Last year I dug up my approximately 5 year old El Dorado peach tree, pruned it, and planted it in a large container. The reason for doing so was to keep it out of the winter rain, and thereby avoid Peach Leaf Curl disease.
That effort was successful. The trees that I did not treat so ruthlessly are covered with leaf curl. The containerized El Dorado, has none at all and survived and bloomed nicely.
The fruit set looks dramatic. I thought these were all fertilized flowers, but then I read there can be apparent fruit set that are duds that did not get fertilized.
The internodes are very short. That’s what makes these genetic dwarfs, dwarf. Instead of a couple or few inches between nodes, they might be 1/2 or 1 inch apart. So, the fruits are also that close together.
Before thinning -
After thinning -
I removed about 5 little peaches for every peach I left on the tree. It’s very easy, I used a kitchen scissors. The fruits are all at about eye-height, good for my bad eyesight and reading glasses. It’s possible I thinned too early, and it’s possible I did not thin enough. From readings, the earlier thinned, the most benefit in terms of larger, earlier fruit. On the other hand, if I left unfertilized duds on the tree, maybe they will all fall off and I won’t get any.
I figure, if possible, they should not be touching each other. One article stated the peach needs 30 to 45 leaves to support full growth. Since genetic dwarf peaches tend to be smaller, they may need fewer leaves. Also, I’m not sure if that’s 30 to 45 leaves at start of season, or later. Another article stated, have about 5 to 7 fruits per shoot after thinning, but that’s full size fruit trees in orchard, not genetic dwarf in container. For most branches, I left about 3 to 5 per shoot.
It’s hard to find a lot of info about growing genetic dwarf peaches in containers. Mother Earth News had one interesting article.
I’m still not sure I removed enough. In a month, maybe I will count the leaves per peach and see if any are touching one another, and remove more.
Other thoughts / experiences certainly appreciated. I have never grown peaches in containers, and this is my first time, in 14 years of growing genetic dwarfs, of having one free of peach leaf curl disease.