Sunday, July 19, 2015

I give up. Finished. No more.

I will no longer waste a minute more of my time on the peach trees.

This is the third year we've had any significant fruit on the peach trees.  And this is the third year that I've spent hours of time trying to salvage a pittance of edible fruit from those trees.  I don't think we've had more than a half-dozen peaches that didn't have a worm in them or been chewed on by the local tree rats.

The squirrels and the Plum Curculio have won.  Since I could now care less about the finality of the Peach War (as it is hopelessly lost), I shall focus on the final battle.  Yes, I know, a lesson in futility.  But it gives me some satisfaction that I am able to plink the damned tree rodents much easier now that their movements are dramatically slowed by the weight of the peach in their mouth.  Unfortunately they are flea-ridden so I won't be making any Squirrel Enchiladas, but at least Charlie's dog food will be supplemented with some extra fresh protein.

The only way to possibly win next years Peach War would to spray the crap out of the trees and start a planned parenthood clinic for squirrels.  To get rid of the plum curculio problem, we'd have to spray like seventy-five times over the duration of the growing season with chemicals that I cannot pronounce nor really want to have our family ingesting.  To get rid of the squirrels I'd have to start shooting them every day starting in February....and still not be rid of them completely.  I can only eat so much squirrel pot pie, and Paul doesn't even really like squirrel anyhow.

What to do.  What to do?  I've contemplated just digging them up and pretending that we didn't waste six years of time & care on them.  I thought about just pretending that these peaches are livestock feed instead of delicious, juicy fruits for our family and cry when I think about how good my peach jam could have tasted.  But no matter what we do, we will not be replacing them with more peaches unless we can find one that is more resilient to the darned bugs.  

We've come to the same conclusion about the apple trees.  Since it's all but an impossibility to remove all the cedar trees from a mile radius of our homestead, getting rid of the cedar apple rust that plagues them every single year is also impossible.  So we are going to cull the Golden and Fuji trees and keep the Arkansas Blacks since they haven't had a single spot of cedar apple rust on them.  The Golden & Fuji trees have lost almost all of their leaves to the rust and have yet to give us a single apple.  The Arkansas Black trees produced fruit last year and a few the year before.

The pear tress are holding their own and don't seem to need much care other than pruning, although we did lose two of them last year & the year before to fire blight (the fun never ends, does it???).  And Paul just planted four Mulberry trees so we'll have some fruit on the homestead in the years to come (assuming, of course, that there isn't a freaky explosion of silk moths in the area). 

I'm going to have to be more diligent on selecting fruit trees from now on.  When we first started our little orchard, I went bonkers and ordered just about any fruit that sounded yummy not bothering to find out how disease / pest resistant they were.  And now I'm paying the price for it.

Too bad we don't have any hogs to give all these crappy peaches to.  I wouldn't mind trying a peach-infused pork chop or slab of bacon.


  1. We haven't had any peaches in years because mainly the stink bug infestation here in VA and to top it off, the cold weather froze the trees last winter to where there wasn't a single bloom. Not sure how the stink bugs will survive this year. Fruit is becoming a thing of the past unless the stuff is poisoned beyond eating.

  2. Interesting my Apples and Peaches do ok although I will admit I have to do a lot of selective cutting after harvesting to remove bad spots and such. My Pear on the other hand never do a damned thing and seem to get the Fire Blight at the drop of a hat.

    I don't have squirrels near the house though, they stay about a quarter mile away in the thick woods.

  3. We've gone thru that here too, trying to find what works. We're cutting down our nectarine tree this fall after the city clobbered it too many times in our easement. I found a nice peach tree that should work for this area, fingers crossed. Our pear tree was loaded with blossoms, we now have 6 pears :( I don't know what happened. I'll give it another season or 2 then it's gone... find something more productive...

  4. We are with you, I have plums that all had worms (except 1) and the peaches are now turning ripe but only on one side and now black spots and holes are appearing plus little bites out of some choice ones. They can have the fruit.

  5. Sometimes it is just best to go buy a box. i know that is not the point to raising our own but it does settle the frustration of all the critters! LOL! Target practice is fun tho!

  6. I've been trying for 8 years with peaches. Last winter's cold made the decision for me---lost every one of them. And it's ok with me. The farm market has them 2/1.00 and for that price I don't have to lift a finger. Sometimes ya just have to face it. (I'm also giving up on strawberries this year---damn chipmunks!)

  7. Boy, we all seem to go through such frustration in trying to grow the tree fruits! The blossoms on our 7 apple trees this year could be counted on two hands. (Slight exaggeration, but not much.) Now past the middle of July the fruits are no bigger than small crab apples. Will they ever make it to maturity? Heck, no. We've fought "something" with our two plum trees for about 15 years. They blossom like crazy but never, ever, ever develop any fruit. I've wanted to cut them down for years but the stubborn mule (oops, I meant to say man) I'm married to won't give up on them. We have one healthy looking pear tree . . . that never blossoms. We planted two but one died, and I think the one left needs another one for pollination. So how are we doing on OUR tree fruit? Zonk. Zilch. Zero. Nada. No go, Cicero. Bottom line: Don't feel like the Lone Ranger. But it sure is a pain in the patoot, isn't it?

  8. It's amazing when you think how hard it must have been to have any of these things in Pioneer times. The weather and the deer decimated my garden this year, if I was dependant on it to feed my family, I would be in serious trouble.

  9. Carolyn,

    I'm with M.E., above time for target practice :-)

  10. I'm with you. Lost a nectarine and a peach tree this year, losing a plum now, as it's oozing jelly-like stuff from the trunk too. Have never had a plum from this tree. Got a harvest off the each peach tree ONE time, summer before last, and now the remaining peach tree has black spots on all the peaches. My apple trees seem ok but I had to paint the trunks to keep the borers at bay. Have never gotten many apples, got the trees at ArborDay and will never buy trees from them again as they don't turn out to be what they're supposed to be. About 6 apples on one tree, maybe one on the other. *Sigh*. Pear trees so far look ok and making pears, though not a great amount.

    Our friend who gives us the apples from his tree every year, says they are small and full of bad spots, so there won't be any from him, probably, this year.

    We've had a good harvest off the native plums, Chickasaw (round yellow) and Sand (egg-shaped red). Small fruit, but they make great jam. Getting lots of blackberries.

    Me too, if I had to feed us exclusively on what I can grow, we'd starve to death within the year.

  11. Pear trees seem to be so easy to grow without any chemicals. Although we did not get any fruit last year, I hope to this year. I have yet to get fruit from our trees we planted. Maybe next year.

  12. My sad venture into fruit ended years ago. I had visions of a small hillside orchard. Invested way too much money in them. Loved and babied those apple trees thru the dry summer. Hauled water, trimmed around them and set up supports. Then my dearest brother in law planted the opposite hillside in wild plums for the wildlife (aka big doe eyed deer with insatiable appetites). Need I give you the gruesome details? Peace in the family, not a word passed my lips but geez there were some evil thoughts.

  13. My peaches had scab?...? I just pulled them all off and tossed them. I had a pretty good plum harvest and made some jam. This is the first year my apple tree has produced apples but they have spots on them already. I also made sand plum jelly, it was delish! Maybe the monsoon rains ruined some things and made others bountiful????

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