I just finished my peach harvest. Sadly, they all seem to ripen over a two week period and it is a mad rush to get them picked before the deer, birds, squirrels and rats get them. But for that two weeks, we have our fill of fresh peach cobbler, crisp, sliced peaches with cinnamon or just biting into a plump one with the juice running down arms and face! Now I need to make jam with those we couldn’t eat fast enough that ended up washed, pitted and in the freezer.
- Choose the right variety for your climate – Most peaches need 600 – 900 hours of temperatures at or below 45 degrees. If you live in a warm winter area like I do, look for ‘low chill’ varieties. I have ‘Babcock’, which only needs 250 – 300 hours.
- Plant varieties with staggered fruit maturity – If you have room for more than one tree, plant different varieties whose fruit matures at different times, so you have fruit over a longer period, possibly from June to September.
- When to plant – Plant bare-root in late winter or spring, or containers anytime except the hottest days.
- Care – Give regular, deep watering. Fertilize with complete fertilizer (ie: 10-10-10) at bud break (late March in my garden). Spray with fixed copper or lime sulfur dormant sprays after autumn leaf drop and again as buds begin to swell but before they open to prevent peach leaf curl.
- Pruning – Peach trees produce fruit on year-old branches and, therefore, benefit from heavy annual pruning. Cut off two thirds of the previous year’s growth by heading back each branch to one third its length or remove two of every three branches.
Space saving hint: Plant multiple trees with varying fruit maturities in single large hole. Visit Dave Wilson Nurseries website for instructions and all kinds of info on peaches and other fruit trees Click here for Dave Wilson Nursery space saving planting tips.