70726thumbJust like roses and camellias, the innocent peach, Prunus persica, has been developed into too many distinct cultivars to write about in just a few brief paragraphs. It had been in cultivation for thousands of years before arriving in North America. Peach is a classic summer fruit, but trees should be planted while dormant, preferably as bare root stock, about now, in the middle of winter.

Peaches certainly do not grow everywhere in North America. They need just enough chill to be reminded that it is winter; but too much chill too late in the season will ruin bloom. Too much late rain will rot developing fruit. Peaches are therefore right at home in chaparral climates of California, where freestone cultivars are grown for fresh fruit, and clingstone cultivars are grown for canning.

Healthy peach trees can get up to second story eaves, but if properly pruned, should be only half as tall. They should not get too wide either, since the weight of fruit can break limbs. Aggressive winter pruning keeps trees vigorous and resistant to disease. Orchard trees last less than twenty years, although home garden trees are often kept longer. Nectarines are just fuzzless peaches.

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4 thoughts on “Peach

    1. Those peaches are on a tree that I planted in 1985. It grew from a seed next to a compost pile. I had to pull it out, so heeled it in where it is now, and forgot about it. It has outlived it life expectancy, and is slowly dying back, but will get cut back to a vigorous sideshoot that is growing into a new tree. I have tried to get cuttings from it for years. It just does not cooperate.

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  1. We can grow peaches in our part of Southern Ontario, and even very young trees, 3 to 4 years old, can give a 30 plus fruit harvest with few pest or disease problems. And peaches are the tastiest fruit going.

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    1. I find that surprising. I would expect them to get brown rot there. They are not grown commercially in western Washington because of brown rot; although I do not know if they are grown in home gardens.

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