All Things Peachy
A Peachy Outlook March 05 2015, 0 Comments
With the unusually cold weather, many people are wondering what's happening to the peach crop this year.
Jim Kamas, our local expert with Texas Agrilife Extension, has recorded weather data for the past 9 years. He revealed at the Hill Country Fruit Grower's meeting this past Tuesday that we've had the coldest winter in 9 years. In fact, by February 4th we had already gotten 900 hours of chilling weather. This more than fulfills the chilling requirement for peaches to break out of dormancy and bloom.
- I snapped this photo from last week's wild weather. -
My sister, Kristen, took this picture yesterday evening. Tuesday these apricot buds were closed. Wednesday the temperature got just warm enough that they were almost 100% open. This morning we woke up in the 20's. All of these variables mean that we will not have an apricot crop this summer because the very sensitive buds were frozen in the cold weather.
Now, we are still 5-6 weeks out from securing the 2015 crop and a lot can happen. Because the Texas Hill Country has had so much cold weather, the fruit buds have swollen and are ready to break and bloom. As soon as the temperature raises, they will do so and quickly! Easter weekend is typically the last weekend of a hard freeze.
Let's keep our fingers crossed that we don't have another spell of 20 degree weather after a period of warming up! If we don't, we anticipate a crop even better than last year!
Six steps to your own backyard fruit tree February 19 2015, 0 Comments
Last week I discussed pruning your peach tree. Many people enjoy having their own backyard fruit tree. Not a fruit grower, but want to be? When is the time to plant a tree? The time is NOW and I will tell you how!
Here's my how-to on planting a fruit tree:
1. Decide on the peach variety that suites your geography best.
2. Visit your local nursery or use our tree supplier, Vaughn Nursery. Trees will be bought in-store or mailed. The nursery stock will be ideally 30 - 36 inches tall.
The trees we ordered came in last week and are still currently heeled in. Plant trees while dormant from December through early March. This gives good root establishment before bud break.
3. Keep roots from freezing or drying out by heeling the trees in soil (as pictured above). Dig a trench, lay the trees at a 45° angle, cover the roots with soil and water in. Trim and soak the roots in water one hour before planting.
4. Plant in a sunny location. Fruit needs sunlight, so consider site location and accessibility to water. Once you've found the spot, dig holes large enough for the root system. Only prune back diseased or damaged roots, and don't prune the roots to fit a smaller hole.
5. Firm the soil around the newly planted tree and water to help settle the soil and to eliminate air pockets around roots. Add water as needed.
6. Wrap aluminum foil on the lower 18 inches of the trunk leaving six inches of the trunk exposed. This is done to reduce sun scald, inhibit low buds from limb formation and aid in weed control. Don't forget to remove the foil after the first growing season to prevent trunk girdling in later years! Continue to give your new tree some TLC!
Those are my six steps to planting your fruit tree. Consult a fruit tree veteran, a local Master Gardener, or Aggie Horticulture if you need more information!
Four Steps to Prune a Peach Tree February 11 2015, 1 Comment
You've got a mature backyard peach tree. Does your peach tree look like the pictured one below? Proper pruning is one of the keys to a long peach tree life and large, juicy peaches. Now is a good time to prune! Mature peach trees take about 20 to 30 minutes to prune properly.
Before I jump into the steps, why prune?
1. To maintain tree form to an open center for light penetration and air circulation
2. To reduce the number of fruit on the tree and stimulate growth of a healthy canopy
3. To make handpicking fruit from the ground manageable
4. To remove dead or diseased shoots or non-fruitful water sprouts
5. To make a clear path for ground herbicide applications
Dormant pruning invigorates growth of a healthy canopy to produce the current season's crop and allow for a good production potential for the following year.
How do you get your tree to look like the one pictured above? Keep reading.
Four Steps to Prune a Mature Peach Tree
1. Keep one-year-old, red, 18 - 24 inch bearing shoots.
2. Remove all hanger shoots, rootstock suckers, and water sprouts in the lower three feet of the tree.
3. Top the tree at 7-8 feet in height by making lateral cuts to the ground.
Cuts need to be at selected points where the scaffold and sub-scaffold limbs extend up-ward at a 45 - 50-degree angle. Cuts which leave limbs sideways at a 90-degree angle should be avoided.
4. Remove all water sprouts which grow toward the inside of the tree.
5. Remove all old gray wood in the 3 - 7 foot production zone.
Peach pruning normally removes about 40% of the tree each year. The peach tree will bloom soon after pruning when chilling is satisfied and warm weather follows.
For more detailed information visit: aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/fruit-nut/files/2010/10/peaches.pdf
Peach Trees Like Cold Weather January 08 2015, 0 Comments
Many people can't stand this chilly Texas weather, but peach trees are loving it! This sounds crazy, because the fruit comes off in warm summertime temperatures, so let me explain.
Like many trees that lose leaves in the fall, peaches go into a period of dormancy in the winter. Peach trees need this period of rest so the buds that were set the previous summer can blossom. No blossoms, means no fruit! To break out of the dormancy, the trees need an accumulation of hours of weather between 32 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
The many varieties of peaches vary tremendously in cold acumulation requirements. The peach varieties we grow and sell at Burg's Corner are matched to meet the Texas Hill Country weather. The varieties vary from needing 600 to 900 hours of cold weather.
January is the most important month for our orchards to get the chilly weather. At this very early stage, the trees are on track to a good crop!
12 Days of Christmas December 04 2014, 0 Comments
Time is flying December 03 2014, 0 Comments
Another year has come and gone. The year 2014 was good to the peaches and pecans. In fact, we will have enough of our canned peaches and shelled pecans to last until the next seasons.
On top of that, Central Texas is getting some nice cool fall weather the trees need to produce yummy peaches in the summer!
Our storefront will be closing down December 24th until we re-open March 2015. Look for some updates and exciting plans for the new year. Kristen and I want to infuse the old co-op with some modern touches!
The Duecker family had a blessed and fruitful 2014 harvest and wish our customers and friends many Christmas blessings and a Happy New Year!