Guide to Growing Peaches and Nectarines

Guide to Growing Peaches and Nectarines

Peaches, and their smooth-skinned forms, the nectarines, have an exotic appeal many gardeners, including myself, find hard to resist. Both are cultivated in the same way.

The best way to grow them outdoors is on a warm south-facing wall as fan-trained specimens, but they are also grown as bushes in southem parts of the country. In the latter case, though, only a few varieties such as Hale’s Early, Peregrine and Early Rivers will fruit satisfactorily.

Guide-to-Growing-Peaches-and-Nectarines Autumn or early winter planting is best, as they come into flower early in the spring, and require as much time as possible in the preceding season to get established. Manure the ground well before planting and dress it at this time with lime and a liberal sprinkling of bonemeal. Fan-trained trees should be planted 10 to 12ft. apart, and free-standing bushes 15 to 20ft. each way. Thereafter mulch heavily with organic matter in February or June each year, and water the plants freely in dry weather, particularly if grown against walls.

An annual sprinkling of Nitro-chalk will also help good growth. The fruit will want thinning, starting when each is about the size of a walnut, and doing it gradually over several weeks, so that finally there is one left to every 9in. of shoot growth.

When the trees are in bud or in flower they must be protected against frost and cold winds. Provide the necessary protection by erecting a plastic covered framework or a hessian screen if you prefer that material.

Peach-tree pruning and training, where a fan-trained tree is involved, can appear to be very complicated. It is not, although it is spread over a comparatively long time, compared with other fruits. Once the framework of the fan has been formed, by taking the two strongest side shoots and fanning them out one to each side, then the strongest laterals off these are retained and tied in each year, gradually filling the centre as well as the sides.

When new shoots start to grow up in spring, there will be far too many of them, and it is necessary to rub them out before they grow to any length. On each fruit-bearing shoot remove all the new young laterals, a few at a time, until only two are left, one at the tip and one at or near the base of the shoot. Where shoots appear with the fruit, reduce these to one and pinch this back to leave one leaf, which will help to feed the fruit. This de-shooting is spread out over several weeks, just as fruit thinning is. The leader is allowed to grow on. After disbudding, tie in the shoots so that they fill the space evenly. Careful disbudding makes fan-training of the tree much easier.

In November, cut out the old fruiting growths and tie in the basal shoot which grew during the summer to take its place. Prune back the leading shoots if more extension growth is required, otherwise prune right back to the replacement shoot. It is often easier to do this pruning if the whole tree is untied and then re-tied in position so that even spacing can be arranged. This is because the shoots will have grown unevenly, some being stronger than others. 


Increase by budding in summer on to plum stocks, such as Brompton. Seedling peach rootstocks can be used where they are to be grown as bush trees. The stones can also be used to provide trees, but will not come true to variety. 


These include — Peaches: Noblesse, end August. Peregrine, early August. Barrington, mid-September. Hale’s Early, late July-early August. Nectarines: Early Rivers, end of July. Violette Hative, rnid-August. Pine Apple, early September.


01. December 2010 by admin
Categories: Fruit Gardening, Gardening Ideas | Tags: | Comments Off on Guide to Growing Peaches and Nectarines


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