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Growing Peaches Naturally

 
pollinator
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Steve Thorn wrote:

I prefer the shape of your trees over just the whip like growth of some trees. From what I've seen, really healthy peach trees will send out lots of side branches their first year if they've got room.



Glad to hear that. Only concern I have is that the branches are sitting so low I might have to limb up a lot later.

I put a board and a yardstick in the back for better view. This tree is just a bit over 2 month old.

The original soil was pretty poor actually. 3 years ago I grew vegies on the same spot and weeds were taller than my tomato plants. My husband failed to see them and mowed the whole "garden" down. It's amazing permaculture practice can improve the soil in such a short time.
2mpeartree.JPG
2.5m old peach tree grown from seed
2.5m old peach tree grown from seed
topview.JPG
[Thumbnail for topview.JPG]
 
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That peach tree looks amazing May, great pictures!

May Lotito wrote:Only concern I have is that the branches are sitting so low I might have to limb up a lot later.



I wouldn't change a thing.

I'm planning to leave the really low branches on my peach trees and leave the trees unpruned. My 1 year old peach seedling had some branches come out near the bottom, and they seem to grow at about a 45 degree angle and quickly get pretty far off the ground. The tree seems really healthy like this so far.


Hope you get some tasty peaches soon!
 
May Lotito
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I read through the posts on fruit tree pruning and the "never prune" thread as well. Each got it's own reason for doing in a certain way.

I think I am lucky to have a health tree starting from pit and learn about different options from the start. It seems to be a waste of opportunity not to let this tree grow naturally.

If I end up with a 25 ft tree with whirling low branches, I will send my kids climbing up there to get the fruit.

Thanks Steve for all the info. Your tree is one year older than mine, it kind of gives me a heads up what to expect.
 
Steve Thorn
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Excited to see how your peach tree turns out May!
 
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I didn't see this mention, but apologies if I missed it. The UK isn't known for growing peaches but we proudly grew 9 peaches on our tree this year! This was the tree's second year in our garden (we didn't grow it from seed), but last year we lost the only tiny fruit we had to leaf curl. This year we removed any sign of leaf curl we saw every day and that did the trick.

Our 'problem', which didn't end up being too much of a problem, was that where the fruit stalk reached the fruit body, cracks were appearing, which were big enough for ants to get into. One fruit had about 10 ants inside when we opened it up, and on another fruit the stone had some mould on it. Because we only had 9 fruits we were picking them all pretty frequently so nothing had a chance to rot, and the ants weren't a problem, but wondered if this is just a peach thing, or if it's an issue that can be dealt with.
 
Steve Thorn
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Hey Al, awesome to hear that you got 9 peaches!

Do you have any photos of the trees?

One thing that I bet would help both of those issues, is to put a mound of soil around the peach tree, to help increase the soil drainage. One of my peach trees was getting leaf curl, and I added a mound around the tree, and combined with not pruning it, I haven't had any more issues with it.

I bet that the excess water is also probably causing the peaches to swell quickly and crack.

These are just guesses based on the above information, but if you've got photos of the trees, that could give a better picture (no pun intended ) of the situation.
 
Al William
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Steve Thorn wrote:Hey Al, awesome to hear that you got 9 peaches!

Do you have any photos of the trees?

...



Thanks Steve, that's helpful. I don't have any pictures to hand but will take some, although we've eaten all the fruit!

Swelling from water makes sense. I'm glad we got any - being in the unpredictable UK climate, where peaches aren't a usual crop, I was really worried when they flowered so early and it was still very cold outside. The flowers were all gone long before it warmed up and I was worried it was too cold/windy for pollinators, but they must have sneaked in at some point!
 
Steve Thorn
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The peach seedlings are about 4 months old and already about 3 feet tall.

It's time to transplant them into their final home in the food forest! It's really hot right now and definitely not the ideal time to transplant them, but peaches seem to be pretty tough in the hot weather, so I think they'll do fine.
20200719_155506.jpg
4 month old peach seedlings!
4 month old peach seedlings!
20200719_191519.jpg
3 feet tall!
3 feet tall!
20200719_191507.jpg
Well branched root system
Well branched root system
 
Steve Thorn
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It's a great time of year here to plant peach pits!
20200819_154044.jpg
Peach seeds ready to plant!
Peach seeds ready to plant!
 
