A few words about peaches

Cherokee County Herald - - COMMUNITY NEWS -

Peaches in Alabama are begin­ning to be har­vested and they are an an­nual treat and be­cause of the dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties they can be en­joyed all sum­mer long.

Peaches are the lead­ing com­mer­cial fruit grown in Alabama and on a good year 5000 tons, worth 6 mil­lion can be har­vested. Alabama ranks 17th na­tion­ally in peach pro­duc­tion. Peaches can be grown in USDA zones 5 to 8 but do best in zones 6 & 7 and Chero­kee County falls in zone 7. Some va­ri­eties are more cold tol­er­ant and can be grown fur­ther north.

Trees can be planted in spring in well drained fer­tile soil in full sun. It is sug­gested that grafted trees be planted with the graft fac­ing away from the sun. Make sure to dig the hole wider and deeper than the roots, spread­ing the roots away from the trunk. Trees need to be planted 15 to 20 feet apart and dwarf peach trees 10 to 12 feet apart. Fer­til­ize six weeks after plant­ing in spring and again in early sum­mer. The trees need pruned an­nu­ally in early fall.

Some of the pest and dis­eases that you have to watch for are tree bores, aphids, Ja­panese bee­tles, leaf hop­pers, brown rot, pow­dery mildew, leaf curl, and mo­saic viruses. Har­vest when fully ripe car­ing for va­ri­eties that bruise eas­ily. Peaches can be re­frig­er­ated for sev­eral days and can be canned or frozen for stor­age. Some early sea­son va­ri­eties are Spring­prince, Rubyprince, Flor­dak­ing, and Juneprince. Mid-sea­son va­ri­eties in­clude Har­vester, Fireprince, Red­haven, and Lor­ing. Late sea­son va­ri­eties in­clude O’Henry, and Flameprice. The crop this year has been hin­dered be­cause of last year’s drought.

Peach cob­bler is a fa­vorite use of peaches in this area. YUM

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