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|PEACH TREE / NECTARINE TREE|
Latin Name : Prunus persica
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 5–10 m tall.
The leaves are lanceolate, 7–15 cm long and 2–3 cm broad.
The flowers are produced in early spring before the leaves; they are solitary or paired, 2.5–3 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.
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.
Spacing 20' x 25'
Soil PH 6.0 - 6.5
Moisture Requirement Moderate
Pruning Requirement High