August Peaches



The O’Henry peach tree in our yard is dropping ripe fruit this week. Although some of the peaches on our tree are small, most of them are large this year, which I attribute to thinning the fruit in May and the age of the tree (11 years old). I’ve noticed that the larger peaches taste better than the smaller peaches. The large peaches are juicer and sweeter than the small ones. So it seems that thinning not only affects fruit size, but also flavor, at least with our peach tree. In general, the peaches that have fallen so far are sweeter and more flavorful than in the past few years. The flavor of the peaches from our tree seems to vary from fruit to fruit as well as from year to year and is partly weather dependent.

The peaches from our tree tend to fall off as soon as they are ripe. Because they are large, they usually get bruised as they hit the ground. I have bird netting arranged on the tree so that the peaches are captured by the netting as they fall. This way, most of the peaches don’t get bruised hitting the ground. Instead, they have a soft landing into the net.

Although I prune this tree twice a year, it has grown large for a peach tree. It is about 12 feet tall and about 10 feet wide. I cut off its lower branches years ago, because I thought I wanted it to look more tree-like. But now most of its branches are up high, so I need to use a ladder to harvest the fruit. If I had used better pruning techniques when it was young, I would have topped the tall branches above about 7-8 feet and allowed the lower branches to grow so the fruit would be easier to net and harvest.

August 20 2013 05:26 pm | Peaches/Nectarines