Peach (Prunus persica) is an economically important temperate fruit. Peach trees grow where the climate is mild. The USA is a major Peach-producing country. They grow in California, Washington, South Carolina, and Georgia.
California is a major producer of fresh and processed Peaches, while South Carolina and Georgia primarily produce fresh Peaches. Georgia has significant production and marketing advantages, primarily due to its proximity to eastern markets and favorable prices due to the production of early crops and high-quality fruits. Almost all Peaches grown in Georgia are sold in the fresh wholesale market, with a small percentage sold at roadside markets. Total US Peach production is over 690,000 tons per year.
How to plant Peach trees in the USA?
– Late winter or early spring is the best time to plant a Peach tree. Thus it takes an entire growing season to become established.
– Choose a cultivar suitable for your climate and plant it in a sunny, sheltered location. A slightly elevated spot is better than a depression where the frost freezes. For a bare-root tree, ensure the hole you dig is large enough to give the roots plenty of room to spread. Water it deeply and mulch around the root zone to seal that moisture.
– Stake the tree immediately after planting. Peach trees are self-fertile, so don’t need to plant more than one to produce fruit. Plant standard Peaches about 18 feet apart and dwarf Peaches five feet apart.
What irrigation techniques are commonly used for Peach trees?
– Peach trees are irrigated by micro-sprinklers, usually one emitter per tree. Micro-sprinklers and these different flow rates and irrigation coverage are available in the market. Generally, micro-sprinklers should cover 50% or more of the area under the tree canopy. Peach trees need 30 inches of water during the growing season
– Feed trees with a granular 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 citrus fertilizer that contains additional nutrients Peaches need, such as iron and zinc. Feed the trees in three equal applications: in late February, May, and July.
– Peach trees are among the fastest-growing fruit trees. They bear fruit on second-year wood, so cut back last season’s growth about halfway to the outermost bud. It will focus energy on producing fruiting buds.
– Weed control is an important task in Peach cultivation. Most orchards’ most effective floor management system consists of shredded, native sod with a weed-free strip under the trees. Weeds in the strip are controlled chemically.
How is Peach harvested?
A young tree (not grown from seed) begins to bear fruit two to four years after planting. Harvest time varies by Peach variety, but the Peaches usually reach their peak ripeness in late June through August.
1. Peaches are picked by hand from the trees.
2. The peaches are immediately rinsed in cold water to stop any further ripening. They are run through hydro-cooler, essentially an ice-water bath that lowers the temperature of the peach to delay the ripening process so the fruit won’t be overripe when it reaches the consumer.
3. The next day, they are cleaned, defuzzed and sent through graders that remove leaves and cull the least desirable fruit. The remaining peaches are sorted by an electric sizer.
4. Finally, they are packed and shipped in refrigerated trucks to arrive in retail stores often within three days of picking.
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