How to grow nectarines?

How to Grow Nectarines

Days to germination: Usually planted by seedling
Days to harvest: 2 years
Light requirements: Full sun
Water requirements: Water regularly in dry weather
Soil: Well-drained and fertile soil
Container: Dwarf varieties are best for pots

Introduction

Nectarines are actually peaches that have a recessive gene that makes them grow without the fuzzy skin. They are not actually a different kind of fruit.

The trees can’t tolerate much by way of spring frost, but they can survive a fairly cold winter up to around zone 5. They are not as hardy as some other fruits, and will be more susceptible to disease and insects, so plan on a bit more care for these trees.

Just like with peaches, you can get clingstone and freestone varieties of nectarines. Freestone fruit has a pit that comes loose very easily, and is best for eating fresh. On the other hand, clingstone nectarines are firmer and the pit stays put. They are better suited for cooking or canning.

Nectarines have vitamins A and C, fiber and potassium though they are not as good of a source as apples or oranges.

Starting Your Tree

Though getting a nectarine pit to sprout may be a fun science project, it’s not a very practical way to start your tree. Most just buy a seedling or sapling instead. Fruit trees typically are grafted, so your nectarine tree may have the rootstock of a different tree for strength. It also means you will have fruit sooner.

When planting, you can assume your tree can get up to 20 feet tall, though if you are diligent with pruning, it may never reach that height. Even so, you should allow for the space when you choose a sunny and well-drained location for your tree.

Plant your tree like any other fruit tree, with a deep hole large enough for the root ball. It should be deep enough that the top of the root bundle is underground, not above the soil. Water it well for the first season until it is well-rooted.

Tree Care

Nectarines need a good supply of water, and should be watered at least weekly when there hasn’t been much rain. Each spring, feed your trees with a low-nitrogen blend of fertilizer, preferably before the buds start to leaf out.

Pruning is an important part of your tree maintenance, though your trees will still produce a good crop of fruit even if you aren’t an expert at it. You should time your pruning chores to the early spring while the tree is still winter dormant.

The easiest step is to just cut off any dead branches, and also prune any suckers. A sucker (also called a water sprout), is a green branch that usually grows from the trunk but will grow straight upward. They won’t ever produce fruit, so cut them off when they start. Tall branches through the middle of the tree can be cut as well, to open it up and provide better light to the rest of the branches.

If your tree is really thriving, you may get a very good pollination one year which results in more fruit than your tree can handle. It won’t actually harm your tree, but your fall harvest will be disappointing since you will have a large number of extremely small nectarines. You probably won’t be able to judge this during the first few seasons of production, but if you are getting very small fruit, consider picking some each year when they start to develop.

Containers

You have 2 options when getting a dwarf nectarine for container growing: either get a genetic or true dwarf tree Like Nectarina or a standard nectarine that has been grafted onto a dwarf rootstock. The dwarf tree will give you smaller nectarines as well. Either way, these trees will get to about 6 feet tall and can be kept in large planters or half-barrel size pots.

Regular pruning is also very helpful to keep the tree from outgrowing the pot. Give your trees regular water so the soil never completely dries out and fertilize each spring as you with a garden-planted tree.

Pests and Diseases

One issue with nectarines that can be hard to control is the temperature. The trees can survive winter just fine, but a hard frost after the flowers have come out will kill the blossoms. No more will be produced, and you will have no harvest at all for that year. Once your tree has flowered, watch the weather forecasts closely. If a frost is coming, a covering can make a big difference providing your tree isn’t too large. Even if you only save a few blossoms, that will mean some fruit come fall.

The peach twig borer is a problem with nectarines as well. The moth larvae or caterpillars attack the new leaves right when they first come open in the spring. They live on the tree through the winter and hatch when the weather warms up. Look for cocoons (pick them off) and spray your tree with “dormant oil” if you have a problem with these insects. The oil will smother the cocoons before they have a chance to hatch.

Harvest and Storage

Your tree will start to give you fruit when it’s about 2 to 3 years old, though it will take a few years to build up to a more complete harvest. Most trees will give 30 to 40 lbs of nectarines once mature, and they keep producing for up to 20 years.

Nectarines are ripe to pick when they come off the branches with just a gentle twist. If you have to tug or pull, then you shouldn’t be picking yet. They will also lose all their green color. Handle them gentle as they can bruise very easily.

