How To Grow Great Peaches
Peaches are sweet, juicy, great in cobblers and even better in ice cream, but they do come with some challenges. Of all the fruits peach trees are perhaps the most challenging to the home gardener to grow because of the spraying and pruning required in order to be successful.
Planting and Pruning Peach Trees:
Dig a good hole and make sure that the graft on the tree is 2 inches above the ground level. At planting you should prune the tree to the height of your knee, make a clean cut. The peach tree should be about 30 inches tall. I know you hate to buy a tree that is 4 to 5 foot tall and then prune it to 30 inches but it is necessary to develop the proper branching that is required. In the spring the tree will begin to branch out and we want 3 to 4 primary branches growing from the trunk at least at 45 degree angles. Ideally we want the branching to occur on each side of the tree and if the angles are less than 45 degrees those branches should be removed. In other words, we do not want the branches to grow too vertically we want them to grow our similir to an upside down umbrella. At the end of the first growing season save the 3 or 4 primary branches and prune out any vertical growth.
Peaches are notorious for brown spots, bruising and worms. Most people either do not like to spray or it is unfamiliar territory and are not comfortable with fungicides and insecticides. Our fruit tree spray makes everything simple. It contains captan which is a fungicide to control diseases and malathion which will control insects.
Peach Tree Spray Program
1st Spray – When the green tips show up in the spring
2nd Spray – When the blooms have swollen but not yet opened
3rd Spray – When the blooms are completely open and pink
4th Spray – When the blooms / petals have fallen off
5th Spray – Cover spray – when fruit is on the tree
6th Spray – 2 weeks after the first cover spray
The fruit tree spray has an interval of 1 week from the last spray to harvest but the earlier sprays are the most important.
For those that do not like to use chemicals you can use metal products to keep the peach
tree and fruit clean. Copper or cocide is a metal based spray that will keep the peach tree and fruit clean if used properly. Do Not use if the temperatures exceed 90 degrees – If you do the copper can burn the leaves and all of the leaves will fall off. Make sure to use copper based products either early in the morning or late in the evening.
We also recommend a dormant spray on peach trees in the month of January.
Peach trees love to grow. I recommend using 1 lb. of 10-10-10 in early April and follow up with a 1/2 lb. of calcium nitrate mid-summer. On an average year the peach tree will grow 5 to 6′ tall by the end of the summer.
Let’s grow some peach trees together!
Ison’s Nursery & Vineyard