-- 6 NORTH FLORIDA EXPERIMENT STATION
June 28, 1961
NFES Mimeo Rpt. 61-6
SUGGESTIONS FOR PEACH GROWERS IN THE NORTH
FLORIDA EXPERIMENT STATION AREA
By H. .W. Young
Based upon additional results at the North Florida Experiment Station this
report adds further information for peach grocers with one acre or more and
supersedes NFES Report 60-8.
Site Selection and Planting
A well-drained sandy loam or sandy clay loam with a well-drained subsoil
is suitable for peaches. Very steep or eroded hillsides should be avoided.
However, planting on a slope with good air and water drainage is essential. Low
areas are not desirable because of the increased danger of cold damage. Your
county agent should be consulted for assistance in selecting a peach planting
Several weeks prior to planting, the coil should be prepared and marked to
indicate tree locations. Trees may be planted to allow for cultivation both ways
or on the contour. Although 20' x 20' is a satisfactory spacing, 25' x 25' will
permit easier use of spray and cultivation equipment. Bands 6 to 8 ft. wide in
the row where the trees will be planted should be fumigated with EDB or telone
for nematode control.
Trees about three feat in height are best for planting. Unless extra
care is taken very large or very small trees ma-' not survive. If acquired from
a northern source, trees should be obtained in Dzcsnber and planted immediately
or 'heeled in' (in a fumigated plot) until January. January delivery of northern
grown trees may result in premature leaf bud growth which may be killed by January
or February freezing temperatures, causing the loss of many trees.
In planting, dig holes large enough to easily handle the roots. Plant the
tree at the same depth as it grew in the nursery. Add top soil until the hole is
half filled, making certain that air pockets are not left under.the roots. Add
more soil, and press carefully with the feet. Water to settle the soil and fill
the remainder of the hole with soil. ;
For commercial production in this area a v:ri-ety mrist produce fruit early
and with sufficient quality and firmness to permit shipment., Such a variety
requires about 650 hours of temperature below 45 degrees which- results in normal
flowering in most years. At present only Maygold meets these requirements.
Even with Maygold there is a possibility that after mild winters some difficulty
may be experienced. When much cold is experienced before January, warm spring
weather may result in very early flowering and subsequent loss of fruit by late
Other varieties which have appeared promising as compared with Maygold are
Earligold (earlier in fruiting), Junegold (larger, more attractive fruit, but
more subject to ablit pits) adhd-Hilahd (abou1 iOO more hours of coid required).
However, ~hese vartietie aie hot beihg recommended taitii further testing has been
Usually peach varieties are budded onto a stock of another variety.
Although it would be advantageous to have a stock resistant to nematodes and other
soil disorders, stocks with nematode resistance are not generally available. It
has been found that one nematode resistant stock known as S-37 is unsuitable for
use with Mavgold in this area. If the land is fumigated before planting, a
common stock such as Elberta should be satisfactory. However, there is always
a danger, especially on the lighter soils, that nematodes may become a problem.
About the end of February apply a pound of 8-8-8 fertilizer or its
equivalent to each peach tree during the first growing season. One half pound
of nitrate of soda may be necessary later in the season (about June) if excessive
rainfall occurs or growth of the tree indicates need for more nitrogen. The
fertilizer may be placed in bands around the tree, but at least four inches from
the trunk. This banding should extend further from the trunk as the tree
increases in size.
These applications may be increased to two pounds of 8-8-8 fertilizer and
pound of nitrate of soda for the second growing season. Beginning with the
third growing season, apply one pound of an 8-8-8 fertilizer for each one year
of age of tree to a maximum of 6 to 8 pounds per year for a mature tree. More
specific fertilizer recommendations can be made on the basis of a soil test.
Tree Prunine and Training
Prune to a height of 30 inches at planting and remove all lateral branches
except the most vigorous. If trees are large, select three or four of the best
branches originating within a space of 12 inches on the tree trunk with the
lowest branch about 18 inches from the ground level.
The main objective of pruning young peach trees is to develop strong well-
branched frameworks. Keep the center of the tree fairly open, leaving enough
shoots toward the center and upward to protect the tree from sun-scald. Young
trees need to have scaffold branches on the main and secondary framework, there-
fore cutting back and thinning out of crowded branches is necessary. In North
Florida, it will probably be necessary to select these scaffold branches the
first year by pinching or cutting out undesirable shoots.
When the trees reach bearing age, pruning is done to maintain profitable
fruiting conditions. Thin out weak, unproductive wood and thick parts and cut
back rangy branches. Upright branches should be pruned to outward growing
laterals. It is desirable to control the height of the tree so that it is not
necessary to use ladders or climb the trees to harvest or prune. However,
permitting the trees to grow taller usually produces higher yields per tree but
at a greater operating cost.
For further information on pruning and training consult "Peach Growing
East of the Rocky Mountains", Farmer's Bulletin 2021, USDA.
Insect and Disease Control
Although a number of materials may be used successfully the schedule that
is being used satisfactorily at this Station is outlined. This schedule does
not control bacterial soot; however, this has not been a problem with the early,
named varieties in the station orchard. This is a minimum schedule, and heavy
rainfall. unusually large insect infestations, and special disease problems, may
require additional sprays. Normally if heavy rainfall occurs within 48 hours of
a spray application the spray is reapplied.
A prospective grower should consult with his county agent as to type of
spray, method of application and sources of materials.
Parathion is a highly effective insecticide against the plum curculio,
stink bugs, scales and peach tree borers, however, IT IS ALSO HIGHLY TOXIC TO
HUMANS AND NOT GENERALLY RECOMMENDED UNLESS THE USER IS PREPARED TO FOLLOW THE
MANUFACTURERS INSTRUCTIONS AS GIVEN ON THE PACKAGE.
Peach Spray Schedule
NAME AND TIME OF SPRAY MATERIALS PER 100 GALLONS
Dormant* Liquid lime-sulfur 6 gals.
After all leaves are off and before buds
begin to swell in late winter
Blossom Wettable sulfur (sulfur
content 80% or more) 6 Ibs.
Petal-Fall Wettable sulfur (80% /)-6'lbs.
After all Detals are off and before Plus
peach is showing Parathion (15%) 2 lbs.
Shuck-Fall or First Cover Wettable sulfur (80% /)-6 lbs.
3/4 shucks off Parathion (15%) 2 Ibs.
Second cover Wettable sulfur (80% /)-6 lbs.
7-10 days later Parathion (15%) 2 lbs.
Four Weeks Before Harvest Wettable sulfur (80% /)-6 Ibs.
of each variety Parathion (15%) 2 lbs.
Two Weels Before Harvest Wettable sulfur (80% /)-6 lbs.
of each variety Parathion (15%) 2 lbs.
Pre-Harvest Wettable sulfur (80% /)-6 lbs.
One week before harvest of each variety
Trunk sprays (Drench trunk, lower branches and soil at base of tree)
July 15 DDT wettable powder 50%, 8
Aug. 15 DDT same as above
Sept. 15 DDT same as above
* When scale is not present the dormant spray is omitted.