Indian blood peach tree

Indian Blood Peach Trees – Tips For Growing Indian Blood Peaches

In recent years, interest in growing and preserving heirloom and antique varieties of fruits and vegetables has grown tremendously. Now, more than ever, gardeners are actively seeking to grow rare and unique plants from times past. One of the most exciting reasons for this revolution is to encourage diversity within garden plantings. Many fruit trees, such as the ‘Indian Blood’ peach, are excellent examples of old-time favorites being reintroduced to a new generation of gardeners. Read on to learn more about growing Indian Blood peaches.

What are Indian Blood Peach Trees?

Introduced to Mexico by the Spanish, Indian Blood peaches quickly became a cultivated crop for many Native American tribes. Treasured for their high yields, this gorgeous deep red-fleshed peach is crisp and perfect for use in canning, fresh eating, and pickling.

Additionally, its hardiness and disease resistance made this variety of peach tree a staple in home orchards for decades. Over time, the commercialization of fruit production has caused this cultivar to become somewhat of a rarity.

Additional Indian Blood Peach Info

Like many fruit trees, these peach trees have several requirements in order to thrive. Indian Blood peaches are listed to require at least 750-900 chill hours in order to produce fruit. This requirement makes the plants hardy to USDA zones 4-8.

Since these peaches are listed as self-fruitful, their planting does not require an additional pollinator plant. However, it is suggested that plants are able to better produce an abundant Indian Blood peach harvest when a compatible pollinator tree has been planted nearby.

How to Grow Indian Blood Peach Trees

The first step to growing this type of peach is to locate young saplings. Due to the popularity of new cultivars, it may be unlikely that growers will be able to find this plant available at local nurseries and garden centers. Luckily, these fruit trees can be found frequently through online plant sellers. When ordering, purchasing only from reputable sources will ensure the best chance of receiving a healthy and disease-free peach tree.

Choose a well-draining planting location in direct sunlight. Soak the roots of the peach tree sapling in water for a few hours before planting. Dig a hole about twice as large and as deep as the root ball of the plant. Fill the planting hole with soil and cover the roots, being careful not to cover the crown of the tree.

To maintain the tree, follow proper pruning procedures each season to regulate the growth of the plant and it fruit production.

Peaches in Seattle?

This article was originally posted April 28, 2014 by Patrick Mann to the Brandon Triangle Orchard blog. Brandon Triangle Orchard is one of the sites lovingly cared for by Urban Orchard Stewards.

I love peaches, and so do most people I know, so a peach tree was high on my list of fruit tree selections.

But how many peach trees do you see around Seattle? Not many, and for good reasons. So is the idea of Seattle-grown peaches sheer folly? Let’s consider all the reasons not to try growing peaches in Seattle:

Short-lived
Peach trees have a productive life of only about 20 years. Not much, compared to the over 100 years you can get from an apple tree. On the plus side, they grow fast and are precocious, bearing fruit earlier than many other fruit trees.

Chilling requirements
Seattle doesn’t get very cold, but since “chill hours” only require temperatures under 45°F, we actually get a surprisingly high average of 3000 chill hours. That’s more than enough for peaches.

Pollination
This is a serious issue. Peach trees flower early, when the weather is often too cold and wet to allow for successful insect-pollination. Fortunately, since peach trees usually require heavy thinning of fruit set, a sub-par fruit set may not actually be such a bad thing.

Disease
Peach trees are disease-prone. In particular, they are susceptible to peach leaf curl, a fungal disease promoted by cool wet winter weather, i.e. Seattle conditions.

Assuming you don’t want to spray chemicals, you do still have a few options:

  • Plant a leaf curl resistant variety, such as Oregon Curl Free, Avalon Pride, or Indian Free Peach
  • Protect your tree from winter rains by planting it against a house wall, under the roof overhang
  • Spray natural anti-fungals in early Spring, such as Trichoderma mix or Effective Microbes

Is it worth it?
That’s really up to you. I definitely think so. You won’t have a great harvest – or any – every year. But when the right conditions come together and you pick that perfectly tree-ripened fruit off your own peach tree, I think you will agree with me that it is worth trying.

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