Growing peaches in the home garden is second to apples in popularity. They grow well in Oklahoma and are easy to care for. When shopping for a peach tree, choose cold-tolerant varieties. Oklahoma’s Cooperative Extension Service suggests the ‘Redhaven,' ‘Lovell’ and ‘Halford’ cultivars. Plant the peach tree in the spring, as soon as the ground thaws in Oklahoma and you can work the soil. Your peaches should be ready to harvest in July or August, depending upon the cultivar.
Choose a planting location. Late spring frosts in Oklahoma will damage the peach tree so try to locate it near a structure, but not in its shade as the peach tree requires full sun. The tree also requires well-drained soil so planting on a slope is advisable.
Test the pH of the soil. Although you can purchase a home testing kit at most large gardening centers, your Oklahoma county cooperative extension agent can not only analyze the soil but offer suggestions for any necessary soil amendments. For instance, a soil pH of less than 5.8 will require the addition of lime.
Remove all weeds from the planting area. Weeds compete with the young tree for moisture and nutrients in the soil. Bermuda grass and Johnson grass are particularly prevalent in Oklahoma.
Place the peach tree in a bucket of water for 1 hour prior to planting if the roots are dry.
Amend the soil by first loosing it with the gardening fork. Loosen the soil to a depth of 12 inches and remove any rocks or other debris from the planting area. Add a 3-inch layer of compost and the suggested amendments and mix them into the soil to a depth of 8 inches.
Dig a hole the same depth as the tree has been growing, and three times the diameter. Place the roots in the hole with the roots fanned out in all directions. Make sure that the bud union (bump on the lower portion of the trunk where the tree was grafted) will be 1 inch above the surface of the soil when planted.
Backfill the hole halfway with soil and then fill it with water. When the water drains, finish filling the hole with soil. Tamp down around the base of the peach tree with your feet to remove any remaining air pockets.
Create a watering basin by mounding soil into a ring around the tree. The basin should be 3 inches deep and 5 inches thick and placed 2 feet away from the tree. Fill the basin with water immediately after planting the peach tree. When you water the peach tree, especially during its first summer in Oklahoma, fill the watering basin completely.
Add a 3-inch layer of mulch to the soil within the watering basin. Mulch will help to protect the young roots from the Oklahoma summer heat. It also discourages weed growth.
Wrap the trunk of the tree from the soil to 18 inches up the trunk. This protects the tree from the sun and rodent and insect damage.
Things You Will Need
- Gardening fork
- Tree wrap
- You can find the current soil temperature in your area of Oklahoma by visiting the Oklahoma Mesonet website (see Resources).
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