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Peach Trees

PEACHES




PEACHES

Prunus persica


The joy of a big, juicy, tree-ripened peach is one of the mouth-watering pleasures of growing your own fruit. They are called the Queen of the fruits for good reason!



We specialize in new low-chill varieties of peaches and nectarines developed by the University of Florida that were specifically bred for the warm winters of the Deep South, from South Texas to coastal Carolina. Some of these new cultivars can be grown as far south as Miami! In the past nurseries and chain stores have often sold northern varieties of peaches that are not adapted to the Florida, such as Elberta or Hale Haven that require 800 chilling hours, giving the false impression that you can't grow peaches in Florida or other sub-tropical regions.

With these new UF varieties, you can have the pleasure of eating fabulous peaches grown in your own backyard!



These new UF varieties are grown in over 30 countries around the world and are becoming a new commercial crop in Florida. Florida grown peaches come to market after South American crops are over and before Georgia peaches are in ripe. Peaches can produce 5-10,000 lbs/acre and prices in this market window can bring $2-4.00/lb or more. We graft exclusively on nematode-resistant rootstock adapted to soils of the deep South.

There are two kinds of peaches, based on their flesh. Traditional peaches are melting flesh, that soften as they ripen. These are the kinds that you have to eat over the sink or you will drip juice down the front of your shirt! Many commercial growers are planting the new non-melting flesh peaches, that stay firm even as they ripen. This is valuable for shipping, because they have a much longer shelf life and do not become soft or bruise easily as they ripen up on the store shelf or during shipping.

Peaches are very easy to grow. You should plant on a hillside, if possible, to avoid frost pockets or valleys where late season freezes could damage the blossoms or fruit (see Chilling Hours and Climate and Soils for Microclimates). Peaches also have a beautiful floral display in addition to producing fruit. Pest and disease management is important for commercial orchards to produce the highest quality fruit for market.

Site Selection

Well-drained sandy loam soils are preferred, but peaches will grow on many soil types if good drainage is provided.

Peaches will grow more vigorously and produce more fruit in full sun. Avoid frost pockets- peaches may be damaged by unseasonable frosts. Prepare the area by removing any weeds prior to planting. This step is often over looked but is absolutely critical to any successful planting. Weeds and grass steal light, water and nutrients from your trees.

Soil and Planting

Well-drained, sandy loam soils are preferred, but apples will grow on many soil types if good drainage is provided. Peaches will grow more vigorously and produce more fruit in full sun.

Peaches prefer slightly acidic soil (pH 6.0 - 6.5).

Dig a planting hole approximately two times the width of the pot and at the same depth as the root ball. Set that soil aside and mix it 50/50 with either aged compost or aged manure. Remove the plant from the pot, gently loosen the root ball and place in the planting hole. Set the tree in the middle of the hole. Using some soil, secure the tree in a straight position. To avoid burying too deep, make sure plant is positioned with the top most roots at the soil line. Fill the planting hole with the native soil and mixed soil with organic matter; gently tamp it in. Water thoroughly to settle the roots and eliminate air pockets. Do NOT put fertilizer in the planting hole. Only apply fertilizer if it is the correct time of year. If desired, construct a water basin around the base of the tree approximately 36 inches in diameter. Keep an area approximately 4 feet in diameter around the apple clear of grass and weeds to minimize competition for water and nutrients.

Mulch in spring and summer with approximately 4-6 inches of mulch. Mulch around the trunk pulling the mulch a few inches away from the trunk on the top of the ground.

In spring, we suggest a mix of compost and weed-free hay as mulch. In summer, use weed-free hay or grass clippings alone. Shredded pine bark and pine needles are also good mulches.

Spacing

Spacing for peaches depends upon the desired use in the landscape. Trees should be at least 15-20' apart.


Fertilization

The type of fertilizer you choose may be chemical or organic. Make sure that the fertilizer contains iron, zinc, manganese, magnesium, molybdenum, copper and boron. These minor elements are very important to plants and most soils are low in these elements. Application rates vary according to age of plant. You can use Espoma Citrus Tone (Organic) . Spread the fertilizer evenly under the entire canopy of the plant avoiding a 5-inch area around the trunk. Water or rake in.

For Zones 8a-10, fertilize 3 times each year in March after bud break, late May and late July/early August. For plants further north (Zones 6-7), fertilize in March after bud break.

Never fertilize after August (June in Zones 6-7) as this will promote new growth late in the year which will be subject to freeze damage. Excess fertilizer or pruning stimulates too much vegetative growth, promoting fireblight. An average of 6 inches of shoot growth on bearing trees is optimal. If trees need to be pruned heavily (as for an older tree that needs rejuvenating), don’t fertilize for a year or two.

Water

The first year is a critical time for the establishment of a new peach. Water thoroughly twice a week on light soils and once a week on clay soils. Soak the entire root system deeply.

Water regularly, especially during dry periods.

