Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thinning peaches. Victory over leaf curl!

Peaches and other stone fruits often over-bear. Too many can mean they all fall off, no bearing the following year, and the peaches are too small and not as flavorful It's psychologically difficult to remove peaches, but they are in clusters as thick as grapes, so about 3/4 have to go. I started thinning using a scissors, but finally twisted them off. I probably need to thin some more, but I'll wait to see how these do.

Before thinning. Peaches are so thick that the stems are obscured. They look like fuzzy grapes.

After thinning. I quit counting after removing 200 tiny peaches. There are probably still over 150 on the tree. Since these are genetic dwarf peaches, the leaves are much closer together than regular peaches. Plus, the final peaches are smaller. So, I don't think that they need to be thinned to the same distances as regular peaches.

If I was superstitous I would not declare victory. But we are getting to the end of when leaf curl is a problem. Click on labels below to see what I did, and what they looked like this time last year. It worked! Not only did I not kill the peaches with the plastic bags and spray, but they look great! I have pulled of about 10 leaves with leaf curl, but that's nothing compared to last year. Today I sprayed with neem - not sure if it helps, but they are in with the roses and roses definitely benefit (decreasing aphids and fungal disease)

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