The cultivation of the peach tree

Today we approach a traditional Spanish crop. The peach tree  is one of the most popular fruits of the Iberian Peninsula, and that is why it receives our interest since we want there to be no doubt for all those who want to grow it. Knowing what you need will ensure a high quality fruit. Let’s see what it takes to harvest great peaches.

HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR PEACH TREE

Despite the fact that in Spain the peach tree is a very widespread and valued crop, there are other countries that take advantage of us, such as China (the first producer), Italy and the United States . Behind us would also be countries with a Mediterranean climate such as Italy and Greece.

Speaking of the tree, it belongs to the Rosaceae family and can reach a height of 7 meters. Normally it is reduced considerably less and the trunk is left very short in order to facilitate harvesting. One of the best visual impacts in the field is offered by the peach tree (or like the plum and almond tree) when the flowers come out, in early spring and late autumn.

CLIMATIC NEEDS

The peach tree is acclimated to temperate zones . Its origin is from China and has been introduced throughout Europe through Persia. It is not very resistant to severe cold and constant sub-zero temperatures cause damage to the development of its buds, but it does prefer winters with temperatures between 5ºC.

As for the light, it needs large doses of radiation , so it does not have to be placed in shady areas. On the other hand, watch out for excessive sunlight on the trunk and branches. If so, it is necessary to whitewash it. (That is why many times we see the trunk of some fruit trees of white color).

SOIL CHARACTERISTICS

Within the cultivation of the peach tree there is a great variety of patterns, so it adapts to various soil conditions. It has preferences, and they are deep, cool soils and above all with good drainage . As soon as there is waterlogging around the roots, it will be susceptible to root suffocation . As for the pH, it is usually between 6 onwards, close to neutral. These are the optimal values ​​for most crops. Important variations, whether through acid soils or alkaline soils, may lead to the appearance of deficiencies. Be careful with iron chlorosis , which will occur when the limestone content is high, since, as a general rule, the peach tree is quite sensitive in this regard.

Peach plantation

SUBSCRIBER QUANTITY

The three main minerals that the peach tree needs are those that make up the NPK, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. You can try mineral-type fertilizers where the specifications are fixed, or you can make it ecological, adding a good amount of compost or manure around the trunk, and repeating at the end of the winter season and in flowering. As we discussed in the articles on compost or vermicompost , if composting is done well, it will contain enough mineral compounds to meet the tree’s nutritional needs.

A good system is the deep bed for trees, which will provide an environment where the roots thrive without problems and where you get all the nutrients. Yes, there is also a deep terrace for trees and not only for the orchard. Take a look and get high yields not only with horticulturals.

HOW MUCH WATER DO YOU NEED?

The peach tree requires constant watering , especially in dry climates where the soil easily becomes caked. It usually works under the localized drip irrigation system with several outlets per tree, so that a deficit but constant irrigation is achieved. Under this system large productions are achieved with significant water savings.

The most commonly used system is automated drip irrigation. Pioneering systems such as exudative irrigation can increasingly be seen . Returning to the issue of the dropper, you can put 2 to 4 droppers in order to wet the entire root area and achieve a homogeneous growth of the roots. Little by little we will calibrate it to avoid that the earth remains dry or that undesirable flooding occurs.

FRUIT THINNING

The thinning of fruits in the cultivation of the peach tree is a task that is quite important, especially in the final size of the product. It is usually done manually and one fruit is left for every 10-20 cm, the rest is eliminated in the following way. It is established as a factor to eliminate size, so if the fruit in development is somewhat larger than another nearby fruit (more or less the size of a hazelnut or similar), the smallest is eliminated.

Peach tree plantation in winter
Source: Región de Murcia Digital

PRUNING

The pruning of a fruit tree is so important that it deserves a particular entry in Gardenprue, in the future we will talk about the pruning of the peach tree , as we also did it with the pruning of the plum or the pruning of the apple tree .

But hey, we advance some things that should be clear when pruning any fruit tree:

There are 2 systems of pruning, in glass or in palm, and whose differences vary in terms of the density of plantation that one has, the labor that is willing to carry out, etc. There will also be rejuvenation pruning in which deep pruning work is carried out, to eliminate between 60 and 70% of the branches.

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