Peaches can be grown in Florida

Planting, growing, pruning and harvesting peaches and nectarines - harvest to the table

Peaches and nectarines are easy to grow.

Peaches and nectarines are semi-hard deciduous trees. They grow best where the summer is hot and winter temperatures regularly drop below 45 ° F. Nectarines like slightly warmer conditions.

Peaches and nectarines are less hardy than apples; Their range is further south and at lower altitudes than that of apples.

Peaches and nectarines are different forms of the same fruit. The peach has flaky skin. The nectarine is a smooth-skinned peach. Peaches are slightly smaller than an apple or baseball. A nectarine is usually smaller than a peach

Nectarines are sweeter than peaches with a more pronounced aroma.

If you don't live in an optimal climate for peaches and nectarines, plant them on a sheltered, south-facing wall or in containers that can be moved to warm, sheltered locations that stay warm and sunny.

Types of peaches and nectarines

  • The pulp of peaches and nectarines is mostly yellow, but some varieties have white pulp. White meat, like yellow meat, is tender and tasty.
  • Peaches and nectarines are divided into Freestone and Clingstone varieties.
  • The pulp of a peach or bare stone nectarine easily peel off the seed. Freestone peaches and nectarines are best to eat fresh out of the hand.
  • The pulp of a peach or nectarine does not easily cling to the seed. Clingstone peaches and nectarines are great choices for cooking and preserving.
  • Nectarines are smooth-skinned peaches; Nectarines are usually smaller and sweeter than peaches with a more pronounced aroma; Nectarines are less hardy than peaches.
  • Nectarines are grown and used like peaches
  • Nectarines

    Best climate growing peaches and nectarines

  • Peaches and nectarines grow best in USDA zones 5 through 9.
  • Grow peaches and nectarines where summers are hot and winter temperatures drop below 45 ° F.
  • Most peach and nectarine trees require a winter cooling period of between 700 and 900 hours per winter in order to be able to grow again and produce fruit in the following spring. A cooling hour is one hour at a temperature of 45 ° F or less. With insufficient cooling, peach trees can bloom, but they will not plant fruit and the foliage can be sparse.
  • Peaches don't grow well if the temperature drops below 0 ° F for long periods of time. When winter temperatures drop below -10 ° F, peach wood is damaged. Nectarines suffer at slightly higher temperatures.
  • The optimal ripening temperature for peach and nectarine fruits is 75 ° F. At constantly higher temperatures, the taste can be astringent.
  • In cool, humid, and constantly humid climates, peaches and nectarines are susceptible to disease.
  • In cool summer regions, choose the warmest microclimate in your garden to plant peaches and nectarines. Choose a location near a building where reflected heat will warm the tree.
  • Choose a location that is protected from the wind by trees, a large hedge, a wall, or a building.
  • Where the weather gradually warms up in spring, a south-facing slope is best for planting peaches and nectarines. This gives the trees a longer warm growing season before the autumn frosts.
  • Where spring temperatures fluctuate in springtime - warm, then cold, then warm, a cool north slope or exposure is best as the trees warm slowly and the buds don't open too soon. Buds that open early during a warm period can be damaged by the subsequent frost. An hour of 25 ° F during the flowering period can destroy the flowers and the harvest.
  • Best site for growing peaches and nectarines

  • Peaches and nectarines grow best in full sun. They tolerate partial shade, but the yield is reduced.
  • Plant peaches and nectarines in light, loamy soil that is well-drained. Don't plant them where the soil will remain moist. Roots will rot.
  • Peaches and nectarines prefer a soil pH between 6.0 and 7.0. When the pH of the soil is below 6.0, add lime to the soil.
  • Avoid planting peaches and nectarines in low spots where cold air or frost can settle.
  • Do not plant a peach or nectarine tree that has recently grown another peach or nectarine. The decaying roots give off a chemical that can kill new tree roots.
  • Avoid planting peaches and nectarines near wild chokecherries. Wild chokecherries can harbor viral diseases.
  • Peach and nectarine trees live 10 to 15 years; Plant new trees every 4 to 5 years for uninterrupted harvest.
  • Choose a variety of peach or nectarine that grows well in your area. Contact the nearby Cooperative Extension Service or garden center for a strain recommendation.
  • When growing nectarines, follow all recommendations for growing peaches.
  • Pollination of peach and nectarine trees

