Arizona Vegetable & Fruit Gardening For The Arizona Desert Environment.
Pictures, Photos, Images
Descriptions, Information, & Reviews.
Peach Trees, Prunus persica.

Dwarf Peach Trees, Prunus persica. Arizona Vegetable & Fruit Gardening For The Arizona Desert Environment. Pictures, Photos, Images, Descriptions,  Information, & Reviews.
Dwarf Peach Trees, Prunus persica. About 6 Feet High. 2 Years Old. Fruiting.
Photo Taken May 21, 2005. In Glendale, Arizona.

Flowering Dwarf Peach Tree, Prunus persica. Arizona Vegetable & Fruit Gardening For The Arizona Desert Environment. Pictures, Photos, Images, Descriptions,  Information, & Reviews.Dwarf Peach Flower, Prunus persica. Arizona Vegetable & Fruit Gardening For The Arizona Desert Environment. Pictures, Photos, Images, Descriptions,  Information, & Reviews.
Photo Taken March 26, 2004.
Flowering
Dwarf Peach Tree, Prunus persica.
Photo Taken March 26, 2004.
Dwarf Peach Flower, Prunus persica.
Dwarf Peach Fruit, Prunus persica. Arizona Vegetable & Fruit Gardening For The Arizona Desert Environment. Pictures, Photos, Images, Descriptions,  Information, & Reviews.Dwarf Peach Fruit, Prunus persica. Arizona Vegetable & Fruit Gardening For The Arizona Desert Environment. Pictures, Photos, Images, Descriptions,  Information, & Reviews.
Photo Taken May 21, 2005.
Dwarf Peach Fruit, Prunus persica.
Photo Taken May 21, 2005.
Dwarf Peach Fruit, Prunus persica.

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Peach Tree
Prunus persica, Rose Family ( Rosaceae ), Commonly Known As: Peach Tree. AKA: Peachtree.

The Peach Tree, Prunus persica has been cultivated from time immemorial in most parts of Asia, and for many years, was thought to have been introduced into Europe from Persia, as its name implies.

However, peaches actually originated in China, where they have been cultivated since the early days of Chinese culture. Peaches were actually mentioned in Chinese writings as far back as the 10th. century B.C. and were a favored fruit of many kings and emperors. Recently, the history of the cultivation of peaches in China has been extensively reviewed and studied from numerous original manuscripts dating back to about 1100 BC.

In support of the Chinese origin, it may be added that the Peach-tree was introduced from China into Cochin-China, and that the Japanese call it by the Chinese name, Too.

The Peach is mentioned in the books of Confucius, fifth century before the Christian era, and the antiquity of the knowledge of the fruit in China is further proved by representations of it in sculpture and on porcelain.

The Peaches English name comes to us originally from the Latin name; malum persicum, or "Persian apple", which became the French name, pêche, then later on, peach in Middle English.

The peach was brought to India and Western Asia in ancient times. When Alexander the Great conquered the Persians, it was introduced into Europe. Then it was brought into the Americas by the Spanish explorers during the 16th century, and it eventually was introduced into England and France during the 17th century, where it was considered a prized, rare, treat.

Evidence suggests that the horticulturist George Minifie brought the first peaches from England into its North American colonies in the early 17th century, planting them at his Estate of Buckland in Virginia.

A few Native American Indian tribes are credited with spreading the peach tree across the United States, taking its seeds along with them and planting them as they moved across the United States.

History shows that although Thomas Jefferson had peach trees at Monticello; the United States farmers did not begin commercial production until the 19th century in Maryland, Delaware, Georgia and finally Virginia.

Today, California grows about 65% of the peaches grown for commercial production in the United States. The states of South Carolina, New Jersey, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Washington also grow a significant amount.

Italy, China, India, and Greece are the four major producers of peaches outside of the United States.

In 2010, a team of researchers at Clemson University, USA, announced that they had sequenced the peach tree genome (doubled haploid Lovell).

Peach trees are grown primarily as a fruit tree; however, great interest in the non-fruiting, flowering peach tree was shown by President Thomas Jefferson who planted a double flowered tree that spectacularly bloomed at his home in Virginia in 1805. Flowering peach trees rate high, and desirable new cultivars of ornamental peach trees are available for planting and flowering with colors of white, pink, red, and peppermint (a mixture of red and white flower petals). These flowering peach trees are sterile in fruit production and bloom early in the spring, loaded with large colorful clusters of single or double flowered peach petals.

