Growing Peaches Organically
Organically cultivating peaches is challenging so not many attempt it. Most peach growers take on the so-called low-spray program, minimizing the use of pesticides and toxic fungicides. However, perseverance and knowledge about controlling diseases occurring in peach tree and pests can yield a good harvest of organic peaches.
Using conventional methods increase the chances of chemical pesticides entering the consumer’s diet. Eating 5 servings of inorganically grown fruits daily involuntarily adds ten pesticides to a person’s every day meal. Hence, it is recommended to grow and eat organic peaches.
Planting peaches resistant to diseases is the best approach to organic growing, especially if the climatic conditions are humid. Contact the local province office to find if brown rot is commonly seen in the county. If so, select peach tree types that are resistant, such as Babygold No.5 or Elberta.
Newly planted peach trees need to be watered every week and provided with organic mulch as their root systems are shallow and vulnerable to weeds and droughts. Crops like vetch or rye help to reduce weeds enriching the soil. For promoting good air circulation, keep the branches pruned, so that they form a type of herringbone shape. When peach trees bear fruits, it is recommended to thin the fruits to ten peaches on each branch. This will give you bigger sized fruits with a more delicious flavor.
Certain peach tree pests are peach tree borers, tarnished plant bugs and stinkbugs. Peach tree borers are one of the most feared pests. Their larvae girdle and feed on the trees leaving gooey discharges on trunk’s base and finally kill them. Dig the borers out from under the trunk. The stinkbugs on the other hand feed on the juice from the fruits and the leaves all through the summer. One can handpick the stinkbugs or control them with pyrethrins. Tarnished plant bugs flourish in the debris of gardens. Tidy up the gardens and plant plantings that interest natural predators to keep these pests away.
Brown rot in peach trees is hard controlling in places experiencing a damp spring. The spores of the micro-organisms spread very fast till the whole tree is hanging with wrinkled, decomposing fruit. Brown rot can be reduced by proper pruning. Also an application of sulfur spray is required before bloom in humid regions.
Another fungal disease, the peach leaf curl distorts the leaves and is a cause of the fruits dropping off before ripening. Spray lime-sulfur mix on the peach trees in fall and also in the early spring. The redskin variety of peaches is resistant to this disease.
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