Your fruit won’t store for very long unfortunately. Keep freshly picked nectarines in the fridge for about 2 weeks. They can be frozen, but it will require a bit more work than most other fruits. You’ll have to slice them to remove the pits, and then blanche to remove the peels. The fruit is usually frozen in syrup to maintain the texture and to keep it from turning dark. Books on food preservation should give you a complete recipe for doing this.

  1. Liz Gover Says:
    March 26th, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    I just purchased a nectarine tree from my local Lowes. The name is Sweet Pearl. It already has small, green fruit on it, maybe 1/2 an inch long But the fruit is fuzzy. It looks more like what a peach would look like, but I was assured by the Lowe’s nursery employee that in this variety it was like that when it was starting out. It still goes against my instincts. Do you have any information about this type of necarine?

    Thanks,
    Liz Gover

  2. dan Says:
    May 22nd, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Liz,
    Babe, remember these people at Lowe’s are not pros, just regular people doing a job. Just had to cut down a tree bought there as it was not what they said it was. Going to the nursery for tree’s from now on, and getting my nectarine tree’s from a reliable source, the one you bought, probably a peach.

  3. Dee Dee Says:
    June 10th, 2012 at 9:48 am

    I purchased a nectarine tree last season and it has tripled in size (2′ to 8′)and is growing very well. I am in zone 5 in Nevada and the tree gets lots of full sun during spring and summer. It grew these beautiful pink and white flowers, before the leaves had started to develop. Is this normal to these fruit trees?, and since there was a light snow after it flowered, will I miss out on fruit this year?.

  4. Dave Pearch Says:
    June 13th, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    We planted a 4’nectarine tree two years ago(purchased from Costco) and it is growing well, now approx. 8′ high and 7′ wide. Last year it was all branches and no blooms. I pruned it to an “open vase” configuration and we had lots of spring blossoms, but no fruit has developed. What can we do to induce fruit? Our weather is hot and dry (Phoenix AZ). Thanks, Dave

  5. Sherri Says:
    August 30th, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    I have a nectarine tree that produces moe than enough fruit for my family. the nectarines are a nice size but the skin is very tough which makes them unapealing to eat without cutting the skin off and slicing them. I live in a hot dry climate in British Columbia. Is there a solution for the tough skin?

  6. Ted Says:
    May 15th, 2013 at 8:28 am

    Tree produces lots of fruit – however the fruit rots and falls off before it matures. I use fruit tree spray for bugs and that seems to work.

  7. Diarmuid McGettigan Says:
    May 25th, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    While emptying my Garden Composter in spring 2012
    I found a peach / necturine pit(don’t know which)
    that was partly opened and had started to sprout.
    I put it in a small 4″ pot….It grew about 6″ during the summer, but alas, lost all it’s leaves as winter approached….I realy thought it had died, and tucked it away in the corner of the garden with the intention of chucking it into the compost,which I forgot to do…Early this spring, 2013, much to my surprise, I found this little guy strouting new leaves…”The Joy of Nature”..

  8. Diane Says:
    August 12th, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    My dwarf nectarine tree is approximately 3 years old and finally put out lots of fruit but the fruit is falling off and still yellow..I tasted it and it’s sweet but white inside. It’s fuzzy on outside and culd pass for peach. How come my tree is takin so long to turn color?? I live in
    San Diego, cA

  9. Bob Montelone Says:
    September 5th, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    My nectarine tree was doing well and sprouted leaves but I started to see that the leaves were disappearing. Next day I found a large grasshopper on the tree and realized the grasshopper ate the leaves. All the leaves are gone. Will my tree die?

  10. diane Says:
    September 15th, 2013 at 6:38 am

    I have seeds but cannot find out what to do with them. Do you know?

  11. luise Says:
    January 15th, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    My dwarf white nectarine tree is 2 years old and produced around ten nectarines this year. Unfortunately the fruit isn’t sweet at all and quite unpleasant to eat. What could I do have sweeter nectarines next year?

  12. Joanie, from Central Florida Says:
    January 20th, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    I bought a Nectarine tree from a grower. It looked good through the summer, but now has lost all its leaves. However, there are buds up and down all the branches. Is this a deciduous tree? Any suggestions are appreciated.

