Title: Peach growing in Florida
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00026333/00001
 Material Information
Title: Peach growing in Florida
Alternate Title: Bulletin 27 ; Florida Agricultural Extension Service
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Floyd, W. L.
Publisher: Division of Agricultural Extension, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: February, 1920
Copyright Date: 1920
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00026333
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aab7721 - LTQF
amt6370 - LTUF
47285623 - OCLC
002570064 - AlephBibNum


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The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source

site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.

Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
of Florida

February, 1920

P. H. ROLFS, Director



The peach grows well on a sandy loam or sandy soil. Florida
has, therefore, much land suitable for peach orchards. There

Fig. 1.-Basket of Florida grown peaches

should be present a good supply of humus and plant food. The
coarse grained sandy soil with very porous subsoil is not satis-

Bulletin 27

Florida Cooperative Extension

factory because it does not hold water and plant food enough to
insure a strong vigorous growth of the trees.
Peach blossoms open in Florida usually during January and
February, and are consequently liable to damage from frost.
The orchard should if possible be located on a slight inclination
so that the cold air may drain down to lower levels. The gentle,
almost imperceptible slopes found in Florida are to be preferred
to the level areas. It makes but little difference in what direc-
tion the ground inclines, but it is important that the orchard is
not at the bottom of a long slope, nor that there is any obstruc-
tion on the lower side of the orchard to bank up cold air.
A location on the south or southeast side of a lake is desirable
because our coldest winds come from the north or northwest and
are warmed as they blow over the water in winter and the
blossoms are less liable to be damaged. If water protection can-
not be secured, a windbreak of trees ought to be 50 to 60 feet
away from the orchard on the north or northwest side. It is
unwise to depend on a natural block of woodland owned by a
neighbor as he may decide to cut it when the orchard most needs
it. The slope may be such that the windbreak is on the lowest
side of the orchard, and in such cases it is important that it be
open at the bottom to allow the cold air to drain off.


Every home in Florida should have with it a small orchard of
peaches. They can be so readily grown and so little difficulty is
experienced in producing crops that no one should be without
them. If it is not possible to buy trees, it is easy enough to get
seed from good varieties in the neighborhood.
In selecting a site for peach trees in the home orchard, one
has less choice in the matter than when selecting a site for the
commercial orchard. It is necessary to have the trees convenient
to the house and also to have them on a site that can be readily
cared for, both in the way of fertilizing and cultivating. A long
straight row will be found much more economical to take care
of than several short ones. Special care needs to be exercised
in selecting land that is pretty certain to be free from rootknot,
as this is the greatest enemy of the peach tree, and it is so
frequently present about the home site. If it is possible to do

Bulletin 27, Peach Growing in Florida

so, a site should be selected where clay comes near to the surface
of the soil, as this is less likely to be infected with rootknot and at
the same time is more suitable to peach trees.
If poultry can be kept penned around the peach trees the num-
ber of curculio will be greatly reduced, especially if the flock is
large and has free range under the trees. Pigs will also eat many
of the fallen fruits and thereby destroy many of the grubs of
the curculio, which is one of the severe enemies of the fruit.
Thruout the entire state of Florida, even into tlIe extreme
southern part, there are a good many seedling peach trees which
bear fine crops of fruit. For the most part, the late ones belong
'to Spanish varieties, also called native, and while not of especial
value for commercial purposes, are quite useful in supplementing
the fruit for the home. Waldo and Jewel are good early varieties,
followed about a month later by Angel, Honey and Triana.
Dorothy N makes a good peach for mid-season. There seems to
be no good late peach that can be relied upon for the home
orchard in Florida.


Land that has been completely cleared of all trees and stumps
and cultivated for a year in velvet beans or beggarweed is best
for peaches. However, that which has not been completely
cleared, or that which has been cultivated longer, will give good
results if properly fertilized and cultivated. If a crop of velvet
beans or other cover crop is grown it should be cut up with a
disc harrow, then turned under with a turn plow in December.
In a few weeks follow with the disc again; if it is run over with
a planker after this it will be in better condition for laying off,
and the ease in walking over the field as well as accuracy in
locating the positions for the trees will pay for the extra trouble.


