Peach trees are both sleek and attractive. The flowers are pale pink, white, gray, cream, and scarlet, with a mildly hypnotic sweet aroma with hints of honey and almond—it’s no surprise that their scent is a favored element often imitated in perfumes. Planting peach trees benefits gorgeous landscaping trees and produces healthy fruits great for baking, preserving, or eating straight from the tree. Peaches generally grow well in Texas, but there are a few things to note. Thus, how do you grow and plant peach trees in the Lone Star State?
As summer approaches, so will annual pilgrimages to roadside stalls and farmers’ markets where popular types of Texas’ luscious freestone peaches come in consecutive waves, establishing a national standard for sweetness. People in Texas are fortunate to live in a climate that permits many trees and plants to grow, and peaches are commonly farmed in Texas. However, the varied environment from the Gulf Coast and south Texas to the continental weather of north Texas influences the suitable types. This article will uncover more about planting and growing peaches in Texas and other fascinating facts.
What Factors Should Be Considered When Planting a Peach Tree?
A potential grower’s first crucial decision is to decide on a suitable location. Peach trees prefer full sun exposure to grow; exposure is at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight daily. Additionally, an orchard site must have the correct soil type, internal drainage, water quality, and elevation that supports air drainage to be healthy and productive in the long run. Peaches can be cultivated in a variety of soil conditions. However, the ideal condition is a well-drained, sandy loam at least 18 to 24 inches above a red, well-drained clay subsoil. The spacing is around 100 trees per acre.
Planting immediately after clearing a site of standing timber, particularly post oaks, is not recommended because of the possibility of pathogens such as oak root rot.
While site selection is vital, the main limiting element for Texas peaches is an unexpected bloom-killing frost. The average last day of a frost varies greatly across the state, and careful selection of trees with chilling requirements in synchrony with a specific area is critical for long-term orchard survival. Choosing an orchard site with a high elevation in the surrounding area is the most important element in preventing crop loss due to spring frost.
When is the Best Time to Plant a Peach Tree?
Plant between December and early March, when the trees are dormant. Planting and transplanting over the winter will be far less stressful for your tree. Furthermore, the tree will have plenty of time to establish good root growth before the hot summer arrives, making it simpler to effectively adapt to its new environment. Trim unhealthy or damaged roots and soak them in water for one hour before planting.
What Are the Winter Chilling Requirements for Peach Trees in Texas?
Peaches require a minimum number of winter hours below 45 degrees Fahrenheit to break winter dormancy and develop and blossom regularly in spring. These hours, referred to as the chilling requirement, differ between peach varieties. Frost can damage early blooms if a tree’s chilling requirement is too low. If the need is too high, the tree may take too long to emerge from dormancy, resulting in low peach yields.
The chilling requirement varies per region in Texas. Chilling time for peaches cultivated in north Texas, including the Dallas-Fort Worth area, is roughly 900 to 1,000 hours. Moving south, the required time reduces to 800, 700, and then 600 hours at Austin’s latitude in central Texas and 400 hours in San Antonio and along the Gulf Coast, including Houston. In McAllen and the southern edge of Texas, the time drops to 200 hours.
How Do You Care for Peach Trees to Keep Them Growing?
Remember that, like all fruit trees, newly planted peach trees will take several years to produce fruit. Peach trees usually take 2 to 4 years to mature. But persevere; it will be worthwhile in the end!
Drip irrigation is recommended by experts for peach trees. If you have enough water, give your new peach tree (once a week):
In April and May, 7 gallons of water per week
In June, 14 gallons
In July and August, 28 gallons
September, 21 gallons. If there are seasonal rainfalls in autumn, you may not need to water your plants.
Give (once a week) to second-year trees:
In April and May, 14 gallons
In June, 28 gallons
In July and August, 56 gallons
In September, 28 gallons (if autumn rains have not arrived)
First-year care is critical, especially when it comes to weed control. Weeds, if left untreated, can constrain the first year’s growth. Most weeds extract more water and nutrients from the soil than newly planted peach trees. These little trees are frequently observed standing in beautiful green grass, with telltale red patches on their foliage from nitrogen deficiency. Weeds can be controlled mechanically by tilling, disking, or chemically by employing herbicides.
Pruning is an important element of caring for your peach trees over time. Remove old and graying shoots, as well as any totally vertical sprouts each winter so that the branching is stronger and more exposed to sunlight.
Keep nutrient levels in the ideal range to keep trees healthy and productive. The only way to tell exactly what nutrients are required is to analyze the soil and foliage. Six weeks after planting, apply 1 pound of 10-10-10 fertilizer to the young peach tree. Spread the fertilizer 18 inches away from the trunk and water thoroughly. In the second year, apply 3/4 pounds of 10-10-10 fertilizer in the spring and early summer. Beginning with the third year, add 1 pound of nitrogen each spring when the tree begins to grow.
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- Texas Pure Products, Available here: https://www.texaspureproducts.com/Blog.aspx?IID=19&ARC=1#:~:text=There%20is%20nothing%20better%20than,of%20varieties%20to%20choose%20from
- Peach Production in Texas, Available here: https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/extension/peach/peach.html
- Hunker, Available here: https://www.hunker.com/13429153/how-to-grow-peach-trees-in-texas
- Moon Valley Nurseries, Available here: https://blog.moonvalleynurseries.com/texas/grow-peach-trees