  13. Tiff Moore Says:
    May 23rd, 2014 at 9:56 am

    Hi, i just got a nectarine tree from Lowes. I planted as instructed and water it daily since its super hot out right now. Its only been planted 4 days or so and I just noticed that quite a few of the leaves are turning yellow and falling off. Is this normal after planting it or is there something I need to do to help the tree thrive? Thanks!

  14. Kim Sullivan Says:
    May 25th, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    I planted my Red Gold Nectarine since March 2013. Early this spring the tree looked very healthy with a lot of new leaves and premature fruit, but suddenly last week all the tree leaves began turning yellow and wilting. Please advise!!

    Thank you so much. I’m waiting to hear from you.

  15. Emeline Brady Says:
    February 18th, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    My dwarf white nectarine tree is 2 years old and produced lots of nectarines this year. Unfortunately the fruit isn’t sweet at all and quite unpleasant to eat. What could I do have sweeter nectarines next year?

    Kind regards,

    Emeline Brady

  16. Randy Says:
    April 30th, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    I planted a Nectarine pit 7 years ago in my Las Vegas Nevada back Yard, my nectarine tree is now over 10 feet tall, I cut it back, it is very lush, it produces a lot of fruit however the fruit looks like it has what I found online called scab. I sprayed it down with a special spray I was told to use from Star Nursery 2 season’s ago, did not help. This year looks like some of the fruit will form correctly & the tree is a lush green.

  17. steve stewart Says:
    May 6th, 2015 at 7:27 am

    what type of soil do nectarines prefer? I have heavy clay and tends to be acidic.

  18. tom contrafatto Says:
    May 11th, 2015 at 10:11 am

    i planted a drwft nec tree about two years ago. I had nice pink flowers. No fruit do I need another tree to get fruit?

    Tom C

  19. Cathy Jarolin Says:
    July 21st, 2015 at 9:44 am

    We Planted a little Nectarine tree about 7 Years ago. It has grown beautifully but we only had a couple of small nectarines on it Last year and nothing at all this year. We life in Central Illinois. Thankyou for any help!

  20. Terry Kershaw Says:
    August 9th, 2015 at 11:53 am

    Reply to TomContrafatto …
    Tom when the pink flowers appear we use a child’s paint brush or feather to polinate each flower on our dwarf tree and we get plenty of fruit. We live in England where the weather isn’t always great but the fruit still comes. All the best.

  21. Maurice Ellis Says:
    January 18th, 2016 at 9:12 pm

    Hi I want to purchase a Nectarine plant, We live in Southeast Queensland. Just wondering if there is better verity for our climate. Maurice

  22. N. Mafrtino Says:
    June 11th, 2016 at 11:12 pm

    My 3 year nectarine tree has survived peach curl which I treated with copper sulfate. With our spring fall this year it has lots of fruit. Should I cover the tree with netting? I have possums, squirrels, raccoons and many birds from the feeders. Also do you have any advice for my fig tree? The birds feast on it while the fruit is green and I don’t really get to pick many. They are delicious! Thank you.

  23. Larry Says:
    September 24th, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    I planted a nectarine seed 4 years ago, and now it has fruit about the size of a golf ball and just about has hard. Is this tree a dud and should I dig it up? What are the risks of planting a nectarine seed and getting a bad tree? Does this tree need to mature another year to produce good fruit? Any help is appreciated.

  24. Administrator Says:
    September 29th, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    Almost all modern fruit trees are hybrids that can only be reproduced by grafted cuttings, not seeds. When you plant a seed you’re essentially planting a wild nectarine, and there is a chance, it’ll be amazing and delicious (for instance the yellow delicious apple was a wild apple that was discovered back in the 1800s). However, that chance is tiny. More likely you get a dud.

    That being said, fruit does tend to get better on most fruit trees in the second and third crops, so if you’re attached to it you could give it another shot.

  25. Spike Says:
    January 20th, 2017 at 11:29 pm

    I have a very healthy looking nectarine tree that is 12 years old, but has never provided me with more than 12 fruit per year. I know how to prune. It flowers well sets fruit OK then when the fruit is about cherry size they drop off one by one. Getting plenty of water and fertiliser. Maybe too much fertiliser? and water? as it looks very healthy with good looking foliage. What could be the problem?

