Unusual & Old Fashioned Fruit Trees


Peach And Nectarines Prunus Persica.

Peach trees are quite hardy in the UK and have no problems over Winter with frosts, but when Spring comes a late frost can easily take the blossom as Peach trees flower early in the new season and without the blossom/flowers, there can be no fruit. Another big problem with early flowering is that there are not many insects about to pollinate any flowers that do survive. Having said that, if peach trees are grown against a South facing wall, as a fan type, it is relatively easy to secure a piece of horticultural fleece above the tree and drape the fleece over it at night in the Spring to keep the night frosts from it. The tree must be uncovered every morning though to let what insects there are pollinate the flowers. Growers may even consider hand pollinating the flowers to ensure a greater success. Many fruit trees need another tree to enable pollination, but peaches do have the advantage that they are self-fertile.

Peaches do require a fair amount of care and attention to get the most out of them including regular watering in dry spells as they must never be allowed to dry out. On the other hand they also need to be planted in free draining conditions to prevent water logging. Disease control needs constant monitoring as peaches are susceptible to several common problems. Plants need spraying both before and at the end of each season to prevent “Peach Leaf Curl”. Silver leaf is also a common disease and when pruning, care has to be taken to prevent Bacterial Canker from developing in the open cut.

On top of all the above difficulties, a good summer is needed to ripen the fruit on trees outside. People in the Southern counties stand a better chance of successful cropping, or if possible, planting under glass will produce even better results. Traditionally old English country houses are known for their “Peach Houses” where the landed Gentry grew their own fruits before the modern age of high speed importation. The fruit of the Nectarine is basically the same as peaches except for its smooth skin and the growing requirements for them are the same. However, Nectarines flower even earlier and fruit yields are generally lower.

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