Peach tree question

caryltoo Z7/SE PAMay 29, 2013

Hi all. We planted a Reliance dwarf tree last year (April 2012) and now it is covered with tiny peaches. Is this normal or should we pull them off? My husband is worried that the tree won't be able to bear the weight once the peaches get bigger.

Thanks for any help. We are novice fruit growers. The apples and cherries that went in at the same time aren't fruiting at all.

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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Once you are sure they are set, finger tip size, thin off all but a few. Space them out about 12 inches or more. Try to visualize a full size peach and whether the branch can support that much weight.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 4:46PM
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Peach fruits early. It's not unusual for it to fruit in year 2.

Generally speaking, whether or not a fruit tree will bear early depending on a number of things including what type of fruit tree, what variety, what rootstock it's grafted to, etc. Dwarf rootstock tends to bear sooner than semi-dwarf or standard rootstock.

Also, don't forget that many fruit trees do not bear fruit without cross pollination. Peach is self fertile. Most apple are not. Cherry - some are, some aren't.

I have one apple variety that fruited in year 2 and another that fruited in year 7 (or maybe, 8). One of my three cherry trees fruited in year 2 and the other two in year 3.

If you can tell us what varieties of apple and cherry you have and on what rootstocks, there are a good chance that someone here can tell you how long you have to wait.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 6:42PM
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caryltoo Z7/SE PA

Thanks, fruitnut. We will cull the peaches.

Mamuang, I'm not sure what type of rootstock my trees are. They were ordered from an on-line nursery and my receipt doesn't say. The cherries are a standard Montmorency sour and a compac stella dwarf. The apples are honeycrisp semi-dwarf and a dwarf Snow Apple (also called fameuse, I think).


    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 7:41AM
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You may want to call the nursery to find out.

Cherry is usally quick to fruit. My guess is by year 3, your tree will start flowering and set fruit. Neither Stella or Montmorency need cross pollination so you are all set.

Apple is different, a precocious variety could fruit in year 2 or 3. There are several factors why trees do not fruit. One of them is pruning. My Honey Crisp is on semi-dwarf rootstock. I bought it when I did not have a clue what "rootstock" was. It kept growing so I "pruned" it (before I knew about pruning - see the trend here). My ignorant pruning probably has helped my tree to grow but set back fruit production. It took 7 yrs to fruit!!!

Pruning is another matter you and your husband should learn. Even a dwarf tree could grow to 14 ft if not pruned. Trees on semi-dwarf or standard rootstocks will grow even taller. You don't want to grow cherries so tall you can't net the trees. Why grow them for birds.

Search old posts on pruning, you can get yourself ready for your trees.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 9:46PM
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caryltoo Z7/SE PA

Thanks again, Mamuang. We know we have to prune, but we're just letting them go for now to establish themselves. They're not very big yet and I kind of want the montmorency to get huge. We had a sour cherry tree at a house I lived in as a child (actually, it was a very old house with a nice personal orchard) and it produced enough cherries for us and the birds. It was huge. :) The instructions on planting had us leaving 25 feet between it and the other trees so I think it's going to have a pretty wide canopy when mature.

And when you mention netting, do you mean netting to keep the birds off? My husband owns a pest control company so he can easily do that if necessary.

Thanks for the advice. I do usually search past threads for advice before posting. I'll check on the pruning info.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 8:06AM
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Yes, I meant netting to keep birds out. There was a recent post about netting, a net that works and the name of the company to order from.

You'll probably don't need that info, though.

To me, pruning is complicated. There are more to it than cutting off branches. I've just started to learn basic concept that this point.

I wish you good luck with your trees.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 12:40PM
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mark_roeder(4B IA)

Depending on how thick the branches, thin to 8" between peaches. I just culled my peaches on my trees. If branches are bigger I left them closer together (outside size of my fist); where branches smaller then I go to 8" or so between fruit.

I am growing Reliance; and a Contender. My most fruitful peach tree is the Reliance.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 1:46AM
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caryltoo Z7/SE PA

Thanks, Mark. The distances sound about what I did. Some of the branches look surprisingly sturdy for so young a tree so I left a few peaches about 8-10 inches apart on those. The thinner ones I usually took down to one or maybe two spaced farther apart. It took awhile -- the tree was loaded with some growing in clusters of three or so. I've read some say the Reliance aren't that tasty, but they've got to be better than the rock-hard fruit you find in the groceries these days just because they can ripen on the tree.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 5:44AM
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Last year my peach tree was loaded and two of the braches broke under the weight of the fruit. This year instead of thinning the fruit, I drove an 8-foot 1"X1" post into the bround near the trunk and used nylon string to support the smaller branches and try to prevent the branch breaking.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 7:20AM
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Yes my peach trees has so many small peaches and some are large. I was thinking to thin the small ones. but I noticed that the trees are dropping lots of it I gathers all of it and upon close examination I did not see any injury or sign of disease on the fallen peach. I thought it is mother nature and the tree is thinning itself. I burned all the fallen peach just in case there is disease. Kept my spray schedule which included 4 chemical combination. My fig trees does the same thing but I ended up with good fig harvest I wish this will happen to the peach too.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 11:19AM
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I am a believer of thinning early and aggressively for better quality fruit and probably, for better health of the trees.

I thinned early just soon after shuck split. My logic is that once I help my peach trees get rid of so many fruitlets, the tree does not have to waste their energy on them. Fruit trees will drop their fruit when they realize they can't carry them all

I don't think I suffer June-drop. I help my trees earlier so they don't need to abort their fruits in June.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 12:17PM
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Treehugger, What are the four ingrediants in your spray?

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 12:21PM
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mark_roeder(4B IA)

There are two purposes for culling peaches. First, to encourage growth of edible sized peaches. Second, to prevent branches from breaking.

And yes, Reliance is a very tasty peach; much better than a store bought peach. Now if you buy a fresh peach at an Alabama fruit stand it may be slightly better, but not by much -- almost an undetectable difference from a fresh Reliance. They key is that they are both fresh peaches no matter whether grown in the Midwest, Pennsylvania, or Alabama.

Here is my Reliance Peach tree in 2011, culled per how I described above.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 1:02AM
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mark_roeder(4B IA)

And another photo for your viewing pleasure of my Reliance tree.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 1:04AM
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caryltoo Z7/SE PA

Beautiful tree, Mark. I'll be thrilled if we get just a few peaches this season. I have so missed the taste of a peach right off the tree. For a few years when I was a kid we lived in an antebellum house that had an orchard -- peaches, plums, pears, apples, persimmons, cherries, even chestnuts. It was awesome, though we tended to avoid the peaches come August because it was a big tree and once the fruit started falling it was swarming with wasps and bees. But I've never really forgotten what a true peach is supposed to taste like.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 6:09AM
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