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Pear and Peach Tree Care

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MomentSurf starts with ...
Hi, new to the forum!

I live on the east end of Long Island NY. I have a couple questions about caring for my peach and pear trees. I have two pear trees on the property (They have been there for a while, since I bought the house). When I first bought the house they were barely producing fruit. They were covered in vines and growth from other trees. I since cleared them up and the last few years they gave me a ton of pears (not this year...maybe because of the extremely cold winter? only a dozen each tree down from a few dozen each tree the past two years).
I recently bought a peach tree for the property. I'm getting ready to plant it this week.
What does everyone recommend for care? I never really did much to the pear trees other than pruning.
Can I use one fertilizer for both? What times of year do I apply it?

Should I cover the basses with compost or mulch?

I've heard of oils, how are they used and can I use the same for both trees?

Should I be spraying them for bugs? (again, can I use the same spray for both? Can I spray the fruit?)

The peach tree is still in the pot. Some of the leaves are starting to yellow (no sign of fungus or mold)...what does that mean? (to much water, to little water, no enough nutrients in the soil?)

Sorry for the load of questions...any help would be much appreciated!

THANKS!
Ralph
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MomentSurf
Flanders NY
5th August 2010 2:03am
#UserID: 4022
Posts: 1
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BJ says...
Hello Ralph,
This is an Australian web-site so most people are not going to be very familiar with your climate or any unique conditions you might have ... but Ill try to give you as much information as possible. (Some of my advice may be wrong as Ive never been anywhere near New York and know nothing of what you may be facing over there).
Alternate Cropping fruit trees can sometimes alternate between a heavy crop and light crop on alternate years. This is called biennial bearing. Spring flower buds of most fruit trees actually form during the previous summer so pruning (a heavy pruning, or lack there-of) or a especially heavy crop may prevent adequate bud formation and result in a lower yield the next year. If you want to try and correct it you can try thinning fruit (just as they set) in the years that the trees produce their largest yield. But it isnt something that *needs* to be corrected. My vote is to plant more fruit trees and simply share excesses with neighbours!
Spraying I should probably highlight here that I am biased. I dont believe in spraying trees as a prophylactic measure. Id rather try to use permiculture methods to promote a healthy tree and good-predators. So unless youve a serious bug problem in your area Id not spray anything and when I find a bug I try to either remove them by hand or use products from my pantry to dispatch them (that way I know Id be comfortable putting in my mouth what I put on the plants so Im not using nasties that may stay in my soil or get into the food Ill later consume). Most of the time somethign in the pantry will work - you just need to know your bug (this forum is great for that). It might be a bit more manual work, but I personally think it is healthier. Chickens are also great at eating bugs if youve room for poultry.
Fertiliser I fertilise my deciduous fruit trees twice a year. The first dose is at the end of winter/start of spring and the end of summer/start of autumn. Personally Im a big fan of poo because it is fairly easy to obtain free or cheap - pig is supposed to be best, then cow, sheep and horse. Chook poo can be a bit rich if it is not composted first (or delivered direct from a chook scratching around the tree). I also use compost (home made) and mulch (which, alas, I have to buy in). Some people use blood-and-bone, which is also very good. Remember commercial products and fresh poo can burn the tree so water them in well or compost first. Put the fertiliser and mulch under where the leaves are ... but not right up to the trunk. If a tree is looking a bit down a light dose of sea-sol can be great too. Keep the area under them clear that way their roots will have less competition.
The peach Im really not sure what is happening with your peach. Could you be starting autumn early over there? (I know some of my plants already have blossoms so they think it is spring even if the calendar disagrees but I guess it is unlikely if your climate is more mild near the sea). Id probably recommend putting it in the ground soon (as autumn is the best time to put them in). Prepare the soil now, include some composted poo, and plant in a few weeks when nothing is rich enough to burn the roots. If you photograph the leaves and up-load them then there are many people on this forum much more knowledgeable than I am that may identify a specific issue (such as nutrient deficiency, disease etc).
Good luck
About the Author
BJ1
WA
5th August 2010 11:14am
#UserID: 3414
Posts: 177
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