  • Most peaches are self-fertile and do not require pollinators. With a few exceptions, a peach can plant a full harvest without another variety for pollination. (Exceptions are “JH Hale”, “June Elberta” and “Halberta”, “Indian Free” and “Chinese Cling”.)
  • When the weather is cool and insect pollinators are not active, peaches and nectarines can be hand-pollinated.
  • Most varieties of peach are grafted, which means that the rhizome (the root system) and the fruit section of the tree are different.
  • Most standard varieties of peach are grafted onto seedlings. Rootstock is grown from peach seeds ‘Lovell’ and ford Halford ’.
  • In cold climates, choose varieties of peach grafted on the Siberian C rhizome. "Siberian C" increases the winter hardiness of trees in cold winter regions; A tree that grows on "Siberian C" rhizome is 10 to 15 percent smaller than a standard peach.
  • ‘Citation’ is a dwarf rhizome. ‘Red Haven’ peach is a genetic dwarf peach.
  • Peach and nectarine tree yield

  • A regular peach or nectarine can produce 100 to 150 pounds of fruit each year.
  • One dwarf peach or nectarine can produce 30 to 60 pounds of fruit each year.
  • Distance peach and nectarine trees

  • A normal peach or nectarine tree can grow to be 18 to 20 feet tall and wide. Plant standard trees 20 feet apart.
  • A semi-dwarf peach or nectarine tree can grow 8 to 12 feet tall and wide. Plant semi-dwarf trees 12 feet apart.
  • A dwarf peach or nectarine tree can grow 5 to 6 feet tall and wide. Plant dwarf trees 6 feet apart.
  • Choose a dwarf tree if your space is limited.
  • Plant peaches and nectarines

  • Peach and nectarine trees can be bought either rootless, ball and burlap, or in a container.
  • Choose a tree that is at least a year old, 4 to 5 feet tall, and has a trunk that is at least ½ inch in diameter.
  • Bareroot trees are available in winter and early spring when the trees are dormant and without leaves. In the spring, plant root-free trees as soon as the ground can be worked and before the trees are clearly peeling. Bareroot trees are usually grafted and without branches and are called whips. Make the planting hole so large that the roots can be fully expanded. Find the floor line on the tree and plant the tree at that height or an inch lower. When the tree is grafted, put it in the hole so that the plug is visible when you plant it, about an inch higher than the surrounding soil.
  • A ball-and-burlap tree is a tree that has its roots in the ground. The roots are enclosed in burlap. Ball-and-burlap trees are often available in the spring. However, they may be available later in the year. Plant a ball-and-burlap tree by positioning the tree in the planting hole at the same depth that it grew in the nursery. After positioning the root ball in the hole, remove any string or rope that is holding the burlap and the ball together. Then open the top of the burlap and slide the burlap out of the hole. Lightly press in the soil around the root ball; see general planting instructions below.
  • A tree grown in containers can be planted at any time during the growing season. Carefully remove the container and plant the root ball at the same depth as in the container.
  • Avoid planting peach and nectarine trees in hot, dry weather.
  • In mild winter regions, trees can be planted in autumn.
  • General planting instructions

  • Prepare a planting site in full sun, sheltered from any prevailing breeze or wind.
  • Work well-rotten compost or manure into the soil and add a cup of all-purpose fertilizer to the bottom of the hole.
  • Dig another hole half as deep and twice as wide as the tree's roots.
  • Put a tree stake in place before planting. Drive the stake in the ground to the side of the hole until it is at least 2 feet deep.
  • Place the tree in the hole so that the soil mark on the stem is on the surface of the surrounding soil. Remove all cord and burlap from ball-and-burlap trees. Spread the roots in all directions.
  • Refill the hole with half-native soil and half-aged compost or a commercially available organic planting mix. firmly in the ground so that there are no air pockets between the roots. Water the soil and create a humble bottom basin around the trunk to hold water in at watering time.
  • Secure the tree to the stake with tree ties.
  • After planting each tree, water it thoroughly and fertilize it with a liquid starter fertilizer with a high phosphorus content.
  • Container construction peaches and nectarines

  • Dwarf peach and nectarine trees can be grown in containers.
  • Choose a large pot or tub that is at least 18 inches wide, deep and well drained.
  • Plant trees in commercially available organic potting soil.
  • Feed peaches and nectarines that grow in containers an all-purpose fertilizer that has a little more potassium in it.
  • After two years, repot the tree in a container that is 24 inches wide and deep.
  • The dwarf peach varieties Stark ’, Sensation’ and ‘Garden Gold’ are good choices for containers.
  • In cold regions, protect trees that grow in containers by moving them to a sheltered location - a garage or covered porch - in cold weather.
  • Peach and nectarine care, nutrients and water