  26. Jeff Barwick Says:
    January 21st, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    My nectarine tree is 50 years old, it had maybe a handful of fruit this year, does it need to be replaced?

  27. vivian gerard Says:
    March 20th, 2018 at 5:44 pm

    i bought a dwaft nectarine tree from a nursery it is now 2years since i got it there is not even a flower on it yet do you think it will flower this year

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The answer to this is YES. You can successfully grow a nectarine seedling from the seed of a nectarine fruit. However, it is worth noting that, like many other fruits, it is very unlikely that the resultant tree will bear fruit that resembles that of the tree that it came from. This is because the parent tree that produced the delicious store bought fruit was a hybrid, produced by budding or grafting, and not grown from a seed. This allows growers to combine desirable characteristics, but the seeds will not breed true to type. In addition, nectarine seeds need to be cold treated to break their dormancy before they will germinate.
If you don’t mind that and would like to try growing your own nectarine seedling (I think its really fun and am currently growing avocado seeds) then it is relatively straightforward. Here is what you will need to do:
How to grow a nectarine from seed
1. Remove the nectarine pit from the fruit and place it in a bowl of water to soak off any remaining pulp. If the pit floats then its not viable and you will need to try again with another pit. Air dry the seeds on the counter top for a 1 or 2 days.
2. Remove the seeds from the pit by cracking it open – try using a pair of nutcrackers to crack it open. Once removed, soak the seeds in a bowl of water overnight
3. Straitify (cold treat) the seeds. This process essentially simulates winter conditions and breaks the dormancy of the seed. Fill a lidded container half full with some moist potting soil and place the seeds on top of the soil. Close the lid of the container and place in the fridge. Leave for several weeks, make sure that the soil is kept slightly moist and does not dry out. After about a month, the seeds should begin to germinate
4. Plant each germinated seed in a small pot (about 6″ diameter) filled with good quality potting soil. Plant the seed 0.5-1.0″ deep in the center of the pot. Keep the soil moist but not wet and continue to grow the seedlings.
5. Transplant the seedlings into the garden or continue to grow as a container plant.
Hope this helps – I kind of want to try this too! Good luck!

The nectarine tree belongs to the same family as the peach tree, and it is an exceptional fruit tree that calls for a little care before harvesting the nectarines.

A summary of nectarine tree facts

Name – Prunus Persica nucipersica
Family – Rosaceae
Type – fruit tree

Height – 6 ½ to 16 feet (2 to 5 meters)
Climate – temperate and warm
Exposure – full sun

Soil – ordinary, well drained
Foliage – deciduous
Harvest – summer

Planting, pruning and care is important to avoid diseases and ensure proper development for your nectarine tree.

Planting a nectarine tree

Our recommendation is to plant your nectarine tree in a sunlit and wind-sheltered spot so that dominant winds don’t sweep through.

Once the spot is chosen, plant your nectarine tree in fall or in spring.

  • Prepare a blend of soil mix and garden soil, which will make the soil lighter and add nutrients that the tree needs to grow well.
  • If your soil is clay and loamy, add about ⅓ sand to your blend of earth and soil mix.
  • Spread mulch to protect it from frost spells in winter, and it also adds organic matter and avoids weed growth.

The nectarine tree is more hardy than one thinks, since it can resist temperatures as cold as 5° to -4°F (-15 to -20°C).

Pruning, and caring for your nectarine tree

Nectarine tends to not have apical dominance, which means that after pruning, it will sprout new shoots from the base rather than from the top.

Every year, it is important to prune your tree at the end of winter just above a well-formed wood bud.

  • Check that the pruning is well balanced and that there is no dominant central stem, but rather a number of evenly-sized branches.

It is important to perform a fruit-inducing pruning to trigger appearance of many beautiful nectarines.

  • The nectarine tree is very vulnerable to peach leaf curl, and, clearly, proper pruning will give your nectarine tree vigor and a make it more resilient.

You can also treat your nectarine tree before the first leaves appear, with organic acaricide (mite killer) or a spray containing Bordeaux mixture.

Learn more about the nectarine tree

Who has never dreamed of standing up after a nice family feast to go fetch a few peaches from the tree in the garden? This dream is within reach, if you simply care for your tree and considered location, pruning and fertilizing.

