How to be proactive with my new peach trees

iamzvonko(5)May 18, 2012

Hello,

This is my first post here. Just started my first garden last year. It was so much fun I decided to try fruit trees. Bought 2 dwarf peach trees and planted them in October.

So far (fingers crossed) so good. They had lots of flowers this spring and lots of new growth. I've read a lot about peach trees and, frankly, I'm a bit confused. There is so much info out there and some of it seems to be a bit contradictory.

One thing that was constant in all my reading was that it's important to prune and shape the trees so they grow "out" instead of "up" and have an open middle.

I didn't prune before new growth appeared as some recommended because I was worried about pruning so soon after planting.

This spring the trees have looked real good so once the flowers disappeared I did some pruning. That actually went well and the branches that were left just took off. I even have two peaches which, from what I've read, is unusual in first year.

I'm happy with the great results so far but I want to make sure I am proactive in taking care of them so they don't get diseased or infested with bugs or other "bad" things.

Some of the materials I've read mentioned putting some kind of "sleeve" around the trunk of the tree. Some mentioned "painting" the trunk with some kind of compound. Some mentioned regular spraying.

I'd rather not spray any chemicals on the trees if I can avoid it. What can I do to ensure that the trees continue to be healthy and grow?

Should I prune more later this summer? How often should I water? How much should I water?

So many questions! : )

Thanks in advance for any feedback.

Z

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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

With my limited info on peach trees I would say the less is better. Dont over water, peaches dont like "wet feet". Keep an eye for pests and disease and spray if you must. For disease, usually when you see it its too late. You usually have to spray during early spring before shuck split and preferably when the buds are first swollen to control most disease. In moist/cold areas, more spraying might be necessary, I dont know. As for pruning, you can summer prune or early spring prune or both. Some people prune in summer and after leaf fall before the cold sets in.

Here is a good pruning website

http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/422/422-020/422-020.html

And here is a really good spray guide

http://www.virginiafruit.ento.vt.edu/SprayGuide/HomeFruitSprays.html

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 12:06AM
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alan haigh

The links mentioned are written by people who are trained in commercial fruit production and contain a lot of useful info but also fail to address crucial issues to home growers that might render some of the suggestions more harmful than useful.

For example, most of the home orchards that I manage have pest raccoons and squirrels. If you fail to set up a functioning electric fence your best defense may be to train your trees with a straight trunk for their first 4 feet so that you can encircle the trunk with something that will prevent these animals from climbing up the trees or squirrels from jumping aboard. If you don't start training the trees with this intent from year one it is often difficult to impossible to do so retroactively.

Insect and disease control is much different in a home orchard than in a large commercial planting. Commercial orchards must produce pristine fruit and the large plantings are insect and fungus magnets.

Peaches will probably need protection from borers from the time they go into the ground- most other pests you can learn about as the trees mature but your most useful info will probably come from this site and not from university literature. Such literature is never up to date on the compounds available for pest control in home orchards.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 5:55AM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

OK The links are used as REFERENCES. Quit knocking good info

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 9:56PM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

harvestman, is it ever possible for you to just give some good advice or do you always have to $hit a little on the person who posts just prior to you?

No one ever said to use "university" websites solely to learn how to grow. I posted them as REFERENCES to get an idea of how and what to use for certain pests and how to prune a tree. I dont understand how you can even begin to knock that info? I guess your just one of those glass half empty type of people huh? Just cause your full of decent knowledge doesnt give you the right to crap on other good advice.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 10:02PM
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alan haigh

Blazerguy, the references were excellent and I thank you for posting them. I'm sorry you inferred that what I said had anything to do with you. This is not a personal medium and I think both of us should just relax a bit. Yours is a personal attack on me that should only be sent via e-mail, which is forum rules.

I have a long history of voicing my concerns about the quality of advice from land grant universities to home growers here.

When I started, I relied on Cornell for a lot of my info as it was before the internet and I did become annoyed sometimes with some of the information I got, often directly from the people at the universities themselves. When someone with a PHD tells you something is so you expect them to know what they are talking about. However, there's no substitute for experience, as helpful as a formal education can be. You can't transfer information from commercial fruit production directly to home orcharding without editing by someone with a lot of experience doing the latter.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 5:59AM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

Blaze,

As a new grower of peaches I found your links very helpful, thank you for posting them.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 7:29AM
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iamzvonko(5)

Thanks for all the responses and links!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 8:30PM
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