Steve Thorn
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These are three of four of my biggest peach trees at the moment. The fourth one was grown from seed and will probably pass these by the end of the year.
20200809_155203.jpg
My largest 3 peach trees
My largest 3 peach trees
 
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A late Merry Christmas and happy newyear to you Steve and others reading. That's some impressive growth your peaches are showing Steve! I thought the 3 foot in a year mine achieved was crazy, yours are double that!
I have replanted the peach trees that i had growing in the oak shaded nursery. About thirty were big enough to be given a new place. Some 5 were still small and i give those another year in that spot to get up to speed. I have lost all my peach fruit to the frost for the second year in a row, so no new pits to plant. My plums had a fantastic year though, so i managed to safe some 200 pits of those, Reine Claude type.
I have planted the peach trees seedlings quite close to each other, one and a half feet apart because i want them to function as a wind break/hedge. Last three summers have been so dry and hot for so long that most trees i tried suffered so bad they died. The peaches seem to be little affected by the drought so i thought to use that to my advantage. I've planted them in a row, using composted cow manure/local soil mix, just dig in a long thin spade deep and try to get the roots in as deep as possible, mix the dug out soil with compost and back in it goes. The row consists of a big tree, then a small tree, then a big one, etc. Maybe the small ones turn out better survivors of the summer drought, who knows! If they all survive, i'll have to prune them accordingly, the small ones must stay bushy and lowish and the tall one get to go up higher. I might end up grafting cherries on them, or replanting if they refuse to do what i want them to do. Maybe they all die, but normally something will happen i have not foreseen.
I've had little luck with the hugelcultures we've put in a couple of years ago, but trees planted at the foot of the hugel systems seem to do fine, so i've planted them there too. They'll shade the hugel keeping it moist for longer.
 
May Lotito
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Here is the update of my first year peach tree: it grew 2m tall with trunk of 1.5 inch/4cm in diameter.

The tree has too many lower branches growing into the center. It was surrounded by tall plants when germinated. When those sunflowers were done, more sunlight from south side triggered lots of new growth near ground level. I tried tying the branches for a period of time but it got super windy so I gave up on that.

I read about pruning trees in summer for shaping so I am going to wait till next summer to see how that goes.

I had great fun reading about all these trees growing from seeds. Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you all!
peach-tree-8-months-old.JPG
7 foot tall 1 year old peach tree
 
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I have 7 peach trees that have been in for 12 to 14 years.   I have yet to get a single peach   they bloom like crazy and set on tons of fruit, but what the late frost doesn't get the spring wind does. I always cover them for the frost.   But not sure if there is anything for the wind.
 
Steve Thorn
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Maybe planting a windbreak could help.

Not sure what your growing zone is, but pineapple guava are one species I want to give a try soon, for an evergreen edible hedge.
 
Saralee Couchoud
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I am in zone 6.  West middle tennessee
 
Steve Thorn
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Most pineapple guava are hardy to about zone 8, but some native plants would probably make a good natural wind break, and it could be filled in with some edible fruit trees and berries too.
 
Saralee Couchoud
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It hit me last night. I need to get rid of a bunch of bamboo anyway and the other tread about bamboo suggests using it for a fence. I think I'm going to try weaving a fence around the peach trees on 3 sides using 10 foot rebar for posts. That should provide a wind brake and get rid of some bamboo too. Thanks
 
Steve Thorn
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My 18 month peach tree last October with its first fruit buds forming!
20201003_172921.jpg
18 month old peach tree
18 month old peach tree
20201003_173021.jpg
First peach fruit buds forming!
First peach fruit buds forming!
 
Saralee Couchoud
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That's really fast. Mine are always 3 years old or more. Congratulations
 
Steve Thorn
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Here's an update on my younger peach seedlings. These photos were from last October, near the end of the growing season. The trees are about 7 months old.

Like the seedling in the first picture, the majority of these seedlings seem to be very well adapted and very healthy, vigorous growers. These peach seedlings had already made it through the first test, as they were planted very densely with other peach seedlings, and these were the ones that survived and grew fast enough to out compete their neighbors.

The second picture is of one of the seedlings that is struggling. This is the only one that I noticed that seems to be having more major issues, other weaker seedlings were probably already selected against. Most of the others look very similar to the first picture. It is possible that this weak seedling could be a result of transplant shock, or due to non fertile soil that it was transplanted into. However, I think it's also very possible that it just happened to be a dud genetically for this area. It may have been a vigorous enough grower to keep up with the other seedlings initially, but the disease and pest issues may be catching up to it.

The parents of these seedlings are growing pretty well in my area, so I was glad to see that the majority of the seedlings seem to be inheriting the genes to grow well here also, and hopefully a couple will even greatly surpass their parents. It also seems reasonable that an unlucky few will get the unfortunate bad set of genetics and struggle here as a result.

I may give the struggling seedling another year, just to ensure it wasn't something I did, like transplant shock or unfertile soil. Even if it is a dud, I will turn it into rootstock and graft better adapted varieties onto it that will thrive here.