With an early cute pink blooming, your nectarine tree will produce magnificent fruits for you during the summer.

  • The nectarine, produced by the Prunus persica nucipersica is actually a natural mutation of the peach tree.

The difference between peach and nectarine is mostly on appearance since the peach tree bears a velvety skin whereas the nectarine’s skin is smooth. The nectarine is smooth and shiny.

Diseases and parasites that attack nectarine trees

  • Nectarine leaf curl – leaves curl and swell
  • Aphids – techniques and organic treatments to avoid it
  • Scale insects – how to fight them
  • European brown rot – the nectarines rot on the nectarine tree

Smart tip about the nectarine tree

Learn to use organic products, because nowadays they have become very effective and won’t contaminate the fruits you’re eating…

Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Fruit on a nectarine tree by Alain Le Clere under © CC BY-SA 2.0
Blossoms on a nectarine tree by Sven Lachmann under license
Large nectarine tree by Asha Gupta under © CC BY-ND 2.0
Nectarine harvest by Simone Van Iderstine under © CC BY-SA 2.0

Growing Nectarine Fruit Trees: Learn About The Care Of Nectarine Trees

Nectarines are a delicious, summer-growing fruit with an autumn harvest, similar to peaches. They’re usually a little smaller than the average peach and have a smooth skin. Uses of nectarines are the same as those of peaches too. They can be eaten fresh, baked into pies and cobblers, and are a sweet, tasty addition to a fruit salad. Let’s learn more about how to grow nectarines.

Where Do Nectarines Grow?

If you live in USDA Hardiness Zones 6-8 and have a place for a small orchard, or even a single tree, you might consider growing nectarine fruit trees. With the proper care of nectarine trees, they can grow successfully in other areas.

Care of nectarine trees in more southern areas includes diligent watering during hot seasons. Like peaches, new varieties of nectarines are self-fruitful, so you can grow a single tree and have fruit production without a pollinator. Your local county extension office can answer where do nectarines grow in your area and when the steps for care should be performed.

Seasonal Nectarine Tree Care

For any successful fruit crop, a good deal of planning and maintenance is necessary. This is true for care of nectarine trees. Nectarine tree care requires certain steps in each season for the optimum crop.

Care of nectarine trees in spring includes several applications of fungicide spray to prevent brown rot. One to three applications are standard as a part of nectarine tree care, but in rainy areas or seasons, more applications may be necessary.

Nectarine tree care in late spring or summer includes applications of nitrogen fertilizer. You can use urea, rotted manure or chemical fertilizer and water in well. Young trees need half as much fertilization as older, mature trees. When growing nectarine trees, practice will familiarize you with which applications work best in your nectarine orchard.

Another summer chore, like that with peaches, is thinning fruits from growing nectarine fruit trees. Thin marble sized nectarines to 6 inches apart for larger nectarines and less breakage of limbs from the weight of growing fruits. Limbs should also be thinned during winter dormancy. This helps control breakage and encourages more fruit production. Another essential element of pruning is leaving only a single trunk on growing nectarine fruit trees.

Keep the area beneath the tree weed free within a three foot span. Apply organic mulch 3 to 4 inches deep; don’t put mulch up against the trunk. Remove leaves from the ground after they’ve fallen in autumn to avoid disease. A copper spray will be needed in fall to prevent shot hole fungus.

Learning how to grow nectarines is a worthwhile gardening chore. Fresh fruit from your abundant harvest that is not used immediately can be canned or frozen.

Nectarines

California Nectarines

A nectarine is really a distinct fruit all its own. The nectarine and the peach are so similar that there is only one gene that separates the two to make them distinct. The nectarine has one recessive gene … the one with the fuzz.

California Produces 95% of Nectarines in the US.

Most of the nectarines in the United States are grown in the San Joaquin Valley, just south of Fresno, California. White flesh varieties of peaches and nectarines represent about 15% of the total California peach and nectarine crop. Nectarines are more delicate than peaches and bruise very easily.

Resources via: RipeNReady

Nectarine Health Benefits

Eating nectarines is a healthy way to include many vitamins and minerals in your diet, and a medium-sized nectarine only has 60 calories. Among the many health benefits listed below, nectarines also contain iron, folic acid, vitamin K, as well as naturally occurring sugars that help provide energy.

