Is there anything more luscious than a home-grown, juicy peach on a warm summer day? Growing big, plump peaches starts with growing a peach variety that is known to create large fruits. Then, by ensuring the tree is healthy and not stressed by drought, thinning out the fruits causes the tree's energy to be focused on making fewer but larger fruits.
Nurture the overall health of the peach tree. Place 3 to 4 inches of organic mulch or compost over the root zone of the tree. Irrigate the tree so the soil is moist in periods of drought, and apply a granular, slow-release fertilizer in spring in the dose recommended on the product label.
Monitor the flowering of the peach tree in early spring. Promote pollination of the flowers by bees by avoiding the use of pesticides or asking a local beekeeper to temporarily situate a beehive near the tree to facilitate better pollination.
Allow young peaches to begin to form on the tree. The small peaches will first become noticeable in April or May. Remove any pest-eaten or dead fruits with a pinch of your fingernails or by cutting them with hand pruners.
Once the small peaches are about the size of a nickel, begin thinning out the numbers of peaches in clusters on branches. For example, if there are four young peaches developing in one cluster, remove two peaches to allow the two remaining peaches to grow larger.
Monitor the peach growth, and when the peaches reach the size of a quarter or silver dollar, selectively remove peaches. Any malformed, damaged or multiple clusters of peaches should be again thinned out, so that one peach remains every 12 to 18 inches on each branch.
Harvest the peach when it is firm but fragrant. Peaches will continue to grow and enlarge on the tree up until the point the fruit becomes soft, fully ripe, and drops. The key is to not pick too early or too late.
Things You Will Need
- Organic mulch
- Compost or granular slow-release fertilizer
- Hand pruners
- Do not remove developing peaches past the size of a golf ball, or about 1-1.5 inches in diameter. Reducing the number of peaches per limb or tree redirects energy into creating larger, higher quality fruits of those that remain.
- Trees that are not drought-stressed in late spring and early summer will have more peaches than those that drop foliage or fruits from lack of water.
- Consider draping a bird net over the peach tree to prevent birds from piercing and eating the developing peaches you want to grow perfect and large.
- Do not cut away flowers or young developing peaches too early, as many fruits may naturally die and drop off. Wait until you can see the overall abundance of small fruits to selectively thin out fruit numbers.
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