The scientific name of the peach tree is Prunus persica and it belongs to the family, Rosaceae. The tree is native to China and it symbolises immortality and unity in Chinese culture. Throughout this article we’ll be looking at peach tree care and how to get the most out of your own peach tree. Let’s get started, shall we?
The Need to Know’s before you start your peach tree growing journey
- You should start out with a healthy one-year old tree with an established root system
- An important factor when planting a peach tree is determining whether your soil is well drained
- You need to know which type of peach tree best fits you and your purpose
Which is the best type of Peach Tree?
There are over 2,000 different types of peaches all around the world and because of this, they all harvest at different times in the summer season. We understand it may be a little overwhelming when it comes to deciding on a peach tree for your home garden and we strongly suggest investing in Dwarf or Miniature peach tree varieties. These type of peach trees are great and affordable options for home gardeners. Their maximum height of 6ft allows for more space and convenience, as well as being able to produce two or more times the number of fruit buds as a standard peach tree.
For example; the ‘Honey Babe’ peach tree, a part of the popular variety, is slow growing but bears fruit quite early on. They support an orange coloured flesh with yellow skin and a deep red blush. Or even a Dwarf Saturn Peach Tree is a reliable choice – with sweet white flesh and excellent flavour. What seems to be most curious about these is that they’re essentially known as ‘flat donuts’ because of their unusual shape. Imagine if your peach tree grew peach flavoured donuts, though? That would be rather epic…. but let’s move on to non-related donut issues like growing, planting and harvesting your own fruit.
- You will need a well-drained site and fertile soil with access to the sun. It’s best to avoid low areas as frost can easily settle and destroy the peaches
- Dig a hole that is a few inches deeper and wider than the spread of the roots. Be sure to spread the roots away from the trunk without excessively bending them
- If you are planting standard-size trees, space them 15 to 20 feet apart and for Space dwarf trees 10 to 12 feet apart
- Apply 2-3 inches of organic material such as wood bark around the root zone. Mulching helps discourage and prevent weeds as well as water pooling. Every little protection helps!
- While your peach tree starts to work it’s magic, it is essential to continue care and maintenance tasks to encourage growing by regular watering, feeding and fertilising which are all critical elements in whether your trees thrive or simply survive
- Fertilising is an effective way to replenish the nutrients in your soil so be sure to monitor your peach tree in extreme weather conditions. We recommend using Rootgrow, approved by The Royal Horticulture Society
- It’s highly recommended that peach trees should be pruned annually or when it is necessary for the tree. You can slightly prune any foliage which is clearly preventing light from reaching shaded peaches
- The best time for pruning peach trees is in early spring as it reduces the chances of pest infestation
- The primary focus is to remove slow growing, old, non-fruitful shoots. Pruning is an important task to carry out to ensure your peach tree remains healthy and is getting the most out of its surroundings
Individual peaches need to be exposed to the sun if they are to ripen successfully. Knowing when the fruit is ripe can be judged from its colour. If in doubt, gently press the fruit the stalk end. If it ‘gives’ a little, the fruit is ripe- if it is hard, leave it for a week or so. Ripe peaches do not keep for any length of time and they should be eaten within a day or so of harvesting.
The most important preventable pest for peach trees is a peach leaf curl. The fungus ‘Taphrina deformans’, which is responsible for the disease, over-winters in cracks in the bark. When the young leaves expand, the fungus attacks them, and it results in severally deformed leaves. The flowers and fruit drop. Note that when the leaves have expanded to their full size, they can be no longer infected.The cure for peach leaf is to spray the entire tree towards late January with Bordeaux mixture – this is readily available in most garden centres. Follow the instructions carefully for best effect. Repeat the spraying in mid-February. In this way, the fungus will be killed before the leaves expand.
There are many other effective techniques to undertake when planting and growing a peach tree, so if you have ways of which have not been described here, please comment and let us know! Be sure to stay tuned for more fruit care guides, in the meantime if you have any queries or require advice, get in touch with us. Don’t forget, August is National Peach Month so make sure to enjoy a peach or two then!