Nectarines are High in Beta Carotene

The bright orange-red color of nectarines is due to its high beta-carotene content. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that helps protect the body from damage from free radicals. One cup of fresh nectarines supplies 214 mcg of beta-carotene.

Nectarines Create Healthy Vitamin A

Beta-carotene is also converted by the body into vitamin A, which helps build and maintain healthy skin, teeth, bone tissue, soft tissue and mucus membranes.

California Nectarines Provide Vitamin C

The vitamin C found in California Nectarines may protect molecules from being damaged by free radicals and other chemicals that cause cellular changes. Vitamin C may also protect you from toxins and pollutants that cause illness.

It makes up part of a protein responsible for producing skin, scar tissue, tendons and ligaments. It also helps to repair cartilage, bones and teeth as well as heal wounds. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that may help prevent cancer, heart disease and some medical conditions such as arthritis. One cup of nectarines has 7.7 mg of this important antioxidant.

Nectarines are High in Fiber

Nectarines, whether fresh or dried, are a good source of dietary fiber, which is important for maintaining overall health. Dietary fiber is the part of the plant that your body cannot digest. Fiber also helps prevent constipation and helps with digestion. One medium-sized nectarine contains 2.4 grams of dietary fiber.

Nectarines Contain Lutein

Lutein has health-protective benefits that support healthy eyes and skin. It is also considered an important antioxidant because it helps destroy the presence of free radicals in your body, which may decrease your risk of chronic diseases like cancer. Most humans do not get enough lutein in their diet, but adding nectarines can help you increase how much you consume.

California Nectarines are Packed with Potassium

Potassium is a mineral that is necessary for electrical and cellular functions in the body. It plays a role in metabolism, regulates pH balance, assists with protein synthesis and helps with the digestion of carbohydrates.

Resources via: Healthy Eating & LiveStrong

Fun Facts About Nectarines

  • The name ‘nectarine’ comes from the sweet food the gods eat, ‘nectar’.
  • Nectarines come from the same family as the rose and are also related to the almond.
  • Nectarines are not, as some people think, a cross between a plum and a peach.
  • It is not uncommon for a peach or a nectarines to grow on each other’s tree.
  • A nectarine is a stonefruit, which is a fruit with a large seed in the middle.
  • Nectarines and peaches have identical looking trees.

