Growing Peach Trees

Here you'll find valuable tips on planting, growing, and caring for peach trees. Also included are nutritional facts and interesting information on the peach.

There is nothing like the flavor of a ripe, juicy peach. Peaches from the store do not compare to fresh, home-grown peaches. This fruit is a favorite of many because of its delicious flavor and versatility. Peaches are often enjoyed alone, and they are a mouth-watering addition to many desserts, jellies, and jams.

According to the online article entitled "Peaches", published by Dole Food Company Incorporated, a medium size peach has a mere 40 calories, and it contains no fat, sodium, or cholesterol. It provides 2% of the daily requirements of vitamin A and 10% of the daily requirements of vitamin C.

The article "Peaches" provides the following information on the history of the peach. It says peaches have been in existence for thousands of years. China was the first to cultivate them. Peaches, which are botanically known as Prunus persica, were given their botanical name by the Romans. Since peaches were harvested in Persia before being shipped to Europe, the Romans thought they originated in Persia. The same article says the first peach trees in the United States were planted in California by Spanish missionaries. Peaches were commercially grown for the first time in the United States sometime during the early part of the nineteenth century.



According to the Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet entitled "Growing Peaches and Nectarines in the Home Landscape", written by Gary Gao, there are hundreds of varieties of peaches, and these varieties either fall under the category of "freestone" or "clingstone". Freestone peaches, which are primarily used for eating in their natural form, have pits that are easily removed from the flesh. Clingstone peaches, which are primarily used for canning, have pits that cling tightly to the flesh. The same article says the flesh of peaches can be either white or golden in color.

The article "Types of Peaches" describes two delicious varieties. It says "Elegant Lady" and "O-Henry" have golden flesh. These two types of peaches are very popular for their fantastic flavor, and they are often sold in grocery stores. Several varieties to consider growing at home are provided by the article "Growing Peaches and Nectarines in the Home Landscape". Some early varieties of peaches to consider growing are; "Summer Beaut", "Reliance", "Harken", "Harbinger", and "Sun Haven". Several recommended late season varieties are; "White Hale", "Red Skin", "Madison", "Red Gold", and "Belle of Georgia". These peaches are all freestone varieties, and they are rated as good to excellent dessert-quality fruit.

The article "Growing Peaches and Nectarines in the Home Landscape" provides the following information on choosing a planting site, preparing the soil, and planting. It says peach trees require sandy soil that is rich in organic material. They also require a location that receives full sun and drains well.

For best results, the soil should be prepared one or two seasons before planting. This will allow adequate time to test the pH of the soil and make the proper adjustments to the amount of nutrients and organic material. Soil test kits are available at most county extension offices and garden centers. Your county extension office can advise you on using the test kit, and they can advise you on steps to take to improve the soil in your particular area.

The planting area for a peach tree should be a minimum of 5 feet in diameter, and the soil should be tilled at a depth ranging between 10 and 12 inches. It is recommended that materials such as compost, manure, grass clippings, and leaves are mixed in. Doing so will greatly improve drainage, texture, and nutrient content.

When planting a peach tree, dig a hole in the center of the prepared location. Plant the tree so the bud union is approximately one inch above the soil. If a peach tree is planted too deep it may be injured or killed. Fill in the hole, tamp down the surrounding soil, and finish by moderately watering.

The article "Growing Peaches and Nectarines in the Home Landscape" recommends fertilizing a peach tree a week to ten days after planting and again approximately a month later. It says to use 8 ounces of 10-10-10 fertilizer according to package directions. A 2 to 3 year old peach tree should be fed three fourths of a pound of fertilizer in the months of March and May. A peach tree that is 4 years old or older needs between 1 and 2 pounds of fertilizer in the months of March and May. The same article advises that a May application of fertilizer is not required if the peach tree is healthy and will not be producing fruit that season.

One of the most common problems when growing peaches is a disease known as leaf curl. The article entitled "Peach Leaf Curl", published in 1998 by the website "Gardening With the Garden Helper", gives the following information on the disease. It says the symptoms of peach leaf curl are red or purple, distorted and curled leaves. The blooms and fruit may also be affected. Although this disease appears to do considerable damage, it can be easily controlled. A fungicide should be applied in the fall when there are only about 10% of the leaves left on the tree and in the spring before the buds begin to expand. It is important to carefully follow product instructions and warnings. If leaf curl disease is particularly devastating, be sure to provide the tree with plenty of water, remove more fruit than usual, and fertilize the tree with extra nitrogen. Doing so will help the tree maintain its strength.

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