Search For The Answer
Click here to access our database of
Plant Answers
Search For The Picture
Click here to access the Google database of plants and insects
Information Index
Alphabetical Listing of Topics, Recommendations and Plants



Milberger's Nursery and Landscaping
3920 North Loop 1604 E.
San Antonio, TX 78247

Open 9 to 6 Mon. through Sat.
and 10 to 5 on Sun.

Three exits east of 281, inside of 1604
Next to the Diamond Shamrock station
Please click map for more detailed map and driving directions.

Click here

Weekly Express-News Article
By Calvin R. Finch, PhD, SAWS Water Resources Director, and Horticulturist
Saturday, April 12, 2008

 “Peaches, A Challenge!”

            Peaches are not easy to grow in San Antonio, but they can be worth it.  Select a variety that can tolerate the amount of cold weather that we receive in a normal winter, about 550 hours.  Among the varieties that do well here are Junegold, La Feliciana, Floridaking and Sam Houston.  I like Junegold, a semi-cling peach, the best because it ripens in late May or early June.  La Feliciana is a non-cling that ripens later in June which means you have to water and spray it for another month.  Elberta requires too much cold to bear fruit in San Antonio or even the Hill Country.  

For best success, plant your peach tree in a raised bed in full sun, they cannot tolerate shade or poor drainage.  An easy way to make a raised bed for a peach tree is to make a square with four used railroad ties.  They are heavy enough to lay on the ground without fasteners of any kind if you level the soil under the ties.  Fill the bed with landscape soil from GardenVille, Keller Material, Fertile Garden Supply or a similar source.  Plant the tree in the middle of the eight feet by eight feet square after you incorporate two cups of slow release lawn fertilizer into the bed.  Mulching with live oak leaves is also a good idea. 

It is best if you can irrigate with drip irrigation.  Kits are available at nurseries or home improvement supply stores.  Leaky hoses also work well. 

Peaches are very prone to diseases and insects.  To have a chance that a large number of the fruit will be blemish-free, a weekly spray program is required.  There are fruit tree sprays that combine Captan (fungicide), and carbaryl (insecticide) or you can buy them separately and combine them yourself.  Organic gardeners have a more difficult time.  Try neem oil, pyrethrins, Spinosad, and sulfur products. 

If you do not begin spraying ever week after the petals drop, you can expect stink bugs to hit the fruit.  The stink bugs inject their digestive juices and then ingest the “soup.”  The result is misshapen, scarred fruit.  In the long-term (seven – nine years) many peach trees succumb to bacterial canker.  The limbs exude a gummy material and branches die one by one.  Resist bacterial canker by maintaining good drainage, and by keeping them well watered.  Iron chlorosis can also be a major problem.  Even if the peach tree is planted in a raised bed, the roots reach the alkaline native soil.  Apply an iron spray every spring and autumn and fertilize with an iron chelate product to fend off chlorosis.  Make your own chelate by mixing a cup of iron sulphate in a five-gallon pail of compost.  Spread the product over the raised bed.

If the irrigation and spraying is not enough, peaches also do best if they are pruned every spring in February.  The website has instructions and diagrams. 

If peaches require too much care for you, try plums.  They benefit by the raised bed, but are less sensitive about spraying and pruning.  Methley is the best plum to plant.  Santa Rosa also does fairly well.  Morris is high quality plum that requires more cold than our average winter provides, but even if it only fruits once every three years, it is worth it. 

Apples are just as hard to grow as peaches in San Antonio.  If you are up for the challenge try apples.  Apples do require a pollinator so two varieties are required - Golden Dorsett and Anna are recommended.  Pears are relatively easy if you plant Warren, Kieffer, or Ayers.  Bartlett will not grow because it is susceptible to fire blight in our climate.  For tree fruits that do not require a raised bed, a spray program or pruning, plant figs, pomegranite, or oriental persimmons.