Peaches are less popular now as a fresh fruit than they were a few years ago, primarily because most commercial peach cultivars (varieties) are tailored by hybridizers to grow and ship as a firm fruit. The firmness of these peaches is important when a grower considers shipping the peach fruit long distances, but not enough attention has been given by plant hybridizers to saving the ancient qualities of aroma, juiciness, flavor, and seed separation from the pulp. Another problem damaging fresh peach sales is that the labor hired to pick the fruit from the tree is not properly trained nor personally concerned in the ultimate ripening of the peach fruit into a juicy, soft, delicious, tasty peach. The peaches are simply picked too soon and too firm to provide a fruit product that compared to a backyard orchard, tree-ripened delicacy that our older generation often experienced in their grandfather's back yard garden.

Most of the peaches grown by commercial orchards today are fruits that are harvested while too firm with a seed that clings to the pulp called a "clingstone" peach. The best flavored peaches ripen soft and the seed easily separates from the edible portion, and these are called "freestone" peaches.

Peach trees grown in the United States differ greatly from the aggressive, disease resistant, tasty, aromatic fruits grown by the early Americans. Over the centuries, the immune qualities of the peach trees to insects and diseases have been bred out by hybridizers, and these qualities have been replaced by inferior genes that make it difficult to buy a good flavorful peach at the store. The alternative to this problem is to grown your own backyard garden peaches concentrating on planting and growing old cultivars of the non-commercial home garden types.

Peach trees in the USA have steadily declined in their vigor over the past 300 years, to the point that their life expectancy is only 15 - 20 years or less. This factor has been explained by some fruit tree observers as due to an array of incremental factors, such as disease and insect weakening of the tree and leaves, nematodes, and improper soils and drainage; however, these problems pre-existed in the environment, when peach trees were introduced into America. The likely explanation of peach tree decline is more probably connected to the weak gene immunity that has appeared in peach tree hybridization focused toward commercial tree production that ends with an early, firm peach, clingstone, with shipping advantages to distant markets.

Dwarf trees are very popular for use in the home gardens. They take less room and are adapted to container growing. Dwarf trees produce fruit of the same size, color and quality as larger standard tree. Dwarf trees are developed through the use of dwarfing rootstocks or genetic manipulation. Genetic dwarfs usually have very short internodes and dense foliage but have to be pruned, fertilized and cared for in the same manner as a standard size tree.

Genetic dwarf fruit trees are compact and short; few exceed 7 feet in height, with an equal spread. You can fit one neatly into the smallest garden, or plant four in the same space it takes to grow one standard tree. They bear normal-size fruit, with most producing about a fifth as much as a regular fruit tree.

Genetic dwarfs, on the other hand, are created by propagating a naturally very compact variety on a standard-size rootstock. In general, genetic dwarfs look almost muscular, with closely spaced leaves and growth buds.

General care. Because genetic dwarf fruit trees are so small, they are easy to care for. They need very little pruning other than shaping and removing criss-crossing branches and suckers. Opening up the center of the tree increases air circulation and helps prevent some insects and diseases. Controlling pests is simplified because there's no need for a powerful sprayer.

For home gardeners, semi - dwarf 9.8 feet to 13 feet tall and dwarf 6 feet 7 inch to 9 feet 10 inch varieties have been developed by grafting desirable cultivars onto dwarfing rootstock. Fruit size is not affected. Another mutation is flowering peaches, selected for ornamental display rather than fruit production.

Depending on climate and cultivar, peach harvest can occur from late May into August (Northern Hemisphere); harvest from each tree lasts about a week.

Fruit thinning. This aspect of growing the trees needs special attention. Like the leaves, the flowers and fruit of genetic dwarfs are very closely spaced. If the fruit are not thinned when they reach about thumbnail size, you'll end up with a lot of very small, poor-quality fruit.

Leave 5 to 6 inches between fruit on apricots, peaches, and nectarines.

Peach trees may be planted in various semi-dwarf sizes and ages for backyard fruit gardens and occasionally larger trees will grow fruit the first year of planting, but small trees usually begin bearing in the third year.

