Growing a Reliance Peach Tree
My Peach Tree
Peach Tree, the Beginning
We bought a peach tree in the summer of 2003. It was about 6 foot tall and had flowers on it when we purchased it from a nursery. It was very thin in the trunk area but was very healthy. It is a Reliance Peach Tree. A Reliance Peach is a white fleshed freestone peach. The Reliance Peaches we had seen in our local grocery store seemed to cost a bit more than other peaches so we thought we would give this type of peach a try. We really didn't have much to lose. It was our first fruit tree of any kind and we had high hopes for it. We paid $30.00 for it and figured if it failed we weren't out that much money. The tree was very healthy when we bought it and we started to dig a hole for it the minute we got home. Peach Trees do better in full sun with good air circulation so that the tree can produce lots of peaches.
Peaches, Peaches, and more Peaches
Planting the Peach Tree
So now its time to dig that hole. Lots of different articles I have read say the ph has to be correct, and the soil should be a sandy loam, and the soil has to have good drainage because peach tree roots will rot if they are too wet for too long. I live in Illinois and we have coal black rich soil. I have to say that we did not check the ph levels of the soil and there is nothing sandy about Illinois soil. At least not where I live. We dug a hole about 12 inches in depth, watered the hole and put the tree in. We attached some rope around the trunk because it was small and staked it to help it in the strength department. When we got the tree it was about 6 foot tall but very skinny in the trunk area. We didn't fertilize it we just watered it a couple of times a week, a slow trickle for about a half hour each time. The tree flourished, I'm happy to say. That first year we had the tree we had 4 peaches. They were the best peaches I have ever eaten, the juice just ran down my chin. Outstanding.
The next year we had more peaches than we knew what to do with. My husband ( who didn't want the peach tree in the first place ) was becoming obsessed with the tree. We had to count each and every peach that we got that summer. Over 400 peaches. He would get upset when the peaches bruised when they hit the ground. So he came up with a great idea that would help the peaches stay in good shape when they came off the tree. We did pick some but he wanted them to be as ripe and sweet as possible and being new at the fruit tree growing he didn't want to pick them all as he wanted to see how sweet they could get. So he got an old sheet and cut a slit on it so that he could slide it to the trunk and open it and stake it so when the peaches fell they would land on the sheet. It worked pretty good and we do this every year. It looks funny but we are not getting as many bruised peaches. This past summer we didn't get any peaches because of a late frost in the spring. We know of several other peach trees in our town and no one had peaches. I live very close to the Indiana border and most of the peach trees in Indiana were affected in the same way. When you have a hard frost after the peach trees get their flowers that become fruit, it kills the flowers or buds and you get no fruit. I wasn't sure I could live with my husband he was so disappointed at not having any peaches this past summer. Hoping for some this coming year.
Pest Control and Disease's
Some of the more common insects that can damage a peach tree include tarnished plant bug, stink bug, oriental fruit moth,peach tree borers, Japanese beetle, green June bug, and European red mite. The experts say to use a pest control insecticide for fruit trees. That will never be applied to our tree. The only pest that bothers our tree is the Japanese beetle. They are a very slow moving insect and my husband hand picks them off our tree every single day. What a guy. The most common disease that affects Peach Trees is leaf curl,and this can be controlled with a fungicide. Thankfully we have not had this problem. We hope to have our peach tree healthy and producing wonderful juicy fruit for years to come.