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Peaches

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JanWk3

Summer’s the peachiest time of year and, if you’re a real peach enthusiast, you might like to try growing a tree of your own so you can pick and eat the fresh fruit at its most luscious.

Peaches, which are thought to have originated in China and to have been grown since about 2000 BC, are very easy-going, deciduous fruit trees. While they need a certain amount of winter cold, recent introductions of ‘low-chill’ varieties allow peaches to be grown in even relatively warm areas.

Peaches are self-pollinating, which means that you only need one tree for successful cropping, and they’re pretty trees that are worth growing for their spring show of blossom alone.

Peach trees are most readily available in winter when, like so many deciduous plants, they’re sold bare-rooted or recently potted. But, more and more, they can be bought all year round. Interesting, relatively-recent introductions are the doughnut peach, a flat-fruited variety that’s available in high chill (more frosts) and low chill variants, and the dwarf peaches that are ideal for containers.

Peaches are great for impatient gardeners as they tend to fruit within a few years. They do best in an open, sunny position with well-drained soil. Mix in some compost or manure and some organic plant food (such as Dynamic Lifter) before planting. A layer of mulch over the root area will help retain moisture, but keep the mulch away from direct contact with the trunk.

Winter pruning should open up the centre, remove crowded branches and weak stems, and encourage new growth. Remove excess fruit – they can be rubbed off – in the early stages so that the remaining fruit will grow to a good size. Feed regularly with Dynamic Lifter for Fruit & Citrus.

With such popularity it’s not surprising that peaches are prone to a number of pests and diseases. Most can be prevented by following a regular care regime.


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