  • Water peaches and nectarines regularly - at least once a week - in the ground in the first year. Established trees require regular water supplies throughout the growing season.
  • For the juiciest, juiciest fruits, keep the soil evenly moist, not wet.
  • Mulch around peach and nectarine trees to reduce evaporation of soil moisture and keep weeds out. Weeds compete with trees for nutrients and soil moisture.
  • Avoid weeding more than an inch or two deep. Peach and nectarine tree roots are shallow and can be damaged by deep weeding or spading.
  • Feed peaches and nectarines with a mulch of aged compost that is generously applied around the base of the tree in the spring when the fruit is setting.
  • Feed a peach or nectarine tree half a pound of 10-10-10 balanced fertilizer for each year the tree lives, up to a maximum of 10 pounds per tree per year. Feed the tree in spring.
  • For additional feeding, spray leaves with liquid seaweed every 3 to 4 weeks during the growing season.
  • In the fall, after the trees have fallen, the leaves apply aged cow dung around the base of the tree. This allows rain and melting snow to leach the nutrients deep into the soil.
  • A young peach or nectarine tree should get 18 to 24 inches of new growth every year. If there is less, when pruning, remove more wood and fertilize it lightly. If there are more, you are likely pruning too much, forcing the tree's energy into the few remaining shoots.
  • Once the tree has full harvests, 10 to 12 inches of new growth per year indicates healthy growth
  • Place a plastic cover over the trees to keep the rain off buds and flowers between early winter and late spring. This will reduce the risk of peach leaf curl.
  • A peach or nectarine blooms in the first warm phase after the cooling hour has been completed. This makes the flowers prone to damage
  • by frost. Protect open flowers by placing a heavy plant cover over the tree when it is frosty.
  • Training and pruning of peach and nectarine trees

  • Peaches and nectarines are most often trained to be an open center. A mature tree with an open center has a vase-like shape.
  • At plant time, the top of the young tree - called the whip - is clipped about 30 inches above the ground.
  • In the first year, choose four evenly spaced side branches; These should be about 4 to 8 inches apart along the trunk and grow in different directions from the central trunk / trunk (these will become the main scaffold branches). Cut off any other small twigs. Cut back the selected side pieces by two-thirds of their length. cut into an outward-facing bud. All other side panels should be removed.
  • At the end of season two, cut the main trunk or leader just above the top side branch. You have just created an open center. At the same time, shorten the side panels by one-third to one-half to encourage sublateral branching. Cut back any other small twigs to four or five buds.
  • For the next two years, cut back the side panels and bottom panels by a quarter at the end of each season to encourage vigorous growth. Grow smaller spaced smaller side branches (sub-sub-laterals or side shoots) evenly spaced. Prune the sub-laterals and their side shoots to two or three buds.
  • If the tree bears fruit in the following years, cut back one of four shoots that bore fruit the previous year. Cut these shoots back into a spare shoot - spare shoots should be facing up and out. Replacement shoots will bear fruit in the next season.
  • Every summer, when fruits develop, cut off older, unproductive branches and shoots. This wood will be evident because it has no developing fruit. New wood is preferred over old wood. Upward replacement shoots are preferred over downward shoots.
  • Pruning maintenance step by step

  • Peaches and nectarines are pruned more than other hardwood trees. Annual pruning is important so that the tree does not become productive and unwieldy. Pruning increases productivity and ensures a high quality harvest. It is necessary to replace every fruit wood every season; Untrimmed trees have a very large harvest of very small fruits in the season after they are not pruned, and may not bear any fruit at all in the following years.
  • A peach tree can be easily pruned at any time of the year.Heavy pruning should be done in late fall, after the tree has dropped its leaves and become dormant, or in early spring before new buds appear.
  • Remove any sick, dead, or broken branches.
  • Remove branches that are crossing or rubbing. When two branches cross and rub against each other, they can cause a wound that can be used by insects or fungal diseases to attack the tree. Remove the branch you least want.
  • Remove all water sprouts. Water shoots are fast-growing vertical branches that usually do not have side branches.
  • Remove all suction cups. Suction cups are fast-growing shoots that grow out of the soil from the roots below the surface of the soil.
  • Remove a branch that creates a narrow V-branch step that has a non-45 degree step. These branches do not bear the weight of a full fruit.
  • Pruning to create an open center; The center should be shaped like a vase or a funnel. Prune so that the branches are evenly distributed in the tree. Prefer new branch growth; The growth of new branches will bear fruit in the next season. When the pruning is complete, annual branches should be about 30 cm apart.
  • As scaffolding branches age or become sick or broken, select new branches from the forks of the main branches to replace old branches.
  • Peaches bear fruit on the pre-season wood; allow as much annual growth to remain as possible; This will be the fruit wood for the next season. Reduce all annual growth by a third of its length. This cut allows the tree to put maximum energy into the remaining fruit buds. Reduce growth just behind an outward-facing branch or bud. Remove branches that are no longer productive.
  • Pruning is best done during the dormant period from late fall to late winter, before the trees break in spring. Peach trees can be thinned from unproductive shoots in summer.
  • Do not prune in winter when bacterial cancer is a problem. Wait until spring when new growth has started
  • Thinning peaches and nectarines