There are four main advantages to growing dwarf trees and they are:
1. Fruit much sooner after planting.
2. Bear less fruit per tree. Allows for planting more varieties without producing a large quantity of a particular variety.
3. Can reach all parts of tree from ground without using a ladder.
4. Trees are easier to train and prune on an annual basis.

NOTE: One problem encountered when growing peaches is that the tree may not set fruit after blooming. The first thought that comes to mind is that the tree was not pollinated. But, when a young peach tree blooms and does not set fruit, it is usually is not due to lack of pollination, since peaches have perfect flowers, and will set fruit as singletons. It is due to the fact that the blossoms were frozen by an early frost.

Therefore, if you are planting peaches in an area where it can have an early frost or freeze; what you are looking for in a cold climate peach is what we call, bud hardiness.

Bud Hardiness refers to the temperature at which fruit buds are injured. Peaches are not as tollerant as other fruits, so they are more likely not to produce fruit due to an early freeze.

The temperature at which fruit buds are injured depends primarily on their stage of development. They are most hardy during the winter when they are fully dormant. As they begin to swell and expand into blossoms, they become less resistant to freeze injury.

Not all blossom buds are equally tender. Resistance to freeze injury varies within trees as it does between orchards, varieties,and crops. Buds which develop slowly tend to be more resistant. As a result, some buds are usually killed at higher temperatures while others are resistant at much lower temperatures.

So, when you are selecting a peach tree to plant in your growing area, you must consider the trees bud hardiness when making your selection. Most nurseries can give you that information.

Fortunately, in Arizona we don't have too much of that problem!

But, what seems to be contradictory to the idea of bud hardiness is that peach trees require a certain number of chilling hours in order to break dormancy properly and to set a good crop of fruit.

During a winter season most states in the USA will experience at least 500 chill hours in the winter; however, in many states, like central and southern Florida, and Arizona, the trees will not fruit properly unless cultivars are planted to fulfill low chilling requirements.

Peaches have an outer skin that is reddish-yellow in color, while the flesh is either white or yellow. Peaches that have a white flesh are usually very sweet and have very little acidity. However, the yellow-fleshed ones typically have an acidic tang, coupled with sweetness.

Nutritional Value of Peaches
Given below is the amount of nutrients present in 100 gm of peaches: 
  • Vitamin A - 880 IU
  • Vitamin B - 02 mg
  • Riboflavin - 0.05 mg
  • Niacin - 0.9 mg
  • Vitamin C - 8 mg
  • Calcium - 8 mg
  • Iron - 0.6 mg
  • Phosphorus - 22 mg
  • Potassium - 310 mg
  • Fats - 0.1 gm
  • Carbohydrates - 12 gm
  • Protein - 0.5 gm
  • Dietary Fiber - 0.6 gm
  • Sugars - 9 gm
  • Calories - 46 

Peaches contain several antioxidants that are important health considerations in maintaining healthy bodies.

As you can see; peach fruit has been demonstrated to contain healthy portions of Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, and Niacin. Peaches also contain the minerals Calcium, Phosphorus, Iron, and Potassium.


Here Are Our Descriptions Of Some Of The More Popular Peaches Sold In The USA:
Click On The Peaches Name (Blue Color) & You Can See Photos Of The Peaches and/or Shop Nature Hills Nursery.

No Obligation To Buy!

When You Click, You Will Go To Nature Hills Main Page. Then, Click On Peaches In The Left Column, To See Their Peach Tree Selections.

We Have Purchased Plants From Nature Hills Nursery & Are Pleased With Their Service, Quality, & Price! - They Guarantee Their Trees & Accept Returns!!

The Belle of Georgia Peach Tree, Prunus persica: Root Stock, Lovell, Standard: 18 - 25 feet high, has large, firm, highly flavored fruit with a brilliant red flowering. The beautiful springtime blossoms and attractive leaves makes it a valuable landscaping trees as well as a delicious eating peach. Its large, rosy-red peaches hold sweet, succulent white freestone flesh that's perfect for eating right off the tree, baking in pies, and canning for winter enjoyment.

A fast grower, Belle of Georgia will reach a mature height and width of 12 to 14 feet. For best fruiting, provide a well-drained soil in full sun. Does Best in Zones: 5 - 8.


