Peach and apple trees can live happily side by side in the orchard but there are some differences to keep in mind.
Do not prune peach trees too early. Wait until they are almost ready to bloom, even waiting until they have begun to bloom. The peach blossoms are more susceptible to frost and an early pruning will wake them up before the cold weather has passed.
Peach trees should not be grown with a central leader. On a young tree, pick 3 or 4 limbs about 3-4 feet from the ground as your scaffold branches and cut the leader off. There are some good YouTube videos that show this process. Those branches will continue to grow outward and with some tip pruning each year, will spread and continue branching. A mature peach tree pruned this way will not be pretty (my opinion) but will allow maximum sunlight to reach all of the fruit.
Established peach trees are heavy feeders, unlike apple trees. Commercial orchards use heavy doses of ammonium nitrate each spring to achieve those giant fruits. Organic orchards can use blood meal – up to 3 lbs. for an established tree. Apply this at least a foot from the trunk and extend to the drip line. One or two year old trees just need a balance fertilizer to get them established. The Feed Barn on Cincinnati/Dayton Road has blood meal at a good price but if you just need 3lbs or so, Lowes has an organic product at about $7.00 per bag.
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