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Advice on Growing Peach Trees

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    Optimal Environmental Conditions

    • Peach trees thrive in full-sun exposure with no shade breaks and nutrient-rich, well-drained sandy, loamy soil. Always plant your tree in a deeply tilled soil bed with at least 12 inches of the soil depth amended with compost, well-aged manure, leaf mold or a combination thereof. Peach trees are cold-hardy but do require some protection, with tarps or heat lamps for the delicate buds when spring frosts persist. Feed peach trees with twice yearly applications of a 10-10-10 balanced fertilizer in March and May. Spread the fertilizer around the root area near the drip line, keeping fertilizer away from the trunk. Remove any sod growing under the tree to prevent competition for water and nutrients, and mulch with a shredded bark to prevent moisture loss.

    Pruning

    • Pruning and training a peach tree allows good sunlight penetration into the canopy and promotes good air flow. Both of these factors support strong fruiting and prevent conditions that invite disease. Pruning should first be done when you plant your tree and each year thereafter, to develop a strong, well-balanced architectural framing of tree branches. Annual pruning should be done to keep the shape and size of the tree in check as well as to remove low branches, and damaged, dead or crossing branches.

    Managing Pests and Disease

    • They say to be forewarned is to be forearmed, and so it is with peach trees, insects pests and disease. Peaches tend to be vulnerable to mites, tarnished plant bug, oriental fruit moth, peach tree borers, and Japanese and June beetles. They are also prone to fungal troubles such as peach leaf curl and powdery mildew, among others. Prepare yourself accordingly with an arsenal of fruit-safe insecticidal soap, a good fungicide and an insecticide, so you will be ready to pounce at the first sign of trouble.

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