Maintenance for young peach tree

OmniSeptember 30, 2012

Hello everyone. This is my first time growing a peach tree (or fruit tree in general). So far, the July Elberta peach tree has grown quite vigorously since I've planted it.

I have some questions about it, in terms of maintenance. I've been trying to find some yearly schedule/calendar on when to prune it, when to give it fertilizer, and when to use what pesticide/spray. I've heard from from the forums that its best to use some type of copper based fungicidal spray before the winter starts. Which one should I use and when? And also, is it necessary to paint the trunks white? Can I just use a white tree guard that goes around the tree trunk?

I've been overwhelemd by what the plenty of sources say. I was just wondering if someone can tell me their schedule here or point me to a simple one that works for peach trees.

Thank you!

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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

The super simple calendar for a tree that has not started bearing fruit is prune in March, spray copper/oil just as the buds swell, fertilize in April by top-dressing with compost and a handful of 5-5-5 or similar, and mulch with wood chips out to the canopy size sometime in spring.

During the growing season there is not much to do until the tree bears fruit. Once it starts bearing you will have a load of work and challenges. Do water the tree in dry spells.

In the fall if the tree got some disease such as bacterial spot during the summer, spray copper again just after the leaves have fallen.

There is probably no need to paint trunks white in the mid-atlantic, that is for sunnier places. I would not recommend tree guards as they can be home for pests.

Some common mid-atlantic problems you should read up on for when the tree starts to bear include: plum curculio, oriental fruit moth, stink bugs, bacterial spot, brown rot, peach tree borer, squirrels, deer. All of these have been major problems for me at some point. There are many other things listed in the literature but its these "biggies" that will keep you busy.

Scott

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 9:03AM
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Omni

Thank you for your reply!
Are there any chemicals of sprays that I should get? Anything to apply during the winter or right before it comes out of dormancy in early spring?

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 5:43PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

At this point the only thing you need is a copper spray in fall. Some people spray oil in spring but that is usually not needed on peach trees. The one thing I occasionally need oil for is white scale on peaches, if you see stuff that looks like flaking white paint that gets mooshy when you squish it you will need to spray oil. Its very unlikely you would have that now.

Also read up on all the pests I mention above, you will need to be doing a lot of spraying once the fruits start forming and you have a few years to get ready.

Scott

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 8:41AM
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Omni

Thanks a lot Scott! Any recommendations for copper spray?

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 7:24PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I use Kocide 3000 but it may come in large bags only. Any copper will work, they are all similar but Kocide 3000 is the best in terms of letting you use less copper. Copper must be limited since it stays in the soil and after many years there can be a problem with soil life.

Scott

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 8:33AM
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Bradybb(wa8)

There was a recent discussion with Mrs.G about using Chlorothalonil,(Bonide's Fung-onil)being one fungicide mentioned.Can that be used in place of Copper? Thanks,Brady

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 11:25AM
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