hope for the peach tree


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We have a peach tree that was grown from a pit. For the past few years it has flowered and has tried
to bear fruit but the fruit would only grow to the size of an olive and would fall off. Last year it had a bad
case of red leaf curl. But with fungicide and cutting away the diseased parts this year the tree has only
a few infected leaves.

I just started my hand in gardening and trying to help the peach tree to bear fruit. I read pruning would help with the fruit bearing process. Someone had pruned the tree before. I pruned more this spring.
Also there a lots of ants running up and down the tree and not sure if they add to the fruit bearing
problem. I tried applying vaseline at the base of the tree (see on image below) to discourage them.
It helped to reduce the number of ants but it is time consuming to reapply vaseline every few days.

Please advise what are the next steps I need to do (or not do or do better at) to encourage the
peaches to grow to full size (like the ones in supermarkets) next year. As of now the tree is pretty
with pink flowers in the spring and lush green tree in the summer (see image 3847 below).

Hope someone can help the tree (and me) out.

Thank you
Evian from New Jersey

attachment=0]IMG_3847.jpg[/attachment]

side view 2016
ATTACHMENTS

below view 2016
 
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Different varieties of peaches require an x number of what is called chilling hours. Chilling hours are hours below 45F temperature. Peaches grown where there is a long winter must be a variety that requires high chilling hours. If the peach is a low chilling hour peach and it gets warm the tree thinks dormancy is over and it will bloom and little tiny peaches will form. Then you get a frost and the little peaches fall off. If you bought the peach that you planted the seed from at a grocery store you have no way of knowing which variety of peach you have nor of its chilling requirements. This is one explanation. Another explanation is that it was not properly pollinated.

Your tree needs a severe pruning. It is much too full. You should prune your tree in the spring as soon as the buds are open, the tree is leafless and you can see what you are doing. You should remove about 1/2 of the blooms each year as the tree will set way more fruit than it can sustain and the fruit will be small. The tree should resemble a wine glass, fairly open in the center and allowing sunlight into the center of the tree. It will probably take 2 or 3 years to achieve the correct shape. But still remove about 1/2 of the blooms.

About the leaf curl. Spray with a copper based fungicide before pruning in the spring. Spray just as soon as you can see the buds starting to swell on the limbs. Spray before the buds are mature and start to open.

I doubt if ants are the problem unless you see them on the blooms or on the fruit. There is probably some tree sap somewhere and they are feeding on that.
 
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Thank you Chuck for your information and help.

In regards to reducing the blooms to 1/2 do you mean cut all the branches with blooms in half -
whether it is 6 inches long or 12 inches long and on old vs new branches?

And until next spring should any nutrients be added to the soil now?
 
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Thank you Chuck for your information and help.

In regards to reducing the blooms to 1/2 do you mean cut all the branches with blooms in half -
whether it is 6 inches long or 12 inches long and on old vs new branches?

And until next spring should any nutrients be added to the soil now?
NO, No,no. The buds will form on new growth only. The new growth will sprout out of the old growth. Just take out about half of the new growth. Then during the following year the new growth this year will be old growth then. If you have to, to make the tree more open remove some of the old growth to this year. And also next and every year. But don't cut a limb in half especially new growth limbs. Always cut the limbs at its terminal. There will be a lot of blooms that look like they are growing on old growth but they really aren't. Remove half of them too. Fertilize 1/2 when the leaves fall and full strength when buds start to show. You want your roots to still be active during dormancy
 
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When should the old growth be removed - during the summer or in the fall when the leaves have fallen off?

You recommend to fertilize 1/2 after leaves fall and full strength when the buds show -
do you mean whatever the fertilizer I will be using to use only half of the recommended
dosage this year and full dosage next year? And what kind of fertilizer I should look for?

Thank you again
 
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When should the old growth be removed - during the summer or in the fall when the leaves have fallen off?

You recommend to fertilize 1/2 after leaves fall and full strength when the buds show -
do you mean whatever the fertilizer I will be using to use only half of the recommended
dosage this year and full dosage next year? And what kind of fertilizer I should look for?

Thank you again
Do all of your pruning at the same time.
Yes, half dose when leaves fall and full dose in the spring. Use any top quality organic fertilizer (OMRI rated). You can use the same fertilizer on your grass or anything else you might have growing too.
 
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Peaches are in season right now here in our place and this week I made peaches in sweet syrup for our dessert. This is what I am always doing when I am buying fresh peaches so that it will not be wasted. This is one of my favorite fruit and how I wish I have a big space for me to plant a peach tree. :)
 
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Do all of your pruning at the same time.
Yes, half dose when leaves fall and full dose in the spring. Use any top quality organic fertilizer (OMRI rated). You can use the same fertilizer on your grass or anything else you might have growing too.

I guess my tree will get a good "haircut" in the spring.
 

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