  • Do not allow young peach and nectarine trees to produce fruit in the first two growing seasons. Remove flowers or young fruit before they use up the energy the tree needs for root growth. In the third year, let the tree bear a small harvest. Do not let a tree produce more fruit than its limbs can hold.
  • Never let a peach or nectarine tree ripen all the fruit it plants. If a peach tree is not thinned, it will give rise to small peaches consisting only of pit and skin. All peach and nectarine trees benefit from thinning.
  • Thin fruits when they reach the size of a thumbnail, about 1 inch in diameter. Thin, early season fruits 6 to 8 inches apart.
  • Thin after the tree naturally drops fruit in late spring - called "June drops". The June drop is the natural thinning of the fruit by the tree, which usually occurs a few weeks after the fruit is planted.
  • Thin peaches and nectarines again while the fruits are still green - usually in early summer. Thin fruits 4 to 5 inches apart. This allows the remaining fruits to become big and sweet. Thinning will increase the sugar content and taste of the remaining fruits.
  • The fewer fruits there are on a stem, the larger the fruits will be.
  • Often water when it is dry; Lack of water prevents the fruit from growing to full size, and the fruit becomes floury.
  • Harvest and store peaches and nectarines

  • Peach and nectarine trees grow large enough to bear harvestable fruit 2 to 4 years after planting. The trees will be difficult to carry by the age of five.
  • Peach and nectarine fruits take 3 to 5 months from the pollination of the flowers to reach harvest. Peaches and nectarines usually harvest in mid to late summer. Trees have a fruit-producing lifespan of around 12 years.
  • Peaches and nectarines are the most aromatic and have the highest sugar content when allowed to ripen on the tree. A peach or nectarine can reach 50 percent in size in the last three weeks of ripening.
  • A peach or nectarine is ready to be picked when the fruit is well colored - the skin changes from green to yellow - and the pulp is light to the touch. Ripe fruits show no green; It's slightly soft and pulls away from the stem when you lift the fruit with a slight twisting motion.
  • The pulp at the end of the fruit, which is away from the stem, yields slightly with thumb pressure when the fruit is ripe. this is called firmly ripe; Ripe peaches and nectarines are kept in the refrigerator for two weeks. They ripen at room temperature when they are taken out of the refrigerator
  • A peach or nectarine will continue to grow and sweeten as long as it remains on the tree. When the pulp below the end of the stem gives way to the pressure of the thumb, the fruit is ripe for the tree. Fruits that are ripe for trees can only be kept in the refrigerator for a few days. The sugar content and taste are best when the fruit is allowed to ripen on the tree.
  • Regular taste tests also help determine when most of the fruit on the tree is ripe.
  • If peaches or nectarines are to be stored, pick them when they are ripe.
  • Ripe peaches and nectarines are best eaten only when they are picked. Fruit stays in the refrigerator for up to a week. Peaches and nectarines can be canned, frozen, or dried.
  • Propagation of peaches and nectarines

  • Peaches and nectarines are usually propagated by buds.
  • Peaches and nectarines can be propagated on their own roots by hardwood or coniferous cuttings.
  • It is possible for peach trees to grow from nectarine pits and nectarines to grow from peach pits. A peach tree can sprout a limb with nectarines, and a nectarine tree can sprout a limb with peaches.
  • Insect pests that attack peaches and nectarines

  • Plum curculios are beetles that are common east of the Rocky Mountains. They cause the fruit to be scarred and fall. Put a tarp under the tree and tap or shake the tree. The bugs fall from the tree and you can collect and destroy them.
  • Peachtree Borer is the larval stage of a moth that resembles a wasp. The larvae tunnel into the inner bark of the tree; Trees are weakened and can die. Probe with a wire into the holes and kill the drill.
  • Oriental fruit moth larvae will tunnel into growing shoots and cause shoots and branches to wilt. A pheromone trap will attract moths. Branches infested with borers should be trimmed away. Both pests can be controlled if the tree is kept healthy with regular watering and feeding.
  • European red mites suck juices from leaves. Mites can be knocked from trees with a strong spray of water. Predatory mites will also attack red mites.
  • Scale is a sucking insect that looks like a small bump on the bark. Spray trees with dormant oil in the winter.
  • Aphids are tiny sap-sucking insects; a heavy infestation can cause leaf curl and stunted growth. Spray with insecticidal soap or neem oil spray.
  • Spider mites suck sap from the undersides of leaves. Leaves become dull and mottled; Plants become covered with a fine silk webbing. Knock mites off with a spray of water; spray with insecticidal soap or neem oil spray.
  • Japanese beetles are metallic green and bronze insects; they feed on foliage and fruit and skeletonize leaves. Shake beetles off plants onto a tarp and drop the pests into a bucket of soapy water.
  • Tarnished plant bugs are small flying insects that feed on the sap in leaves and fruit; leaves are deformed. Spray with insecticidal soap or pyrethrum.
  • Birds eat fruit; cover trees with bird netting.
  • Peach leaf curl

