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Grow Your Own Peaches and Nectarines
Grow Your Own

Grow Your Own Peaches and Nectarines

Posted Monday, 16 October 2017   |   944 views   |   Family & Home   |   Comments (0) Read this guide from Grow Your Own magazine for advice on growing your own peach and nectarine trees with abundant yields. Peaches have fluffier hairy skins while nectarines are smooth and slightly more difficult to cultivate. However, despite the differences between the two they share many of the same growing requirements, which also means they can be affected by the same kinds of pests and diseases.

Location

It is important to consider the needs and requirements of the fruit before planting. Both peaches and nectarines favour a sunny, south-facing position that is warm and sheltered from the elements – putting them against a wall is advised. The strong sunshine received by the tree aids fruit development, which helps the yields become larger and more flavoursome. The trees grow efficiently in well drained soil that retains moisture, but struggle in waterlogged, heavy clay earth. If the ground on your plot is unsuitable then try purchasing a variety which is suited to container growing, such as ‘Bonanza’. When choosing a site it is also very important to avoid frost pockets.


Planting Outside

These fruit trees are most productive when they have been fan-trained against a structure, such as a fence or wall, which is south facing so that they receive plenty of sunlight. It is worth considering the requirements (such as space and equipment) needed to train the tree before planting. A popular method is using horticultural training wires, which can be attached to the wall or fence and the tree stems tied to canes which have been positioned to be fan shaped on the wires. If you are new to growing fruit trees and are unsure about this aspect of care, you could consider buying a specimen which is a few years older and already slightly trained. November is a great month to plant peaches and nectarines, or to just consider acquiring one as bare-root trees can be put outside up until early spring, around March. The tree may be placed in the ground so that it is relatively close, around 15-20cm, to the structure you are training it against. Put the specimen in a hole which is large enough to accommodate its roots, this will be influenced by rootstock and age, and plant to the soil mark visible on the tree – careful not to cover the grafting area.

Caring for Your Tree

Peaches and nectarines flower early in the season which makes them vulnerable to cold weather, but this also means pollination can be a problem due to the lack of insects present at that time of year. Frost protection methods, such as using fleece, therefore need to be put in place before unfavourable weather affects the plant, and hand pollination should also be carried out. This can be done by using a paintbrush and brushing the bristles in each flower. If you have grown trees in containers, during the colder months of the year the advantage is that they can be moved to a more favourable position, which is warmer and has greater shelter. Fruit trees which have been fan-trained can be pruned during the summer so that the tree continues to establish the desired shape and develop new growth.

 

Harvesting

These yields are one of the richest and most flavoursome to eat when they have been freshly picked at the appropriate stage of ripeness. You should allow time for the fruit to completely colour and then test its texture by feeling the area by the stalk – this should be tender. When ripe the fruit will simply detach itself from the tree when delicately picked.

Peach Leaf Curl

A problem that affects both peaches and nectarines is the disease peach leaf curl, which is a result of the fungus Taphrina deformans. The leaves are severely damaged by this disease, which causes them to become wrinkled and distorted in appearance with red-purple blisters, and then they will fall from the branch. If your tree has this disease, then the infected leaves should be removed as soon as possible, however the best option is prevention. Rain spreads the fungus spores so to protect your tree erect some plastic covering. The sheet should be put up from when the leaves have fallen in autumn until spring, in May.

 

Top Tips

· Plant your tree in well-drained soil in a sunny position

· Use horticultural training wires to fantrain your peach or nectarine tree

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About Grow Your Own

Over 15 great gardening guides every month! Indispensable reading for all vegetable, fruit and herb growers. Unmissable advice! The best seasonal crops for your plot Step-by-step practical projects, from veg growing to garden DIY Advice from experts Anne Swithinbank, Alys Fowler and others Tips for plots of all sizes – allotments to windowboxes The latest breaking news from the world of gardening Seasonal recipes, shopping pages and prize draws

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