I'm looking forward to seeing how these seedlings do this coming year with more room for them to grow and hopefully put on a lot of good growth!
20201003_175644.jpg
Thrivong peach seedling
Thrivong peach seedling
20201003_175145.jpg
Struggling peach seedling
Struggling peach seedling
 
Steve Thorn
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This little frog was hanging out on one of the peach seedlings near the end of last year.
20201004_164919.jpg
Small frog on small peach seedlng
Small frog on small peach seedlng
 
Steve Thorn
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I spotted the first flower buds starting to swell about two weeks ago on my oldest seedling peach tree! This will be its first year flowering and its third growing season. I'm hoping it'll hold a few peaches, but I'm expecting that most or all of them may drop off this first year. The tree seems to be very healthy and a pretty good size, so maybe it'll hold on to a few!
20210307_150440.jpg
Lots of flower buds on the 2 year old peach tree in its 3rd growing season
Lots of flower buds on the 2 year old peach tree in its 3rd growing season
20210306_172645.jpg
In the middle is a vegetative bud that will grow leaves and branches, with a flower bud on each side
In the middle is a vegetative bud that will grow leaves and branches, with a flower bud on each side
20210307_150446.jpg
Peach flower buds more close up
Peach flower buds more close up
 
Steve Thorn
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The first peach flowers started opening about a week ago, and they were on the seedling peach tree! Most of them haven't quite opened yet on the rest of this tree or on the other peach trees yet.
20210315_081104.jpg
First peach blossoms opening, and on the seedling peach to boot!
First peach blossoms opening, and on the seedling peach to boot!
20210315_081310.jpg
Peach flower buds swelling
Peach flower buds swelling
20210315_081359.jpg
More peach flower buds swelling
More peach flower buds swelling
 
Steve Thorn
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There are a lot more open flowers today!

This seedling tree seems to bloom over a really long time. It was the first one of all of my peaches to start blooming, and it has a lot of flowers that still haven't started opening. I think that this could be a really valuable trait. By having a long bloom time, it could help reduce frost damage, where if some early blooms are damaged it has later blooms that wouldn't be, it provides a longer time frame for pollinators to be active, and also it is available to pollinate and be pollinated by other varieties, increasing genetic diversity in the offspring.
20210321_171128.jpg
My favorite peach bloom today
My favorite peach bloom today
20210321_170942.jpg
Peach blooms against the sky
Peach blooms against the sky
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More peach blooms!
More peach blooms!
20210321_171044.jpg
Petals starting to fall off
Petals starting to fall off
20210321_171109.jpg
Peach flowers, finishing blooming, and losing their petals
Peach flowers, finishing blooming, and losing their petals
20210321_171117.jpg
Peach flower with no leaves, ready for a baby peach to start forming!
Peach flower with no petals, ready for a baby peach to start forming!
20210321_171150.jpg
Peach flowers in different stages of opening on the peach seedling
Peach flowers in different stages of opening on the peach seedling
20210321_171222.jpg
This is what the seedling peach tree looks like right now
This is what the seedling peach tree looks like right now
 
Steve Thorn
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Compared to the peach seedling above, this named variety peach is about to bloom for the first time too, however all of the blooms look like they are in almost the exact same stage.

I'm guessing that this is selected for by commercial growers mainly so that the crop all ripens near the same time, however for the home grower, and even commercially for a smaller and sustainable scale, I think that having the peaches ripen over a longer time frame provides both more resiliency and value than having a huge amount of the fruit ripen at almost the exact same time.
20210321_171523.jpg
A rare triple flower at the top, and all the flowers seem to be in the same stage on this named variety
A rare triple flower at the top, and all the flowers seem to be in the same stage on this named variety
20210321_171553.jpg
Named peach variety with blooms in almost the same stage
Named peach variety with blooms in almost the same stage
 
Steve Thorn
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This is the tree above in full bloom about a week ago!

It has darker pink blooms than the other peaches.
20210331_184029.jpg
Dark pink peach blooms
Dark pink peach blooms
 
Steve Thorn
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I think I counted 6 peaches left on the seedling peach tree the other day after the really bad late frost we had. Here's a picture of two sister peaches on the tree from a few weeks ago, and they are still doing well!
20210411_173426.jpg
Sister seedling peaches
Sister seedling peaches
 
May Lotito
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Sorry to hear about the loss. Did other fruit trees also suffer from the late freeze? From what I read on the MSU website, apple/pear/peach/plum all have the same critical spring temperature after bloom: 28f 10% kill and 25F 90% kill.
 
Steve Thorn
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Yeah I lost about 90% on the other fruit trees too unfortunately. It was an especially bad one this year.
 
Steve Thorn
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The seedling peaches are getting bigger.
20210423_093518.jpg
Handsome seedling peach
Handsome seedling peach
20210423_093537.jpg
Twin seedling peaches
Twin seedling peaches
20210423_093503.jpg
Handsome seedling peach
 
Steve Thorn
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This peach has a darker reddish color to it.
20210428_075537.jpg
Reddish peach
Reddish peach
 
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