Resource via: Fresh for Kids

Copied this for you it may help.
How to Care for Peaches & Nectarines
This article is an extract from
Carol Klein’s Grow Your Own Fruit
& is used with permission
Fruit Trees & Bushes in Allotment Shopping
Removing Excess Fruits
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 covered in reddish or whitish blisters and begin to curl-up. Eventually the leaves drop to the ground leaving the tree bare. Although the tree will send out a second flush of leaves, the tree is placed under great stress making fruit production unlikely.
Evidence shows that plants protected from the rain as the buds start to swell are less likely to suffer from peach leaf curl. Covering the tree with a polythene or glass cover should help to keep the buds dry and reduce the spread of infection. For the really dedicated grower specially-made covers can be made to fit over fan-trained trees against walls or fences. Ensure that the sides are left open to allow air-circulation and enable pollinating insects to reach the flowers. The covers should be in place by December and left until late May.
The spread of infection can also be reached by removing the infected fallen leaves and burning them. This prevents the spread of spores that will effect the following year’s growth.
A copper fungicide, such as Bordeaux mixture, can be applied before the flowers open in January or February, spraying again a fortnight later. One more spray at leaf-fall in autumn should help to reduce the spread of infection.
Frost protection
Generally it is not the cold of winter that harms them and they will quite happily survive outside in these conditions. Instead it is their early flowering habit in early spring that makes them susceptible to frosts. Compact peaches grown in containers should be kept in a greenhouse until the risk of frosts are over, whereas fan-trained or bush-shaped trees should be covered with hessian or fleece. Alternatively the temporary polythene structures used to prevent peach-leaf curl will give extra protection against early spring frosts.
Bird protection
As with most fruit, birds are a major pest for peaches and nectarines. Not only do they peck holes in the ripening fruit, but bull-finches in particular, have the habit of pecking out the buds as they develop.
Hand pollination (rabbit tail)
Despite being self-fertile, peaches and nectarines benefit from assistance with the pollination of their flowers. They flower early in the year, meaning that there’s a lack of pollinating insects around. Traditionally hand-pollination is carried out with a rabbit’s tail, gently pushing it into the flower and transferring its pollen to the surrounding blossom. If a rabbit’s tail is unobtainable then use a soft brush or even cotton wool. This should ideally be carried out each day during their flowering season.
Thinning (Peaches & Nectarines)
As the fruits develop they will need thinning to allow the remaining fruits to develop to their full size and obtain maximum sugar levels. A commonly used rule-of-thumb is to thin the fruitlets out to 10cm (4in) when they are hazelnut size, and 20cm (8in) when they reach walnut size. Aim to have the fruits spaced equally over the plant, removing ones that will become trapped and bruised against the wall when fully ripened.
General maintenance (Peaches & Nectarines)
Both peaches and nectarines will require regular watering as the fruits start to swell. This is particularly the case for trees planted near walls as they absorb the moisture, making the soil dry. Mulching around the base of the plant with manure will help to retain moisture in early spring. A general granular feed can be sprinkled around the root zone in early spring. Afterwards an occasional high potash liquid feed can be given to the plants as they start to grow. Keep the area around the root zone free of weeds.
Compact peaches in containers should be re-potted every couple of years, using John Innes no. 3. They will require watering almost every day during the growing season and a fortnightly liquid feed high in potash every couple of weeks. They don’t require much, if any, pruning and should be moved into an un-heated greenhouse from December until May.
Growing Peaches & Nectarines (Carol Klein)
Introduction – How to Grow Peaches & Nectarines
Pruning & Training Peaches & Nectarines
Caring for Peaches & Nectarines
Harvesting and Recommended Varieties of Peaches & Nectarines
Peaches in Allotment Shop
Nectarines in Allotment Shop

When are nectarines in season?

By : The Pittman & Davis Team | | On : May 22, 2018 | Category : Fruit Information

Nectarines, botanical name Prunus persica nectarine, are identified as the queen of all fruit. But no matter what the name everyone can enjoy the fuzzy, succulent and sweet peaches. Although similar in many ways, you can easily identify a nectarine by their smooth skin and slightly smaller size compared to a peach. On top of that, a ripe nectarine is slightly acidic and sour as well as has a supreme aroma and rich flavor that is more evident and marked than that of a peach.

History

The nectarine was named after the classical drink of the Greek Gods called ‘nectar’ because of its elegance, taste and aroma.

The origin of this delectable fruit is still a mystery. Granting its similarity to a peach and how a peach tree is capable of bearing nectarines, peach seeds are the most likely culprit and source of nectarines.

Nectarines were first discovered in China about 2000 years ago and later made its way to Rome, Greece and Persia where it was cultivated.

In Season

The nectarine is a mutation of the peach fruit and belongs to the family Rosaceae. It is a stone fruit or drupe that can either be clingstone (flesh adheres firmly to the stone) or freestone (flesh separates easily from the stone). The nectarine comes in yellow and white varieties.

Nectarines are grown all throughout the warm, mild regions of the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Fresh nectarines are one of the highlights of the summer stone fruits and are available from late April until late August, however a certain variety, Chilean Nectarines, are available from December to March.

Popular Nectarine Varieties

Cultivar Harvest Time Notes
Fantasia Mid-summer/Mid-season This is a large, yellow-type heirloom clingstone variety with firm texture and juicy flesh. It has a sweet flavor with a tinge of acid and light tart notes.
Flavortop June to August Large, yellow nectarine freestones that are sweet and utterly delicious. This high quality variety is flavorful and great for making pies and cobblers.
Snow Queen Early season Large freestone nectarine that is fair-skinned with light russet blush; flesh is juicy.
Stark Sunglo Mid-season All purpose freestone nectarine with mild acid flavor.
Redgold Late season Freestone nectarine with yellow ground color blotched with rich red blush.

Nectarines are classic summer treats and can be enjoyed in different ways; you can make nectarine dessert like the Nectarine Frangipine Tart, eat it fresh or make pies and cobblers.

Now you may be wondering how to store nectarines if you have more than what you need. You can try freezing nectarines or use them to turn them into jams.

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