For The Answer
PEACH PROBLEMS AND APPLE HARVEST
June is the month of fruits in this area of Texas. Granted, strawberry and blackberry harvest is coming to an end in June. But the queen of the fruit crops, peaches, are just getting ready to be plucked and enjoyed. Let's talk about the queen.
Since "ladies go first" we will begin with a discussion of the queen of fruits, the peach. Peaches begin ripening in the southern part of this area (Poteet, Sequin, Yoakum) in early May. Low-chill (requires less cold temperature to fulfill winter dormancy requirements) varieties bloom earlier and consequently ripen earlier than most common peach types. With this earliness of maturity comes the danger of crop loss because of late freezes, certain growth abnormalities and a generally less "peachful" taste.
The growth abnormalities noticed this year on many of the early maturing peach varieties such as June Gold was a splitting pit or seed and fruit doubles or "twins". The splitting pit is caused by a hastening in the ripening process, i.e., the ripening stage begins before the pit (seed) maturing stage is completed. There is nothing which can be done to prevent this phenomenon and it does not alter the flavor of the peach. Clinging pit parts are just annoying when trying to inhale the first juicy peach of the year which is usually a cling-stone (flesh does not easily separate from the seed) type.
The fruit double or "twin" peach on early maturing varieties caused some folks to think that they were the victims of nuclear fall-out from Chernobyhl or that they were getting the best deal in town -- two peaches for the price of one. Neither is the case. The twin peach phenomenon was initiated last July when young developing peach primordia (embryo) was exposed to severe drought and heat. Twin-fruited peaches should be removed during the thinning process when small fruit is knocked from the tree until no two fruit are closer than 4 to 6 inches apart. Oh, you didn't do that- That is why you're going to end up with a bunch of pits-and-skins rather than some nice sized fruit. Don't be complaining; your abomination of fruit abortion in early spring will now be "rewarded" with shamefully-small, embarrassing peaches!
For more information about peaches, see:
Some folks have a grape that won't produce grapes!! The plant is several years old, grow rampantly, blooms profusely but has never had grapes. It may be a mustang which was dug in the wild. The answer is sexually simple.
Unless you are a horticultural sex-change expert, you will never have grapes on that vine. The mustang, as well as many wild grapes and trees, are diecious in nature. This means that there are male plants and female plants. The male plants produce the pollen with which to pollinate and fertilize the female blooms so that offspring, or fruit in this case, can be formed. Unfortunately, pollen is not very tasty and even though your male plant is doing its duty, you will not be very happy with its production. Male plants also grow profusely since they are not burdened with a fruit load to mature so vines can become somewhat unmanageable.
A sex change may be the only answer! In horticulture sex changes are easily and painlessly accomplished by grafting. Simply graft a desirable variety onto the male plant which you have growing. If your vine is large you can even graft several different varieties onto the same vine. Propagation techniques involve the inlay bark graft and whip graft which are used to graft pecans and apples. The procedures involved are are outlined at the following site:
Some folks try to grow grapes every year, but instead end up with raisins. Some of the berries swell normally but many dry up and fall off. The foliage also has spots on it.
There is a fungus-amongst-us called black rot which causes fruit to abort or become dried. The same fungus causes foliage damage. Black rot first shows up as small, reddish-brown spots on the upper leaf surface. In older lesions the margin is a black line while the inner area of the spot is brown. Small, black dots are also visible in the center of the lesion. Infected fruit shrink until they are dried mummies. The first stage of development on the fruit is small, light colored lesions with black borders. In advanced stages the fruit is marked with the small, black dots just as the foliage is. Young grape foliage is most susceptible to this disease. The disease development is favored by high temperatures and humidity. The only remedy is prevention. Use a preventive spray of bayleton (Greenlight FungAway) every 7-14 days beginning at the bloom stage. Some varieties are more susceptible than others. Bayleton contains a long lasting fungicide ingredient named 1-(4-Chlorophenoxy)-3,3-dimethyl-1-(1-H-1,2,4-triazol-1-y1)-2-butanone . This wonderful ingredient provides excellent control of powdery mildew and black rot. The recommended application rate is one teaspoon per gallon every 7-14 days from when shoots are 10-inches long until berry coloring occurs.
The best adapted grape varieties--Champanel, Lomanto and Black Spanish--will grow and produce regardless of the care given. This is why many people have such great success with these varieties - any fool can grow them! If you can't you need more help than I can provide! If a grape vine grows out of control is there any law which states it cannot be cut back and restrained- People hate to prune or cut plants when the leaves are present. Why- Europeans constantly prune and structure their plants - trees and vines - and have done so for centuries. Is it different in Texas- I think not! A good rule of thumb to follow is that summer pruning of foliated limbs can be done until such a point that plants begin to complain. Of course, I am talking about moderate pruning and not the severe pruning which can and should be inflicted upon every grape vine in February during its dormancy. The best procedure to follow is domination OF the plant not BY the plant, i.e., you decide how much and where the vine will grow. Amputation effectively controls any unruly growth. A word to the wise: don't remove the foliage which covers the fruit since hot summer sun will cook or scald the berries.
For more information about growing grapes on arbors, see: