Sunday, May 16, 2010

Semi-Dwarf Belle of Georgia Peach: We've Got Peaches!

I planted my only fruit tree, a Belle of Georgia Peach, in the summer of 2007.  This was the year I first started gardening and I didn't know anything about what to plant or where to plant it.  I knew that my family liked peaches so buying a peach tree seemed like a wise thing to do.  Then I started learning more about gardening here in Chicago and was disappointed to read that peach trees aren't typically grown here.  Our cold hard winters are just too much for them.

My peach tree came from Home Depot.  It was around 4 feet tall and pretty scruffy looking when I bought it.  I planted it way too close to the house and after learning I'd probably never get peaches, I sort of forgot about it.  I've never pruned it, never fertilized it.

Yesterday, while watering my newly planted Japanese Maple I caught a glimpse of something attached to the branches of the tree.  I was so excited to see baby peaches that I nearly peed myself.  I called my husband over and we stood there for a good long while, marveling at the peaches and talking about all the things we'll do with them if they survive.  It was in my top 5 gardening moments.  In fact, I haven't stopped talking about it, yet.

Unfortunately, I also noticed this gross red lumpy stuff on the leaves and later learned it's Peach Leaf Curl, a fungus that commonly attacks peach trees.  It seems that by the time you spot it, nothing can be done to get rid of the fungus.  The tree will need to be treated around November, or whenever about 90% of the leaves have dropped, and possibly again in January.  I also thinned as much of the tree as I could reach so that there is only 1 peach every 6-8 inches. This allows the energy to be focused on fewer fruit, a necessity since this fungus really stresses the tree.

So, after 3 years I'm thrilled to report that we're officially on a peach watch at my house.

5 comments:

  1. Jim remembers that there was a peach tree in his neighborhood when he was a kid and it would fruit every other year. He wants one bad. Too bad there's no more room!

    Our Robin returned to Japanese Maple and there's two little eggs in the nest.

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  2. Woohoo! There isn't anything that comes close to homegrown peaches! Peach leaf curl looks ugly, but won't really hurt the tree, just affects fruit production. We spray Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Valentine's Day out here.

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  3. Three words, Gina : Cotton burr compost. Don't know if you have a good garden center nearby that carries it ( Gethsemane does ) but it is known to help cure disease and it worked on my forsythia.

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  4. Our cherry tree blossomed and has fruit starting to grow for the first time...It feels a little bit like watching your baby take their first steps!

    Good luck with it!

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