zones 5b–8) come from China, where they have been cultivated for nearly 4,000 years, and it’s no wonder given their juicy fruit, fragrant spring flowers, and bright fall colors. However, peaches have a dark side. In addition to being susceptible to a number of pests and diseases, they tend not to live very long. 15-20 years is the maximum for peach trees in many places, and those who suffer from peach trees’ short lifespans, tangled webs of nematodes, bacteria and frost damage may not live past 7. But take heart, gardener. If you grow your peach tree with a disease-resistant rootstock that suits your climate and consistently give the tree the care it needs, it will reward your efforts with senses – and possibly even longer life.

Taking Care Of Peach Trees

Taking Care Of Peach Trees

Do a soil test at least six months before planting your Peach Tree so that you have enough time to correct it as indicated by the test results.

Growing Peach Trees: How To Plant A Peach Tree

Proper peach tree care begins with selecting a nursery specimen that is acclimated to the geographic area and growing conditions. Buy a tree from a reputable local nursery and order a rootstock that is resistant to disease and nematodes and a variety that will produce the type and size of peaches you want. Choose a tree about a year old, 4 feet tall and 3/8 to 1/2 inch in diameter with a healthy root system, and plant it in the spring as soon as you can work the soil in a location with full sun and deep, well-draining sandy loam soil. with a slightly acidic pH of 6.0–6.5. Avoid planting the tree where peach trees have been planted in the last five years.

Fertilization: Do not add fertilizer to the planting hole or to the ground around a newly planted Peach tree. As an example of a peach fertilization program, the Ohio State University Extension recommends the following: One week after planting and again about seven weeks after planting, apply 8 ounces of 10-10-10 fertilizer in a circle around the tree, starting at the drip tube or the outer edge of the canopy and extending about 8 inches from the trunk. In years 2 and 3, sprinkle 12 ounces of 10-10-10 around the tree in early spring and again in late spring. For mature trees 4 years and older, increase the fertilizer rate from 10-10-10 to 16 ounces in early spring and again in late spring. Always keep the fertilizer at least 8 inches from the base of the tree and water it thoroughly after application.

Watering: Immediately after planting, water the soil around the tree well; then apply about an inch of water per week during the tree’s first growing season. Established peach trees need about 30 inches of water per year, or about an inch every 10 days from natural rainfall, irrigation, or a combination of the two. Use a soaker hose and water deeply when you water – about 1 1/2 to 2 feet deep.

Fixing and mulching: Before planting, remove all grass and weeds from the planting site and keep the soil free of competing plants under the tree canopy by hand pulling or light weeding instead of plowing. Help keep the planting site clear of weeds by spreading a 4- to 5-inch layer of organic mulch, such as wood chips or shredded bark, under the tree from the drip line to within a few inches of the trunk. Mulch is also beneficial to the tree by slowing down the evaporation of water and adding nutrients to the soil as it rots. Remove the old mulch and apply a new layer every spring.

Peaches & Nectarines

Pruning: Cut a newly planted whip or young tree without side branches 2 to 2 1/2 feet above the ground. Prune a dormant tree the following year before budding in late winter or early spring to an open center or V shape by removing the central head and all but four side branches evenly spaced around the tree. At knee height from the floor. For an established tree, use head pruning or clean diagonal cuts just above the buds to cut about 50% of the previous year’s fruit tree while the tree is dormant in late winter or early spring. This promotes the future growth and production of the fruit and improves air circulation and sun exposure. Later in the spring, when peaches reach an inch in size, shorten them to 6 inches apart to increase fruit and reduce branch weight. Prune the tree throughout its life to maintain a suitable size for easy repair and maintenance, and continue to remove dead, damaged, diseased, crisscrossing or vertical shoots or water shoots from the roots and branches up to the tips. origin..

Frost protection: Peaches are very sensitive to frost, but you can improve your tree’s chances significantly by choosing a late-blooming variety and planting it on the north side of the hill. Never plant a peach tree at the bottom of a hill where cold air collects; on a windy hill; or on the south side of the hill, where it is likely to germinate earlier. If you know a freeze is coming, you can take additional steps such as watering the soil around the tree to at least a foot deep, temporarily removing organic mulch and replacing it with clear plastic mulch, and if your tree is small. enough, covering it with a blanket of ice until the cold temperatures drop.

Prevention is the cornerstone of peach pest and disease management: Collect and dispose of all plant debris from the soil around your tree, keep weeds at bay, remove overwintering mummies or fruit on the tree, prune problem branches, and schedule fungicide and horticultural oil sprays to combat potential invaders. For example, the University of California’s master horticulture program suggests a solid copper spray in early winter to control mold in bullet holes; a winter dormant oil spray to control spider mite eggs, aphid eggs and San Jose mealybugs; an early spring application of solid copper spray to control peach curls; and one to three fungicide applications during spring bud break to prevent brown rot. Remember that no spray plan will work in all situations. Rather, the treatments required for your tree will depend on the pests and diseases prevalent in your area. Ask your county extension agent or university extension specialist to do this if you are not sure which pests and diseases are of concern and how to proceed.

Taking Care Of Peach Trees

There is no cure for short-lived peach tree blight, a disease complex that affects young trees primarily in the Southeast and causes symptoms such as sudden wilting, flower and branch dieback, bark cracking and oozing. If your tree succumbs to the short aging of the Peach tree, start over with a new whip, paying special attention to the preparation of the planting site, the pH value of the soil, the selection of the rootstock, protection from frost and freezing, the right timing of cutting the tree, pruning and continuous care. .

How And Why To Plant Fruit Trees In The Fall

Always read all instructions on the product label and follow them carefully. Mix pesticides outdoors or in a well-ventilated area, mix only as much as you can use that day, and apply on a calm day when no rain is expected. In addition to wearing a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, closed-toe shoes, gloves, eye protection, and a respirator as directed on the product label, keep pets and other people away from areas where you mix, spray, or dust. When finished, clean application equipment, store or dispose of excess product according to product label, wash hands thoroughly, and wash and dry pesticide-contaminated clothing separately.

Contact your local district office for more information on all aspects of growing peach varieties most likely to be successful in your area.

Carolyn Harris is a graduate Master Horticulturist, intern Master Naturalist, dirt lover, herb whisperer, and professional writer-editor. In addition to his many years of gardening and blacksmithing experience, Harris holds a B.A. in psychology from Western Kentucky University and copywriting certification from the University of Chicago.

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