For The Answer
Weekly Express-News Article
Peaches are not easy to grow in
For best success, plant your peach tree in a raised bed in full sun, they cannot tolerate shade or poor drainage. An easy way to make a raised bed for a peach tree is to make a square with four used railroad ties. They are heavy enough to lay on the ground without fasteners of any kind if you level the soil under the ties. Fill the bed with landscape soil from GardenVille, Keller Material, Fertile Garden Supply or a similar source. Plant the tree in the middle of the eight feet by eight feet square after you incorporate two cups of slow release lawn fertilizer into the bed. Mulching with live oak leaves is also a good idea.
It is best if you can irrigate with drip irrigation. Kits are available at nurseries or home improvement supply stores. Leaky hoses also work well.
Peaches are very prone to diseases and insects. To have a chance that a large number of the fruit will be blemish-free, a weekly spray program is required. There are fruit tree sprays that combine Captan (fungicide), and carbaryl (insecticide) or you can buy them separately and combine them yourself. Organic gardeners have a more difficult time. Try neem oil, pyrethrins, Spinosad, and sulfur products.
If you do not begin spraying ever week after the petals drop, you can expect stink bugs to hit the fruit. The stink bugs inject their digestive juices and then ingest the “soup.” The result is misshapen, scarred fruit. In the long-term (seven – nine years) many peach trees succumb to bacterial canker. The limbs exude a gummy material and branches die one by one. Resist bacterial canker by maintaining good drainage, and by keeping them well watered. Iron chlorosis can also be a major problem. Even if the peach tree is planted in a raised bed, the roots reach the alkaline native soil. Apply an iron spray every spring and autumn and fertilize with an iron chelate product to fend off chlorosis. Make your own chelate by mixing a cup of iron sulphate in a five-gallon pail of compost. Spread the product over the raised bed.
If the irrigation and spraying is not enough, peaches also do best if they are pruned every spring in February. The website www.plantanswers.com has instructions and diagrams.
If peaches require
too much care for you, try plums.
They benefit by the raised bed, but are less sensitive about
spraying and pruning. Methley
is the best plum to plant.
Apples are just
as hard to grow as peaches in