Peach trees are short lived, therefore may profitably be grown
as fillers in a young orange grove. A good arrangement in this
case is to set the peach trees in rectangles 20 by 25 feet, with

Florida Cooperative Extension

young orange trees in the middle of the spaces between the rows.
If planted alone a desirable spacing is 15 by 20 feet, which gives
room for a wagon to pass between the rows one way when the
trees are large.
If the plowman can run straight rows the ground may be
checked off with the plow. Ordinarily, it is better to locate the
tree positions by stakes, set by accurate measurement. To insure
setting the tree just where the stake is placed the use of a
planting board is recommended. Such a board is easily made
by cutting a notch in each end of a board five feet long and six
inches wide, and a third notch at its exact middle. This board is
placed on the ground so that the stake where the tree is to be set.
comes in the middle notch, then a small stake is driven in the end
notches, after which the board is removed and a hole is dug for
the tree. When ready to set the tree the board is put back in
place, the tree slipped into the middle notch and while held there
the earth is shovelled in.


Most trees are obtained from a nursery and must be cared for
some days before planting. This is best done by "heeling in."
To do this dig a trench in a shaded place and set the trees in this.
The bundles should be opened and the earth worked down among
the roots and packed well. All roots should be completely
covered with moist earth. If they are to stand long and the
earth is at all dry, they should be watered.


As the trees do not come true to seed, budding is generally
practiced. The Shield bud is used, inserted in stock grown from
seed planted in September or October, or buried in a cool shady
place and planted in January or February. Budding is done in
June and by the end of the growing season it has developed to a
length of 21/2 to 4 feet, and is ready to be transplanted to the
orchard in December or January.
When plum stock is used the seed are planted about the same
time as peach seed, allowed to grow for a season and in winter
are grafted below, the ground.

Bulletin 27, Peach Growing in Florida

When they are to be planted on old land it is best to get trees
that are grafted (not budded) on plum stock as the plum is not
attacked by nematodes. These worms are present in most light
soils that have been long cultivated and are a very serious enemy
to peach roots. In setting such trees the union should be buried
about four inches below the surface of the ground, which
necessitates setting them somewhat deeper than they stood in the
nursery row. On new land it is better to use trees on peach stock
and avoid planting annual crops in the orchard that will harbor
and spread nematodes, as the growth of peach on peach stock
is a little more vigorous and uniform.


There are five general recognized races of peaches. They are
the Peen-to, South China, Spanish, North China and Persian.

Fig. 2.-Jewel Peach, the leading commercial variety for Peninsula Florida

The races best adapted to Florida are the Peen-to and South
The Peen-to gets its name from the original variety, the
Peen-to, which was introduced into this country by P. J. Berk-
mans in 1859. A number of varieties have originated in Florida

Florida Cooperative Extension

from crosses of Peen-to with descendants of the peaches intro-
duced by the Spaniards. These varieties are adapted to the
subtropical conditions which prevail in Florida. Some of the
most important are Angel, Bidwell's Early, Bidwell's Late, Hall,
Jewel, Maggie, Millen's Favorite and Waldo.
The leading commercial variety for East and South Florida
is the Jewel. (See Fig. 2.) This was originated by T. K.
Godbey at Waldo about 1892, being selected as the best in an
orchard of 500 Waldo seedlings. It is of medium size, creamy
color, washed with red, flesh whitish, freestone, flavor sweet and
of good character, season May 20 to June 1.


Fig. 3.-Waldo variety, a good peach for commercial purposes .

Waldo (see Fig. 3) is second in commercial importance for
this section, tho not nearly so important as Jewel of which it is
the parent. The varieties are similar in many respects. The
Waldo is from 10 days to two weeks later in ripening, which
accounts largely for its secondary place. It was also originated

Bulletin 27, Peach Growing in Florida

by T. K. Godbey at Waldo as a seedling of the Peen-to. The
seed was doubtless produced from a cross fertilization of the
Peen-to by pollen from some old Spanish variety.

