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Nectarine Trees

NECTARINES





NECTARINES
Prunus persica


Peaches and nectarines are the same species, Prunus persica, but nectarines differ from peaches in that they lack “peach fuzz.”



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. The white-fleshed variety Sunmist is especially sweet tasting, with lower acid than yellow-fleshed fruits.





We graft exclusively on nematode-resistant rootstock adapted to soils of the deep South.

Site Selection

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

Nectarines will grow more vigorously and produce more fruit in full sun. Avoid frost pockets- nectarines 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 nectarines will grow on many soil types if good drainage is provided. Nectarines will grow more vigorously and produce more fruit in full sun.

Nectarines 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 nectarines 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. 10-0-10 with minerals or Espoma Citrus Tone (Organic) 6 cups for 2 year old. 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 late February, late May and late July/early August. For plants further north (Zones 6-7), fertilize in March or 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 nectarine. 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 nectarine clear of grass and weeds to minimize competition for water and nutrients. Pruning the nectarines 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 pH 6.0-6.5
Pruning: Prune to remove dead wood and train or shape the trees. See Pruning section above
Maintenance: Easy
Hardiness Zone: 8-10 Plant the right chill hour cultivar for your location


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Products 1-3 of 3
Sunhome Nectarine
Availability: Out of Stock
Price: $19.95


Item #: Sunhome Nectarine - A moderate low chill (250 hours) yellow flesh, semi-free nectarine with beautiful dark red foliage in the early spring and a beautiful ornamental pink bloom. Best for central Florida and coastal...
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    Sunmist Nectarine
    Availability: Pick-up Only
    Price: $19.95


    Item #: Sunmist Nectarine - A delicious moderate low chill (275 hours) white flesh, semi-free nectarine for central and north Florida and the coasts to south Texas and South Carolina. Another development from the University of...
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      Sunraycer Nectarine
      Availability: Out of Stock
      Price: $19.95


      Item #: Sunraycer Nectarine - A delicious moderate low chill (250 hours), yellow flesh semi-freestone nectarine for central and south Florida and the coasts west to south Texas. It has excellent flavor and good disease...
      [more info...]

        Products 1-3 of 3