I have one peach tree in my backyard that takes up a considerable amount of my worry time. I’m constantly asking farmers when to spray or asking for help pruning when I let the tree go natural for a year or so. Sometimes I get conflicting answers about spraying, depending on who I ask.
A decade ago a farmer gave me a small paper bag full of ziram. It is a magic chemical for treating curly leaf in peach trees. Frank passed away a few years ago, so I asked another farmer about getting some more ziram and he just laughed and said no. There are reports that it is linked to Parkinson’s disease among other medical problems, so, I’m not sure if is even sold in California anymore.
A friend and I recently bought a very small piece of property just outside of Winters and it has 20 fruit trees on it. An orchard with a few cherry, apricot, peach and citrus trees should be enough to keep me out of trouble for awhile. So far, I have left them alone, but it is past time to start pruning and spraying them against all ills. After all these years tending to my peach tree, I have a whole new set of problems to try and solve, or to ignore.
Growing up in Winters, most of us worked in the orchards and fields from the time we could ride a bike. Our first jobs were either cutting or picking apricots and peaches. As we got older we worked in the packing sheds, some driving fork lifts, pallet wagons, or working on the sorting belts. Everyone had a summer job of some kind.
As I was standing on the top of a ladder, last weekend, pruning my peach tree, I started thinking about all of the people that have died, or hurt themselves, falling off ladders. Maybe it is something that comes with old age, but I still think of myself as young enough to climb ladders, clean gutters, prune trees or change light bulbs at the office. That warning about not standing on the top rung isn’t for people my age.
I did draw the line about using a gas powered chain saw on the ladder. Joe the Butcher is proof that it isn’t safe to prune with a chain saw when you are over 60. I have a new electric chain saw that is just right for pruning small limbs and branches. I’ll give it a true test when I take it out to “The Ranch” later this week.
Area farmers are safe for now, but if you see a new fruit stand open up on Putah Creek Road, you’ll know that they have new competition. That is, if I can get something to grow on The Ranch. Maybe I should take out crop insurance.
Enjoy the weather, it won’t last forever, and have a good week.