Angel (see Fig. 4), Suber, Hall's Yellow, Imperial and Taber
are some other varieties desirable for home planting. These are
too late for the attractive price received on the market for the
earlier kinds.


Fig. 4.-Angel variety of peach, recommended for the home orchard

The South China race is often called the Honey group, because
the first variety grown in the United States bore this name.
Most of the varieties which now compose this group originated
in Florida. They are well adapted to subtropical conditions, but
their range is farther north than is the Peen-to. Some of the
important varieties of this race are the Colon, Florida Gem,
Imperial, Oviedo, Pallas, Taber and Triana.

Florida Cooperative Extension

Greensboro, of the Persian race, is the leading variety for
West Florida, and has been planted in large orchards.
The Elberta, of the North China race, is also popular for
this section.

The best time to plant is in December or January as trees are
more completely dormant at this time. All bruised, broken or
very long roots should be cut back with a sloping cut of a sharp
knife just before trees are set. Care should be exercised that
the roots be kept covered while out of the ground to prevent
drying out.
When digging the hole the top soil to a depth of four or five
inches should be placed to one side by itself. The hole should
be deep and broad enough to receive the roots without crowding.
It is better for two men to work together in planting. While
one holds the tree in place with one hand, with the other he can
arrange the roots in their natural position. The second man
shovels in the dirt, putting in the top soil first, as this contains
more plant food, and is thus placed where it may be more readily
taken up. When the hole is half filled the planting board may be
removed, the earth well packed, then completely filled and packed
again. If earth is somewhat dry a half bucket of water should
be poured in the half filled hole. After it is filled another half
bucket should be poured in a saucer shaped basin about 2 feet
in diameter made about the tree. After the water has soaked
in the basin should be filled with dry earth. A good practice is
to mound up earth 8 to 10 inches high about the tree whether or
not it is watered at setting. This helps to hold the moisture;
it should be pulled down about time growth starts.


Trees are often pruned some before leaving the nursery. This
is a good thing to do as the bundles are easier handled and
transportation charges less. They are seldom cut back enough,
however, so the planter should do his part. The trees usually
planted are 3 to 4 feet high in the nursery and have grown from

Bulletin 27, Peach Growing in Florida

scions or buds
less than one year
old. These should
be pruned back
to straight sticks .
18 or 20 inches
high at the time \
of setting. Three
or four branches to /bv
well spaced
around the stem
near the top

be orubbfedt lof ast. t, a,,e o
should be allowed
to grow on these;
all others should b c
be rubbed off as of r
rapidly as they
develop. If the
large grade trees,
5 to 6 feet high
are used, it is well
to leave from
three to five
branches well dis-
tributed about the
main stem. These
should be cu t Fig. 5.-Properly pruned peach tree on the horticul-
back to stubs con- tural grounds of the College of Agriculture
training three or four buds, and the top above the uppermost
stub cut off


The branches which grow during the first year will each be
3 or 4 feet long at the end of the season and ha, e on them a
number of small branches. These main branches should be cut
back severely taking off about a third of their length, and
all lateral branches removed to but three or four on each.
This will form a frame work or scaffold of from nine to ten
branches of nearly uniform size and spacing on which the
low spreading top is developed. Fig. 5 shows a well pruned

Florida Cooperative Extension

peach tree, while Fig. 6 shows one where pruning has
been badly neglected. The third year and afterwards much of
the pruning should be done in summer as soon as possible after
the fruiting period is over. Especial attention should be given
to leaders or branches that outstrip others about them and grow
to undesirable heights. These should be cut back, giving the
nourishment to the weaker branches that they may grow strong

