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Growing Peaches & Nectarines by Carol Klein

Introduction Peaches & Nectarines

Carol Klein - Growing Peaches & Nectarines

This article is an extract from
Carol Klein’s Grow Your Own Fruit
& is used with permission

A ripe peach picked straight from the tree is one of the juiciest fruits that can be grown in the garden, rewarding the gardener with a drink as much as an edible feast.

The closely related, smooth-skinned nectarine is slightly harder to grow with lower yields but their sensational taste make this a must for any gourmet gardener. Their early pink blossom and thin, glossy leaves are additional reasons for finding space in your garden for this tree.

How to grow Peaches & Nectarines

Peaches and nectarines are best grown as a fan on a warm south or south facing wall. Peaches can be grown as free-standing bushes in very favourable sites, but nectarines will struggle. Due to their slightly tender nature, both peaches and nectarines can also successfully be grown in glasshouses but will require diligent watering. Avoid a heated greenhouse as they require a period of dormancy.

Most peaches are supplied on a St Julian A rootstock. This restrains the vigour and restricts the size of the tree making them better suited to the average sized garden.

Peaches and nectarines are ideal for small spaces. Firstly because they are self-fertile, meaning they don’t require another tree for pollination. Secondly, there are compact forms of peaches that can successfully be grown in pots, making them suitable for a sunny patio, courtyard or balcony. These varieties rarely growing higher than 1m when grown in a pot, and require minimal pruning.

Where to grow Peaches & Nectarines

Peaches and nectarines must be grown in a warm, sunny site if the fruits are going to successfully ripen in the UK. Avoiding frost pockets is another vital requirement as their early spring blossom can easily become damaged. A sheltered position will help prevent the leaves and fruit becoming damaged, and exposure to rain will create problems with peach leaf curl.

The soil should be well-drained, yet at the same time have plenty of humus content to help retain moisture. Peach trees will struggle in light, shallow soils, meaning that any underlying pans should be broken up prior to planting and plenty of organic matter incorporated into the planting area.

Peach or nectarine

If you have got space on your south facing wall for one fan and cannot decide between a peach or nectarine, it is possible to grow both on the same plant. Ask a specialist fruit nursery to bud a nectarine onto a young peach tree. One side will eventually produce peaches and the other side nectarines. In fact, it is not just peaches and nectarines. Almonds are very closely related, and have a similar growth habit meaning that they can also be grown on the same plant.

Planting Peaches & Nectarines

A container grown peach tree can be planted at any time of the year, but avoid planting during the summer as it will require copious watering. Bare root trees are usually healthier plants as they are not rootbound. The best time to plant is late autumn as the soil is still warm and it means they have more chance to establish themselves before the big push in early spring.

Growing Peaches & Nectarines

Growing Peaches and Nectarines - How to Grow Peaches

Growing Peaches and Nectarines - How to Grow Peaches

How to Grow Peaches and Nectarines - A Guide to Growing Peaches and Nectarines Peaches and Nectarines Peaches and nectarines depend on a sheltered, south facing position free from frost pockets, otherwise, the early spring blossom might be damaged....
Growing Peaches & Nectarines by Carol Klein

Growing Peaches & Nectarines by Carol Klein

Introduction Peaches & Nectarines A ripe peach picked straight from the tree is one of the juiciest fruits that can be grown in the garden, rewarding the gardener with a drink as much as an edible feast. The closely related, smooth-skinned nectarine...
Pruning & Training Peaches & Nectarines by Carol Klein

Pruning & Training Peaches & Nectarines by Carol Klein

Pruning principles Peaches & Nectarines As with all stone fruits, peaches and nectarines should never been pruned when they are dormant (during winter) due to their susceptibility to canker and silver leaf. The trees should never be pruned when...
Cultivation - How to Care for Peaches & Nectarines by Carol Klein

Cultivation - How to Care for Peaches & Nectarines by Carol Klein

Peach leaf curl Peach leaf curl, Taphrina deformans, is one of the main problems when attempting to grow peaches and nectarines. This fungal disease also affects almonds and apricots. It is easily recognisable in early spring when the leaves become...
Varieties of Peaches & Nectarine by Carol Klein

Varieties of Peaches & Nectarine by Carol Klein

Harvesting Peaches & Nectarines Expect about 9 to 12kg (20 to 28lb) of fruit from a mature, healthy fan that hasn’t been affected by frosts or peach-leaf curl. A free-standing bush will produce as much as 20kg. Peaches and nectarines are best e...