Peach Tree Growth
Increasing your peaches can provide a yearly supply of tree-ripened, sweet fruit picked at the right time for best taste. Although not difficult to grow, peach trees (Prunus sp.) Have a couple of basic cultural and pruning requirements you’ll need to fulfill to ensure a fantastic harvest of fruit. Although a lot of distinct types of peach trees are available, many are reliably hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture planting zones above and 5.
Although you’ll discover hundreds of peach tree cultivars, two basic kinds exist: those that produce freestone fruit in which the stone discharges readily from the fruit’s flesh and clingstone types with flesh tightly attached to the stone. Both kinds are adaptable to different kinds of soil, even though they require excellent drainage and perform badly in too moist conditions. Peach trees require abundant light and perform best in a place that receives sun the entire day. To plant a peach tree, then prepare a hole twice the diameter of the tree’s root ball, keeping any graft union a few inches above the ground. Water the tree fully at planting and often afterwards, and fertilize it with a balanced fertilizer approximately ten days after planting and a few times during the initial growing season.
The growth pattern of a peach tree is vital in determining its general health and fruitfulness. The Ohio State University Extension recommends training and pruning a young peach tree to an “open center” shape, which helps the tree develop a balanced frame of principal branches. Immediately after planting, a young tree should be pruned back to a height of about 2 1/2 feet and each of side branches removed, leaving one central stem. Through the subsequent two years, allow only strong side branches, known as scaffolds, to grow, and trim off any shoots that kind to the central stem. New growth on the inward-facing side of scaffolds should also be removed because they can shade the tree’s center. After three years, the shape of the tree should resemble a vase.
Peaches bloom in the spring, and each blossom has the capability to produce fruit. When petals fall from the blossoms, small fruits start to appear on 1-year-old shoots; these fruits continue to grow over the next few months. Generally, a peach tree produces more fruit than it can support, especially if the tree is young. Thinning fruit is a good practice that prevents weakening of this tree and guarantees that some fruits reach full size. When young peaches are about the size of a quarter, typically three to four weeks after blooming, remove some fruits by hand so the remaining young peaches are spaced about 8 inches apart around the tree’s branches.
When fertilized correctly, a healthy peach tree produces about 18 inches of new growth every year. A well-established tree requires 1 to 2 pounds of a balanced, 10-10-10 fertilizer, applied early in the spring and two months after, to encourage continued fruit formation. Broadcast the fertilizer evenly in an area about 1 foot away from the tree trunk. Remove grass and weeds from this region so the tree receives the full benefit of this fertilizer, and mulch the tree nicely. Irrigate the tree through the growing season, watering especially nicely three weeks prior to harvest to help fruit reach full maturity.