O’Henry Peaches

The peaches are ripening on the 6 year old O’Henry peach tree in our yard this week. The tree had about 200 peaches.  That’s too many for me and my partner to eat before they rot.  After giving some away, I still have a lot left.  So I am going to turn a bunch of them into jarred peach preserves.

The peaches are tasty, but they are small in size, much smaller than last year’s crop.  I think I should have thinned the fruit more.  I waited too long to thin this year (July), and I didn’t remove enough of the pre-ripened fruit from the tree.  Last year, this tree had far fewer peaches, but they were much larger.  I think the peaches tasted better and were juicier last year.

Next year, I plan to prune the tree much more than I did this year.  Peaches and nectarines fruit on one year old branches.  If I remove more of the branches in the dormant season, the tree should have less fruit next year.  I also plan to thin aggressively in May and June to reduce the crop to about 100 fruits.

O’Henry peaches are a good variety overall.  They don’t rot easily or split, and I have never seen insects eating them.  Although squirrels love them, so the tree needs to be netted.

My mom bought and planted this tree in our yard after she bought O’Henry peaches at a fruit stand and really enjoyed them.  The tree has grown incredibly fast in the past two years, after I transplanted it from the front yard to a sunnier spot in the back yard. I waited too long in the dormant season to transplant it.  The tree was just starting to bloom.  It went into shock and nearly died.  I fertilized and watered it excessively the spring and summer after that, and it came back in a big way.  Now, it’s one of the best looking fruit trees in our yard, and it requires very little care.  Besides watering and occasional fertilizing, the only special care I give it is dormant season spray for peach leaf curl and of course netting.

August 23 2008 05:40 pm | Peaches/Nectarines