Calvin R. Finch, Ph.D., Conservation Director, San Antonio Water System, and Horticulturist
Week of September 3, 2001
Q. You recommend drip irrigation all the time. I did not have good luck with my tree. One emitter at 2 gals/hour did not seem to give it enough water when it had a full crop. What are we doing wrong?
A. One emitter is usually not enough for a full-grown peach tree. What we usually do is put a flexible plastic pipe in a half circle near the drip line with three or four emitters. Run them for four or five hours twice per week when fruit is on the tree. Water once every two weeks after the crop is harvested.
Q. I love our peach tree. Can I start a new one with seed?
A. You can get the seed to germinate if you carefully remove it from the hull and place it in damp vermiculite in a sandwich bag in the refrigerator. Leave it there for about six weeks until the seed sprouts and then plant it in a container.
Unfortunately, the seed will not reproduce the same tree. The seed is a hybrid. Your favorite tree is vegetatively produced and grafted on a rootstock.
Q. We have a pond. We are lucky in that it has water all year. Can we use it to water our garden? It is loaded with algae.
A. The quality of the water will not be a problem for the garden, but the algae may clog up your irrigation system. Flood irrigation is not as efficient as drip irrigation, but does not require filtering.
Q. If we plant some very large Surefire tomatoes now, will we get fruit before winter?
A. Yes, Surefire matures quickly.
Q. We planted papayas late this spring. They are small trees now and one is loaded with football-size fruit. How will we know when it is ripe?
A. The fruit changes color from green to yellow. Papayas require a long period to mature. You may have to pick them early if cold weather is forecast. Contact the Texas Cooperative Extension in Bexar County at 210-467-6575 for green papaya recipes.