Fig. 6.-Improperly pruned peach tree. Note long slender branches bent
to the ground by weight of fruit borne near the ends

and develop flower buds before growth stops in late summer.
Trees should be gone over again in winter, and all leaders cut
back, crossed, injured and dead branches removed, and the in-
terior branches thinned out when so thick that sunlight and fresh
air cannot readily enter.
Pruning is a very important operation in peach culture. The
fruit is borne on wood of the preceding season's growth and to
secure satisfactory crops a quantity of new branches must be
developed each year. Proper pruning stimulates the trees to
do this. If the pruning cannot be done in early summer in time
for the flower buds to form before growth ceases, better postpone

Bulletin 27, Peach Growing in Florida

the operation until winter. Thinning the fruit is an important
part of pruning. Trees often set much more than they can ripen
into large, well developed marketable fruit. Therefore, part of
it should be taken off when about a half inch in diameter, so that
what remains shall be 5 or 6 inches apart. It is best not to thin
too early as late cold snaps or insects may cause many young
tender fruit to drop.


The year the trees are set each one should receive, soon after
growth starts in spring, one to two pounds of a well balanced
complete fertilizer. This should be scattered in a circle about
3 feet in diameter with the tree at the center and cultivated in
with a rake or hoe. A second application in June is desirable
on most soils. A truck crop such as beans, tomatoes or melons
may be planted between the rows, leaving a space of at least 3
feet for the tree row. An advantage of growing such a crop
is that the soil will be given the cultivation it needs thru the
spring and early summer, which it might not otherwise receive.
After the crop is harvested a cover crop, preferably a legume,
should be planted and allowed to grow without cultivation during
the rainy season. This will aid in taking up from the soil the
surplus water, and will throw it back into the air as vapor thru
its leaves, and later add humus and nitrogen when the plants are
returned to the soil.
One of the most desirable plants for this purpose is beggar-
weed. Once established, it reseeds itself, thereby reducing the
annual expense of seeding. Velvet beans are good if one takes
the trouble to keep them from climbing into the trees. If cow
peas are planted only the Iron or Brabham variety should be
used, as the others will aid the development and spread of
nematodes, which attack the roots.
The second year three or four pounds of fertilizer per tree
should be used at each application, beginning at a distance of a
foot from the tree and applying it in a circular band about 2
feet wide. Truck and cover crops may be grown as during the
first year.

Florida Cooperative Extension

The third and succeeding years at least four to five pounds of
fertilizer should be applied broadcast about the trees, beginning
about 2 feet from the tree and extending a little further than the
spread of the branches. Growing crops between the rows after
the third year will probably be unprofitable, but cultivation
during the spring and early summer, followed by a lEgume during
the rainy season, should be kept up. If a good cover crop is
secured the summer application of fertilizer may be omitted.
The cover crop should be cut with a mower in September and
left to decay on the ground. The latter growth should be disced
late in November if rank, and in December or early January
turned under with a turn plow.


CURCULIO-This little beetle is about 3-16 of an inch long.
It passes the winter in the adult stage under trash or elsewhere
where it may be protected. In spring it becomes active and is
ready to lay eggs in peaches by the time the blossoms fall. The
eggs hatch in three to five days, and the "worms" bore into the
fruit, feeding as they go.

Fig. 7.-Tree badly attacked by scale insects and disease

Bulletin 27, Peach Growing in Florida

Since the adult beetle feeds on the fruit and leaves it may be
poisoned by spraying the trees with arsenate of lead at the rate
of two pounds to 50 gallons of water.

The BORER does its damage in the larval stage by attacking
the tree at or near the ground, working under the bark and
seriously weakening the tree. Sometimes if several are present
the tree may be entirely girdled. The adult is a moth which
makes its appearance about July 1, and individuals may be found
after this until October 1. The presence of the lavae in a tree is
shown by a mass of gummy material which exudes at the surface
of the ground from the channels they make. If the grower will
go over the trees in the fall and carefully scrape away the gummy
material with a knife the burrow may be easily found. Then by
cutting back in the sapwood the channels may be followed until
the larvae may be seen and killed. It is well to go over the
orchard again in the spring to destroy any that may have been
missed in the fall.
SAN JOSE SCALE-When abundant these give a greasy-
ashen appearance to the branches of the trees. The individuals
are less than the size of a pin head, but multiply rapidly and soon
are as thick as shingles on a roof. They suck the juices from
the tree which naturally weakens it. This insect passes the
winter on the tree, therefore spraying with a strong lime-sulphur
spray during the dormant season is best. During the spring and
summer, if abundant, they may be sprayed with miscible oil
emulsion. The red headed and black fungi do much to keep this
pest in check, but are not always sufficient.


