Irrigation Recommendations for Peach

During the first years of establishment, peach trees rely only on natural precipitation as their water source. After irrigation is installed, no recommendations are present and irrigation is based on the grower’s experience. Similarly, fertilizer recommendations are believed to be based on studies performed in California under environmental conditions not representative of Georgia’s environment. A UGA horticulturist established a field experiment at the Dempsey Farm with a total of 240 plants of ‘Julyprince’ peach variety planted in July-August 2015. He determined that irrigated plants had a better development than non-irrigated plants in the three years of establishment. Differences in cumulative yield (2017-2019) were observed when comparing irrigated and non-irrigated trees. This yield increase can bring an additional $9,945.02 per hectare with a cost estimate of installing irrigation per hectare of $232.03. In Georgia, about 200 hectares are being replanted every year. If they calculate only the gain produced by using irrigation from year one, the peach growers in Georgia would be making an additional $2,012,306 when the trees become productive. For fertilization, they tested four rates of fertilizer to be applied during the first years of orchard establishment. They found that the use of half and a quarter of the recommended rates yielded plants that had a similar growth and yield than plants grown with the recommended rates.