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  PEACH TREE / NECTARINE TREE  

 

Latin Name : Prunus persica

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Subgenus: Amygdalus
Species: Prunus persica

 

General Info

The Peach is a tree native to China that bears a juicy fruit of the same name.

It is a small deciduous tree growing to 510 m tall.

The leaves are lanceolate, 715 cm long and 23 cm broad.

The flowers are produced in early spring before the leaves; they are solitary or paired, 2.53 cm diameter, pink, with five petals.

The fruit is a drupe, with a single large seed encased in hard wood (called the "stone" or "pit"), yellow or whitish flesh, a delicate aroma, and a velvety skin that bruises easily.

Cultivated peaches are divided into "freestone" and "clingstone" depending on whether the flesh sticks to the stone or not; both kinds can have either white or yellow flesh.

Peaches with white flesh typically are very sweet with little aidity, while yellow-fleshed peaches typically have an acidic tang coupled with sweetness, though this also varies greatly. Both colours often have some red on their skin.

The nectarine is a Group of peach that has a smooth, fuzzless skin. Though grocers treat fuzzy peaches and nectarines as different fruits, they belong to the same species. Nectarines have arisen many times from fuzzy peaches.

Nectarines can be white, yellow, clingstone, or freestone. Regular peach trees occasionally produce a few nectarines, and vice versa. Nectarines are more easily damaged than fuzzy peaches.

Peach trees grow very well in a fairly limited range, since they have a chilling requirement that subtropical areas cannot satisfy, and they are not very cold-hardy.

 The trees themselves can usually tolerate temperatures to around −26 C to −30 C, although the following season's flower buds are usually killed at these temperatures, leading to no crop that summer. Flower bud kill occurs at temperatures between −15 C and −25 C.

Peaches should be located in full sun, and with good air flow.

Peaches are best planted in early winter, as this allows time for the roots to establish and be able to sustain the new spring growth.

When planting in rows, plant north-south.

Peaches should maintain a constant supply of water. This should be increased shortly before the harvest. Best tasting fruit is produced when the peach is watered throughout the season. Drip irrigation is ideal, at least one dripper per tree. Although it is better to use multiple drippers around the tree, this is not necessary. A quarter of the root being watered is sufficient.

If the full amount of peaches is left, they will be undersized and lacking in sugar and flavour. In dry conditions, extra watering is important. The fruit should be thinned when they have reached 2 cm in diameter, usually about 2 months after flowering. Fresh fruit are best consumed in the day of picking, and do not keep well. They are best eaten when the fruit is slightly soft, having aroma, and heated by the sun.

Plant different varieties to extend harvest season. Most varieties are self-fruitful. Plant on 20 ft. centers.

 

Pruning

An "open center" style is the preferred method of pruning peach trees. Select three to four main scaffold branches beginning 30 inches above the ground. Care should be taken to select strong, vigorously growing branches. Picture an inverted umbrella when selecting the scaffold branches. Avoid narrow crotches (less than 60 degrees) as later these will be prone to splitting when the limbs are loaded with peaches. Maintain an open center, but not bare center, to allow sunlight and air movement. Pruning of mature trees should consist of heading back branches to maintain shape and topping to maintain height, removing excess branches, and removing diseased/injured/dead wood. Peach trees bear on 1-year-old wood, and pruning is necessary to assure an annual supply of fruiting wood.

 

Planting Info

Spacing  20' x 25'

Soil PH 6.0 - 6.5

Moisture Requirement Moderate

Pruning Requirement High

 

PEACH VARIETIES

BELLE OF GEORGIA - Requires 850 chilling hours. An old favorite white-fleshed peach. Partial red-blushed skin. Fruit is soft and juicy. Good for fresh eating, low-acid makes flavor very sweet. Freestone. Ripens second week in July.

ELBERTA - Requires 850 chilling hours. Best-known yellow canning peach. Freestone. Fruit is large, attractive, and good quality. Rich, sweet flavor. Heavy producer. Ripens third week in July.

FLORDAKING - Requires 450 chilling hours. Very early, ripening third week in May. Large yellow-fleshed clingstone fruit. Early bearer and vigorous grower.

HALE HAVEN - Requires 850 chilling hours. Large freestone fruit of firm, but juicy yellow flesh. Exceptional quality. High yielder. Ripens early July.

HARVESTER- Requires 750 chilling hours. Large, freestone fruit of excellent quality. Red skin over yellow flesh. Ripens third week of June.

HAWTHORNE - Requires 550 chilling hours. Produces heavy crop of large freestone fruit of good quality, firmness, and texture. Yellow flesh with heavy surface blush. Stores well. Ripens last week of June.

LA FELICIANA - Requires 550 chilling hours. Freestone, 2 1/2 - 2 3/4 inch fruit. Heavy producer. Very popular, best-known LSU variety. Ripens first week in July.

LA FESTIVAL - Requires 450 chilling hours. Freestone, large fruit with yellow flesh flecked with red. Trees are vigorous and productive. One of LSUs releases. Ripens third week in June.

LA PECHE - Requires 450 chilling hours. LSU variety. Heavy producer of medium-large semi-freestone fruit. Flesh is yellow flecked throughout with red. Trees are vigorous and productive. Ripens third week in June.

SAM HOUSTON - Requires 500 chilling hours. Medium size. Freestone with small pit. Yellow fresh is firm with mild flavor. Distinctive taste. Ripens mid-late June.

NECTARINE VARIETIES

FANTASIA  - Requires 650 chilling hours. Very large freestone. Bright red with bright yellow under color. Flesh yellow and good quality. Ripens early-mid July.

RED GOLD  - Requires 850 chilling hours. Large glossy red freestone has excellent flavor and color. Good quality, firm, yellow flesh. Ripens early August.

SUNLITE  - Requires 450 chilling hours. Yellow flesh, red blush. Semi-cling. Ripens very early in mid-late May.