I am in zone 9a, need recommendation for a peach tree that doesn't take a lot of care. Thanks
Peach trees need maintenance, especially in a hot, humid, buggy place like Florida.
You'll need to prune, fertilize, water (regularly the first year after planting, and during longer dry spells after that), spray, thin the fruit, protect ripening fruit from wildlife (birlds and squirrels love peaches, too!), and pick up and dispose of damaged and fallen fruit (to reduce pests and disease).
However, the maintenance is NOT as bad as it sounds - most of those tasks only have to be done once or a few times a year. Also, most of those jobs don't take long to do if you only have one or a few trees.
Most of the time you spend caring for your peach tree will be watering, especially the first year. So if you set up a simple irrigation system for your tree you can save yourself a lot of time. Unless you enjoy standing by the tree with a hose - some people find it relaxing. (I find it boring!)
To pick a tree, you should first find out what your approximate chilling hours are, and Pick a tree that needs about the same or slightly fewer chill hours than your area gets.
I attached a link to a UF IFAS Publication about Florida peaches that has a chill hours map and includes descriptions and pictures of several peach varieties.
I am taking a risk and growing a California peach named Red Baron. It made one delicious peach the year I planted it (2012), but it did not bloom in 2013. Then again, we had a crazy winter last year (warm January, cold March!) and none of my deciduous fruit trees did much. Hopefully we'll have a more normal winter and spring so this year I'll know whether or not that variety was a good idea. It is a vigorous, healthy tree so far, though.
Here is a link that might be useful: IFAS Peaches Publication
I have a Tropic Sweet, and it is fabulous! Needs no spraying, is very healthy, grew fast, and crops heavily with the most amazing peaches I've ever had. Most never make it inside - eat them right in the orchard=) I planted it to replace a Flordabelle, that was a miserable, unhealthy, disease prone tree despite lavishing care on it. I'd suggest going to your local specialty nursery and looking at their trees in early fall (when peaches look most ragged here) ask them which kind they have least trouble with disease wise, and look at which varieties look healthiest after summer. That is what I did to select my Tropic Sweet. I did tons of internet research when I selected the Florda
Belle, but that doesn't always give the best result.
Oh, and train your tree so that it doesn't branch until 40 inches. That is taller than commercial recommendation, but the best thing I did. During fruiting season, wrap the trunk with aluminum flashing - it keeps raccoons from being able to climb the tree, as they can't jump. Really works! I put the flashing up late this year, and raccoons were getting 4-6 fruit a night. Stopped immediately when I put up the flashing.
Here is a link that might be useful:
What width of flashing do you use and where do you get it? I have a constant struggle with the critters when the peaches are getting ripe.
We are looking at adding a couple of peach trees this year too. When is the best time to plant them?
I got the flashing at home depot. Something like this http://www.homedepot.com/p/Amerimax-Home-Products-10-in-x-10-ft-Mill-Finish-Aluminum-Roll-Valley-68310/100054269#
The 10" is enough to wrap around the trunk, then I custom cut the other dimension to exactly the height of my trunk - which was like 38".
Best time to plant is fall or spring.
IMHO, based on my personal experience, there is no such thing as a peach tree in Florida that doesn't take a lot of care. Good luck tho !
Best time to plant them is NOW :) Here are some of mine a week ago. They are now just covered in flowers.
And a couple more pictures from today.
early this year, critters love 'em.....
I am in Orlando and have 10 peach/nectarine trees. The best variety for me has been UF Sun and Tropic Beauty. I would recommend buying them from a reputable nursery such as http://tropicalfruitnursery.com. They usually sell to local nurseries or they can ship as well.
Those are some beautiful trees bamboo rabbit! Very nicely shaped! How old are they? I'd be interested to see before/after pruning photos to see your technique.
Can't believe you already have a fruitlet that big wallisadi!
The 7 trees were planted as bare root in late February 2012, below is a picture taken in March 2012. So they have been in ground exactly 2 years .......it amazes me just how fast these things grow.
