Growing Together: Open Forum

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  • 1.  Taking Care of Peach Trees

    Posted 11-16-2021 02:09:00 PM
    I have a peach tree at one of the gardens that I oversee. Our first harvest came in 2019, but last year the tree produced about 18 fruits and each one (I believe) were eaten by birds. The problem is that half of the tree had leaves, but the other half didn't. Does anyone know what could be the problem?

    Eric Williams
    Community Coordinator Liaison
    Easton Banks Learning & Life Center, Inc.
    Stone Mountain, GA

  • 2.  RE: Taking Care of Peach Trees

    Posted 11-17-2021 11:26:00 AM
    Hi Eric,

    Caveat: my grandparents had an apple orchard not a peach orchard, but I'm guessing they are similar in issues. 

    Root damage will absolutely cause one half of a tree to not produce leaves -- digging and cutting a major root, freeze if roots are too close to the surface, etc can cause it.  
    Cut, and now is a good time, one of the non-leafing branches right next to the trunk and see if it is greenwood or dead wood. 
    You will probably want to cut back the dead limbs this winter and allow the tree to reestablish it's roots on that side and then put out new limb growth. 

    Michelle Zupan
    Hickory Hill & the Tom Watson Birthplace
    502 Hickory Hill Drive
    Thomson, GA  30824
    FAX: 706-595-7177

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  • 3.  RE: Taking Care of Peach Trees

    Posted 11-17-2021 12:38:00 PM
    Thank you so much. I'll definitely do what you suggested with our students tomorrow so it'll be a lesson for all of us.

    Eric Williams
    Community Coordinator Liaison
    Easton Banks Learning & Life Center, Inc.
    Stone Mountain, GA

  • 4.  RE: Taking Care of Peach Trees

    Posted 11-29-2021 01:07:00 PM

    It's tough to say exactly what the issue could be without being there and seeing the tree and it's surroundings. I used to be the production manager for a peach orchard near Kansas City. I see you said your first harvest was in 2019. I'm assuming the tree is still pretty young? Peaches respond well to heavy pruning. In our area we generally don't prune peaches until February after the REALLY cold weather has gone through. But I see you're in Georgia so I would bet your winters aren't quite as bad as ours. I would suggest cutting off anything dead first. I would also suggest you sterilize your pruners/lopers/saw after the cuts on the dead branches as to not potentially spread any disease. After pruning, I would suggest fertilizing your tree. I would also consider spraying the tree with copper fungicide (organic BTW in case that is a concern of yours) to prevent possible bacterial or fungal issues. I would spray after pruning once the wounds have healed. Always read the label and apply accordingly. But I would bet you would want to spray them a couple times a year. Once while dormant, once before bud break, and once after flower drop and fruit has set. 

    Just my 2 cents. Hope it helps and good luck!

    Kendall Slaughter
    Farm to School Specialist
    Springfield Public Schools
    Springfield, Mo

  • 5.  RE: Taking Care of Peach Trees

    Posted 11-30-2021 06:03:00 PM
    In Texas, squirrels are definitely peach thieves! You could try tying a bag around the peaches as a deterrent and keeping an eye on it until they're ready to pick.

    Lily Nguyen
    Education Specialist