IF YOU’RE in the peach business, then you’re keenly — and in some cases, painfully — aware of how the season is going. With the El Nino weather pattern that occurred in early November through December, peach orchards across Florida had little to no chill hours.
For those who are not familiar with growing peaches, the trees need a certain number of hours below a certain temperature during dormancy. This provides a much-needed “rest” for the trees, upon which afterward they “awaken” with blooms. In the case of this season, the lack of chill resulted in a late harvest, and, in many cases, lower volume.
For orchardists whose crop is suffering from poor soil health, the results could have been even more troublesome. Like any other crop, peaches need compost in order to receive much-needed nutrition from the soil.
Here are a few observations to keep in mind:
• Peach trees need organic matter to thrive.
• Peach trees need week drained soils.
• Peach trees have a shallow root zone.
• Composted soil amendments help hold moisture and nutritional minerals, making them available to the root system.
• Water more often for shorter time increments than citrus. I water every other day when there is no rain for two hours; 30 gallons per tree seems to work for me.
This column is sponsored by P&H Solutions, Inc.
column by CARSON A. FUTCH
BIO: As the owner of P&H Solutions, Inc., Carson A. Futch assists growers in Central Florida with organically composted soil amendments and other crop growing products. He is a Plant City native and a fifth-generation Florida cracker who grew up on a working ranch and citrus operation. He received his B.S. in Agriculture from the University of Florida in 1981. During his 34-year career, Carson has been involved in various management and ownership aspects of production agriculture, harvesting, marketing, and agri-tourism. He has also been blessed to serve on various councils and committees for the betterment of his church, community, and the agricultural industry. For more information about Carson and P&H Solutions, Inc., visit www.pandhsolutionsinc.com.