    Diseases that Attack Peaches and Nectarines

  • Peach leaf curl is a fungal disease that causes leaves to curl up and die; new leaves will appear after leaves drop. Preventive spraying with a copper fungicide will help control the disease. Resistant varieties include: "Candor", "Clayton", "Com-Pact Red Haven", "Correll", "Dixieland", "Elberta, Red Haven", and "Stark Earligro".
  • Bacterial cankers cause branches to become sunken with lesions and ooze. Infected branches should be pruned off or cankers can be cut out and the healthy wood treated with lime sulfur.
  • Brown red is a bacterial disease that attacks flowers and shoots and can spread to fruit. This disease can be controlled by spraying with lime sulfur when buds begin to turn green in spring.
  • Bacterial leaf spot and peach scab cause spots or cracks on leaves and fruit. Both leaf spot and peach scab can be controlled with a lime-sulfur spray every 15 days.
  • Trunk sunburn can be controlled by whitewashing the trunk in early spring. So whitewashing wants discourage ants.
  • Scab fungal disease causes dark-brown scabs on the skin of the fruit. Remove infected fruit; spray the tree with a fungicide.
  • Peach rosette mosaic virus causes plants to produce abnormal shoots. There is no treatment.
  • Fall and Winter Peach and Nectarine Care

  • Rake old mulch away from trees in early fall. Remulch around trees in late autumn after rodents have found winter homes elsewhere.
  • Clean up leaves and mummified fruits in winter.
  • Yellow-fleshed fruit: "Cresthaven", "Earliglo", "Garnet Beauty", "Redhaven", "Compact Redhaven", "Briscoe", "Elberta", "Redskin", "Reliance", "Madison".
  • White-fleshed fruit:‘Belle of Georgia’. (White-fleshed peach, very soft-bodied.)
  • Genetic dwarfs:‘Compact Redhaven’, ‘Compact Elberta’.
  • Late flowering or cold-tolerant:"Clayton", "Jayhaven", "Emery", "Redhaven", "Jefferson", "Cresthaven", "Nectar", "Reliance", "Sunapee".
  • Early season:‘Springold’, gr Earlgrande ’.
  • Midseason:"Derby", "Redhaven", "Raritan Rose".
  • Late season:"Veteran", "Redglobe", "Canadian Harmony".
  • Heat tolerant:‘Florida King’, Florida Prince ’.
  • Bacterial leaf spot resistant:‘Raritan Rose’,, Clayton ’,‘ Ouchita Gold ’, Candor’, Redhaven ’,‘ Biscoe ’, Champion’, ‘Nectacrest’.
  • Canker resistant:"Biscoe", "Elberta", "Candor", "Brighton", "Raritan Rose", "Harken", "Madison", "Reliance", "Harbrite", "Champion", "Harbelle".
  • Brown-red resistant:"Carmen", "Elberta", "Orange Cling", "Red Bird", "Sunbeam".
  • Peach leaf curl resistant: ’Candor ',' Com-Pact Redhaven ',' Correll ',' Clayton '', Dixiland ',' Elberta ',' Redhaven ',' Stark EarliGold '.
  • Also of interest: Peach Varieties

    Nectarine Varieties to Grow

  • White flesh varieties: Arctic Jay, Arctic Rose, Arctic Fantasy, Artic Star, Snow Queen, Goldmine.
  • Yellow flesh varieties: "Double Delight", "Flavortop", "Harko", "Juneglo".
  • Cold hardy varieties: "Harko", "Mericrest"
  • Low chill varieties: "Arctic Star", "Double Delight", "Goldmine", "Panamint", "Snow Queen", "Sunred".
  • Great flavor: ‘Liz’s Late’, ‘Heavenly White’, ‘Arctic Fantasy’, ‘Artic Rose’ ’.
  • Botanical name. Prunus persica

    Also of interest: donut peach