BROWN ROT (Sclerotinia Fructigina)-This probably causes
a greater loss to the grower than any other disease. It appears
on the fruit as a small brown spot, which under warm moist con-
ditions enlarges rapidly, due to the growth of the filaments of the
fungus in the tissues. After a little time the fungus breaks thru
the skin and forms grayish tufts of spores which are scattered
by the wind and by insects to start new infections. This process
is very rapid, only a few days being necessary for a spore to lodge
on a fruit, germinate, make its growth in the tissues, come to the
surface and develop another crop of spores.

Florida Cooperative Extension

The use of self-boiled lime-sulphur spray is the best remedy.
PEACH SCAB (Cladosporium Carpophilum) often known
as freckles and black spot, attacks not only the fruit, but also
the leaves and twigs. It produces circular dark brown spots
one-eighth inch or less in diameter. These may run together
forming large scab areas. Fruit infections begin to take place
three to four weeks after the petals fall.
Spraying with self-boiled lime-sulphur is the best remedy for
this also. The standard self-boiled lime-sulphur mixture is com-
posed of eight pounds of fresh stone lime and eight pounds of
sulphur to 50 gallons of water. Any finely powdered sulphur
(flowers, flour or "commercial ground" sulphur) may be used
in the preparation of the mixture.
In order to secure best action from the lime, the mixture should
be prepared in rather large quantities, at least enough for 200
gallons of spray, using 32 pounds of lime and 32 pounds of
sulphur. The lime should be placed in a barrel and enough
water (about 6 gallons) poured on to almost cover it. As soon
as the lime begins to slake the sulphur should be added, after
first running it thru a sieve to break up the lumps, if any are
present. The mixture should be constantly stirred and more
water (3 or 4 gallons) added as needed to form at first a thick
paste and then gradually a thin paste. The lime will supply
enough heat to boil the mixture several minutes. As soon as it
is well slaked water should be added to cool the mixture and pre-
vent further cooking. It is then ready to be strained into the
spray tank, diluted and applied.
Nearly all of the peach orchards of Florida should be given
the combined spraying for curculio, brown rot and scab. The
spraying calendar should be about as follows:
1. With arsenate of lead about 10 days after the petals fall.
2. With arsenate of lead in self-boiled lime-sulphur about two
weeks later.
3. With self-boiled lime-sulphur alone from four to five weeks
before the fruit ripens.
There are a number of other diseases sometimes found attack-
ing the trees or fruit, but usually they are of minor importance.

Bulletin 27, Peach Growing in Florida


Peaches for shipment to north-
ern markets should be picked
while they are still firm, but after
they have colored well. Experi-
ence alone can guide in deter-
mining just when thefruitmay
be picked to best advantage.
If it feels slightly elastic to
pressure, gently applied so
as not to bruise, it is in
proper condition. The
peach is one of the most
perishable of fruit s,
therefore too careful at-
tention cannot be given
to picking, grading and
packing. It should be
marketed as soon as
possible after maturity.
The four-quart veneered
basket, crated six to a
carrier, is the most satis-
factory container for peach-
es. Very early in the sea-
son, however, the one-quart
strawberry basket (see Fig.
Fig. 8.-Peaches in one-quart baskets strawberry basket (see Fig.
as packed for early shipment 8) packed in a carrier holding
24 or 32 is preferred in some
markets. These should be shipped by express or in re-
frigerator cars.

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