Pruning got off to a late start this year. We are always concerned about treading on the ground around the roots. Believe it or not these peaches will start to flower in three to four weeks. We bought some new long handled pruners to keep us away from the trunk.
Pruning is an art and a science. Jose, Ramon and Roberto are the only ones who I have trained. Firstly we remove any disease, then move onto crowded areas where branches will shade each other out. We like the tree to be shaped like an open goblet so inward facing branches are removed to let light and air in. This helps with disease control, as well as, ripening the inner fruit.
As soon as the buds start to swell to almost ‘popcorn’ stage, we will spray with raw milk that has been allowed to sour. This floods the buds with bacteria, which will take up shop all over and crowd out two main diseases, Botrytis and Peach Leaf curl. We tried this for the first time last year in the middle of flowering and it worked amazingly well. We had our best crop ever. This year we will apply the raw milk three times. At the beginning, middle and toward the end of flowering.