Fruit may drop prematurely if insufficiently irrigated during dry spells. Keep an area approximately 4 feet in diameter around the pear clear of grass and weeds to minimize competition for water and nutrients. Pruning the peaches natural tendency is to grow upright, creating narrow crotches that tend to break under heavy fruit loads. To avoid this, early training is a must. Pegging the tree will insure a form that will bear heavy fruit loads. At planting select 3-4 scaffold branches spaced equally around the trunk and remove other branches flush with the trunk. These scaffold limbs should be pegged down to insure a form that will bear heavy fruit loads. You want the tree to have good air circulation in the interior.

Pruning

Peaches, plums and nectarines in the South are usually pruned to an open center habit. At planting select 3-4 scaffold branches spaced equally around the trunk and remove other branches flush with the trunk. In the second dormant season, top the scaffold limbs approximately 36 inches from the trunk to encourage secondary branching. Remove any strong branches growing into the center. You want the tree to have good air circulation in the interior. Continue to train peach, plum and nectarine trees during the first 5 years. Pruning should be designed to train the tree outward by removing strong branches growing into the center and removing water sprouts. The tree can be topped out at 7 or 8 foot with mold and hold cuts, which are devigorating heading cuts made into two year old wood. Do this by topping back the main scaffold limb to a weaker outward growing shoot. This will keep the tree at an easy picking height as well as stimulate new growth lower on the tree Mature trees are pruned during the dormant season. Thin out weak branches and head back long shoots as needed to maintain tree shape. Remove water sprouts. Remove any dead, damaged or diseased branches when pruning. Use mold and hold cuts to maintain trees to an easy picking height. To grow the biggest peaches, plums and nectarines, thin small fruit to no more than 1 fruit per 6 inches of branch.


Height: 10-15'

Spread: 5-10'

Tree Form: Open-center vase

Pollination: Self-pollinating
Flowers: Feb-Mar
Bears: Apr-May in 1-2 years
Light requirements: Full sun
Soil type: Well-drained sandy loam preferred, pH 6.0-6.5
Fertilization: Fertilize in early spring with a slow release fertilizer that contain micro-nutrients.
Pruning: Prune to remove dead wood and train or shape the tree. See pruning section above.
Maintenance: Easy
Hardiness Zone: 8-10 Plant the right chill hour cultivar for your location


Show
Products 1-10 of 10
Flordabest Peach
Availability: Pick-up Only
Price: $26.95


Item #: Flordabest Peach - Flordabest has a beautiful blush coloring, large fruit making them very attractive. Flordabest was developed by UF in 2009. It has a yellow melting flesh. Semi-clingstone. Harvest middle of April in...
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    Flordagold Peach
    Availability: Out of Stock
    Price: $24.95


    Item #: Flordagold Peach - Flordagold is a yellow-fleshed variety requiring up to 325 hours chill. A Semi-freestone peach with rounded medium to large, attractive colored fruit. Excellent quality.Available at farm for pickup:...
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      UFOne Peach
      Availability: Pick-up Only
      Price: $24.95


      Item #: UFOne Peach - UFOne is non-melting flesh cultivar released by UF in 2008. Fruit is medium - large very firm with yellow flesh. First harvest in early April in Gainesville, FL,requiring only 150 chill hours....
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        Flordaglo Peach
        Availability: Pick-up Only
        Price: $24.95


        Item #: Floridaglo Peach - A very low chill (150 hours) white-fleshed peach for the warmest climates, plant zones 9-10. Developed by the University of Florida. White-fleshed peaches have lower acid content and thus taste...
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          Flordabelle Peach
          Availability: Pick-up Only
          Price: $24.95


          Item #: Flordabelle Peach - A older variety with excellent flavor and disease resistance. Moderately low chill, red colored, yellow-flesh peach for central Florida. Ripens about mid May. 250 chill hours, Zones 8-9. Melting...
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            Flordacrest Peach
            Availability: Out of Stock
            Price: $24.95


            Item #: Flordacrest Peach - A excellent tasting, moderately low chill, red colored, yellow-flesh, semi-cling peach for north Florida and the coasts from South Carolina to coastal Texas. Ripens about mid May, about one week...
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              Flordaking Peach
              Availability: Out of Stock
              Price: $24.95


              Item #: Flordaking Peach - Flordaking was developed by the University of Florida and is excellent for north Florida and the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. It has yellow flesh, is semi-freestone and has a beautiful red blush over a...
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                Flordaprince Peach
                Availability: Pick-up Only
                Price: $24.95


                Item #: Flordaprince Peach - An excellent very low chill (150 hours) yellow flesh, semi-cling peach for central and south Florida. The most widely planted low chill peach in the world - over 150,000 acres of Flordaprince are...
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                  Tropic Beauty Peach
                  Availability: Pick-up Only
                  Price: $24.95


                  Item #: Tropic Beauty Peach - Developed by breeder Dr. Robert Rouse from the University of Florida, this very low chill (150 hours) peach has yellow flesh, is semi cling, and has excellent flavor. One of the very best low chill...
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                    Tropic Snow Peach
                    Availability: Pick-up Only
                    Price: $24.95


                    Item #: Tropic Snow Peach - An excellent moderate low chill (225 hours) white flesh, semi-freestone peach for central Florida and south Texas. This white flesh peach is very low acid, so has extremely sweet flavor. Our...
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                      Products 1-10 of 10