In the first pic above with all the flowers that had not been pruned yet.....they really never went dormant. I just pruned them Friday.
This post was edited by bamboo_rabbit on Sun, Feb 23, 14 at 8:16
That's awesome bamboo rabbit! You should have a great crop this year! I planted mine spring 2010 and have had great crops the past 2 years. I did my spring pruning this past weekend. It is just starting to break dormancy. Here is after pruning:
I wasn't sure how far to let the primary scaffolds elongate before I pruned, it looks like you did it earlier, and that seems to have formed a nicer vase shape. Will you let the secondary scaffolds continue extending unchecked, or will those also be pruned as the tree matures?
But I did achieve a vase shape, and now I've been working out how to maintain it for good fruiting. My current system is to spring prune for a nice crop load and to begin inducing fruiting arm production for the next season. I also mark the branches I will remove in the summer pruning with ribbon while I can clearly see the shape of the tree with all the leaves off. Then after fruiting, I remove fruiting arms I don't want to become part of the permanent scaffolding and prune to induce good fruit arm formation.
This year I'm working on getting some secondary scaffolds to sprout lower down. But as the robust branches tend to only sprout at the apex of a scaffold branch, I have been toying with the idea of shortening the primary scaffolds.
Did you weight your branches to shape them? My tree wants to grow vertically pretty aggressively, and my vase is quite a bit steeper than yours even though I weighted the branches quite a lot while shaping.
You are supposed to remove 1/4 to 1/3 of the tree each year in pruning.....I am still trying to make myself do that but it is hard lol.
I am in the same boat as you that some of the main scaffold branches do not have secondary scaffolds down closer to the trunk. I asked a friend about that issue and he confirmed what I feared which is they will never develop those secondary branches unless you lop off a good portion of the of the main. Just probably is not something I am willing to do given the short life of peach trees anyway.
I do not weigh the branches down but did stake them to help with shape last year. I think the major difference between your trees and mine is a bit of an optical illusion. Because I pruned my tree to knee high originally then choose the main scaffold limbs it looks more open than yours does because you went with a taller trunk.
Yes I will continue to prune all the limbs every year.......it is still a painful process for me lol.
Thanks for the information on your technique!
I actually quite like pruning - very zen=) And I think you might be right about the illusion. Looking back the earlier seasons of mine looked a lot more like yours.
Before spring pruning 2012:
After spring pruning 2012:
That year I didn't do much summer pruning, and the tree was pretty out of control by the next spring. So last year, I marked many branches for removal in spring, and then let them fruit. In midsummer I removed probably half the canopy. This spring I think I have just as many blooms as last year, and a much more controlled shape. So going to continue the same pruning pattern this year. Timing wise I like it, but still trying to decide how to maintain the vase over time when all the growth wants to be at the tips.
I agree with BR that it is very tough to lop off that much of your tree when you plant it. The proof is in the pudding when I see BR's trees how well they are shaped now. Mine suck in comparison to his trees because I couldn't bring my self to whack off that much of my trees.
There is a nice discussion about this over in the Fruit & Orchards Forum. See link below.
Carol in Jacksonville
Here is a link that might be useful: Help spreading peach tree scaffolds
Thanks for the link!
getting a bit of color...
Nice! Mine won't be that big for another month!
I had so many peaches this year - 100s. Didn't do a good enough job thinning, and unfortunately I had a branch break. I think part of the cause was that I didn't take the tree back hard enough during last summer's post fruiting prune. I just finished the summer pruning, so thought I'd post pics.
This was back in April. Sorry, forgot to take one when I started pruning - thought I did, but ah well, it was bigger than this with some limbs hanging nearly to the ground, one of the branches had it's secondary scaffolds completely break.
Here it is today after a hard pruning.
I took back the secondary scaffolds a lot more than I did last year, and made a clean cut on the primary scaffold one where the secondary scaffolds are gone (right most one here) to encourage new ones to growth.
Hopefully this will lead to an equally productive fruiting season next year, but without the secondary scaffolds getting so much stress from being so long.