Peach, fruit, and shade tree growing


Well-known Member
Hello guys. Thought I'd start a new thread on this. I'm in central Kansas.

What's the secret to growing peach trees? Bot some along with some cherries and apples from a nursery in Wenatchee Washington last spring. 5 of the 9 kinda died right off. 3 of the remaining 5 began growing out of the area around the graft union with the main trunk looking dead. Thinking about getting some more from the big box stores. The ones I bot were bare root and the lady said they have to be planted before they leaf out at 80 degrees or else wait to fall. Got them planted in time but we had a lot of rain and that may have contributed to some dying. The ones at the stores are in containers and leafed out now except some had some dead leaves on them so I don't know how they will do if I got them which are on sale now.

I had bot 5 different types of peach trees with different ripening dates so I would have peaches coming from August through September. Red Haven, Aug 5-10; Glohaven, Aug 15-20; Red Globe, Aug 20-25; Early Alberta, Aug 25-30; and O'Henry, Sep 10-15. She said they were dwarf trees and would produce in 3 years but I don't think mine that are left will make it in 3 years. The Early Alberta looks ok and the O'henry is growing out of the graft union with the main trunk looking dead.

The apples seemed to do better, Gibson Golden Delicious, Sep 20-30 and Red Rubens, Sep 5-10 and still alive although one is growing out of the graft union. Had two different cherry trees as one needed to cross pollinate with the other and both died, Bing and a Skeena. We try to water them once a week when not raining.

The plan was that I wanted Colorado peaches. When I called a couple orchards in western Colorado I found out that Colorado is not a type of peach tree but they use all types that they order from Washington and it is the soil and climate that gives them their taste.

Besides the small orchard, we want to plant some new shade trees and wind breaks and basically redesign the farmstead. Going to put up a 50'x100' building but haven't picked the spot. So I'd like to get some trees started such as some oaks and others around back somewhere and then move them when they get a little bigger in 2 to 4 years. Don't have a tree spade but do have a backhoe. Wondering if there is something or someway I can wrap them and still move them in a few years? K-state forestry also has an assortment of bare root trees I'd try once I have a place to put them. We have a number of older trees that need to be replaced but don't want to cut them down until we have some decent sized replacements. There are a couple very big and old elms that are going to die off one of these days. I like the cottonless cottonwoods but I wouldn't plant any near the house as some of their roots grow along the surface of the ground.

Looking for any suggestions here. Thanks.
What kind of soil do you have? Clay? Sandy?
Stone fruits (peaches, plum, cherries) like well-drained soil. I grew up in the WNY fruit belt that is on an old deposit of glacial and lake bed material. Lake Ontario keeps things cool to prevent early blossoming (had a frost warning last night!), but that late cold weather will only kill your blossoms. The key to an overall healthy tree is well-drained soil.

I lived in New England many years in the sandy, rocky soil that area is notorious for. Our peach tree loved it! I lost the whole crop many years as we had some 80 degree March days where it would blossom, then get a cold snap in April. But the years when the weather cooperated the branches would sometimes break from the weight of all the fruit.

I now live in an area with heavy clay soil. The waterlogged soil kills cherry and peach trees. I am now trying a raised bed to ensure drainage. I have not had my stone fruits long enough to tell you how they are doing, but can tell you that the wet ground does NOT work.

I've never had luck with 'bare root' fruit trees. If they are raised in too different a climate from yours they won't adapt. A locally-grown root-ball is better.

Some stone fruits also require a minimum dormancy of winter cold weather for proper blossoming. But that is for blossoming, not overall tree health.

Good luck. Dave

Our peaches and apricots were froze this spring in Sarnia . The sweet cherries had the early blossoms froze but a few of the later blossoms budded after the frost .



If you can put your fruit trees inside of the row of wind break trees yet get them some light they will be protected from late frosts better. Like when your car is near the house and has frost on only one side as the house or shed keeps the heat. The other trees will hold the heat for them.
I'm trying to establish a small dwarf fruit tree garden too, and it's difficult. Trees are super expensive
at the box stores, and then the deer girdle the bark and eat the leaves and branches if you don't protect
them. Even the Fruit Farmers around me here in Michigan are losing their fruit trees after two or three years. They don't know why either. About five years ago I bought several pine tree seedlings from the Conservation District and planted them. About 90 percent of them did not make it either. Other than Conspiracy theories, I have no idea.....
I am no expert, but a couple of things came to mind on your fruit tree experience.

Probably best to buy tree stock as locally as you can, for best results

Prune anything growing from below the graft line

Keep new plants watered, but not soggy, in the summer

Use a good spray plan and keep it up
I have about 50 trees in my orchard, many different varieties. I only use 2 sprays, Captan fungicide, and Sevin, insecticide.

When you dig a hole for planting new trees, make sure you chunk out the sides, you dont want a smooth rock hard side that the new roots cant penetrate.

Hope this helps, it has worked well for me for many years and many trees.

There are several kinds of blight/mold that is killing trees around here too.
Have thought of dosing everything with lime/sulphur spray in the spring prior to budding out . I should look into it more .

Soil here is a clay/loam mix with more clay. I'll get a picture later when the rain stops. Have trees and the house to the west and and a cedar tree hedge row to the north protecting it. Put out some young oaks that we transplanted last fall and either the rabbits or deer got them as they are gone. They were within a few feet of an eastern red cedar hedge on the north side of the front yard that has thinned out. Don't really want to cut down the others till we have something for a screen going in. We planted the oaks in a row near the cedars to replace them and could try again. The expensive answer would be to buy some taller trees and pay for the tree spade to move them.
First, for any trees in general and fruit trees in particular, it's just as important what you do before planting as what you do after. Prior to planting, we want to get the soil PH up to over
6 (liming), grow some Sudan Grass (organic matter) and plow down remedial cover crops (mustard, etc.) for soil remediation. Also deep ripping is helpful. The soil must be well-drained with good
tilth. We plant 18 (in row) X 24 (between rows) feet. The graft union must be left at about 4 inches above ground level. In 3-4 years we want to fill that space and leave about 80 inches for
tractor work in the middle. We can bear the tree in as little as 2-3 years. Feed the trees with two applications totaling about .4 lb. of nitrogen with an NPK fertilizer each year at the tree
dripline. The curse for peach trees is Bacterial Spot. Therefore you should consider BS resistant varieties. There is plenty of quality and free information on the internet and in nursery
catalogs regarding these details. Look to Clemson University (S.C.), Georgia State, University of California and Penn State for more information than you can ever read.

In the closest row of 3 from left to right is an O'henry peach, Red rubens apple, and gibson golden delicious apple.

In the second row of 3 from the left is a dead one, Glohaven peach, and early alberta peach.

Back row of 3 are all dead and a couple pasture trees growing up behind them are there.
I have one lonely apple tree that has set on fruit. I want to spray a little ( but not a lot).
Can you give me a simple and minimal spray plan? spray What and when? Thanks
Lots of factors coming into play here. I would recommend you
start with nursery grown trees that are rooted in a soilless
mixture. Don't buy these bare root liners in sawdust, if
mishandled these die very easily.
I don't know about varieties of peaches for your area, so you
should consult your county extention agent for recommended
I would recommend that you plant (oaks or any shade trees)
that are at least a 15 gallon size. These have had at least 3
years of pruning by a professional to develop a properly formed
head. And soil ph should be slightly acidic for these, about

How are you handling the grass around the trunks of these
trees? It is hard to tell from the pictures. If you spray
around them with round up, which I don't recommend, don't let
the spray come in contact with the trunk. It can burn the soft
tissue of actively growing trees. Mulch around them once a year,
and don't let mulch touch the tree trunk.

I am not an expert, Just sharing from my experiences from the
past 20 years in nursery production. Nathan

Thanks. Holes were dug 3 feet wide and 2 feet deep. Just mow the grass. Used wood chips for mulch. Probably have the mulch touching the trunks and probably don't have the grafts 4" above the ground if either of those are tree killers. Planted the way the nursery lady said to.

Have to find a nursery with 15 gallon trees. I'm guessing that size would be budget busters.

I have some 10-10-10 fertilizer but I wouldn't know for sure how much of it to put around the drip lines which right now is about 1 foot or so.

Nursery lady said to water them about once a week with a five gallon bucket. However when it rains, it pours, and water just collects in those holes which I think was probably why they died with 3' feet of pond around them. Guess I should build up the area around the tree trunk and shouldn't have planted them so deep so they are above ground level. They are in a low spot but some of those planted more uphill died.
You are right, don't cover those grafts up. It is always better
to plant woody stock too high verses too low. Don't fertilize
the first year. After the second year you can use 6 ounces of
that fertilizer twice a year placed at the outer edge of the
root line. Usually done about second week of Febuary and April.
Trees don't need a lot of fertilizer.

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