The Cresthaven Peach Tree, Prunus persica: Root Stock, Dwarf: Citation, Dwarf: 8 - 14 feet high, has a very firm, highly colored red fruit. The Cresthaven peach is yellow fleshed and shows considerable red around the pit. The clear, firm flesh is resistant to browning and the skin is smooth but tough.

This tree is very productive and is also a freestone. Does Best in Zones: 5 - 9.


The Donut™ Peach or Stark Saturn Peach Tree, Prunus persica: Root Stock, Lovell, Standard: 15 - 20 feet high, has a Sweet, juicy, white, mild distinct flavor, with clingstone flesh. Donut™ Peach or Stark Saturn (Also known as Peento, Saucer, Peentau, or Doughnut) has a doughnut-shaped "flat" fruit with a sunken center and plump outer edge. Its clingstone flesh has overtones of almond and honey.

TThe Donut™ Peach is reliable and known for its dependable yields. It is a winter-hardy tree that bears heavy crops of fruit that measures 2 1/4 to 2 3/4 inches in diameter. It is self-fruitful and ripens in late June or early July in central California, and in some climates, it ripens in August. It requires an estimated 400-500 hours of chilling. Does Best in Zones: 5 - 8.


The Elberta Peach Tree, Prunus persica 'Elberta': Root Stock, Lovell, Standard: 15 - 25 feet high, has very large fruit. It is the best known yellow canning peach. The skin is red blushed over a deep golden yellow color. This is a high quality eating and canning peach.

In the spring, its rose-red blossoms will fill the air with fragrance. The Elberta on Lovell rootstock can be kept to any height by summer pruning. Does Best in Zones: 5 - 9.


The Frost Peach Tree, Prunus persica 'Frost': Root Stock, Lovell, Standard: 15 - 25 feet high, is a freestone with light red blush over greenish yellow. Frost is delicious, excellent for eating fresh or canning.

Frost has a showy pink spring bloom and is heavy bearing. These peach blossoms appear late winter and early spring along grey branches, before its leaves emerge. It is an extremely vigorous tree and requires fertile, well drained soils. At 3 or 4 years of age it begins to bear large crops and reach peak productivity at 8 to 12 years. Frost Peaches need clear, hot weather during their growing season, and they require well-drained soil, as well as a regular fertilizing program. They also require heavier pruning than any other fruit trees to maintain size and encourage new growth. 'Frost' is very cold-hardy and could be grown to Zone 5. Does Best in Zones: 5 - 9.


The Garden Gold Peach Tree, Prunus persica 'garden gold': Root Stock, Dwarf: Lovell, Dwarf: 5 - 6 feet high, Soft, melting, freestone flesh, and good flavor. Garden Gold Peach has fist-sized yellow fruit with a slight red blush.

This genetic dwarf tree is more vigorous than other miniatures. It blooms a week later too, so it is less susceptible to frost damage. Garden Gold is self-fruitful and bears up to half a bushel of fruit each year. It is well adapted to poor soils and ripens in August, 14 days after Elberta. It requires 600 hours of chilling. Developed by Floyd Zaiger. Does Best in Zones: 6 - 9.


The Golden Jubilee Peach Tree, Prunus persica: Root Stock, Dwarf: Citation, Dwarf: 8 - 14 feet high, is probably the best early freestone peach and it produces a flesh that is tender, fine grained, juicy, and has excellent quality. The fruit is medium to large and oblong in shape. It is an attractive yellow skin peach for home use and canning.

Golden Jubilee is known for its ability to survive cold winters. Golden Jubilee needs clear, hot weather during its growing season and requires well-drained soil as well as a regular fertilizing program. It also requires heavier pruning than any other fruit trees to maintain size and encourage new growth. Does Best in Zones: 5 - 8.


The Hale-Haven Peach Tree, Prunus persica: Root Stock, Lovell, Standard: 15 - 25 feet high, is a high quality peach that has a deep orange color all over with deep blushes of carmine. The brilliant color of the fruit appears several days before the fruit ripens. The pulp of the Hale Haven peach is firm, juicy, very sweet and richly flavored, being fully ripe in August. The Hale-Haven peach is a freestone peach has an excellent flavor so it is good for desserts, canning and freezing.

The Peach, Hale-Haven, Prunus persica, Easy to grow, it needs clear, hot weather during the growing season and requires well-drained soil as well as a regular fertilizing program. Does Best in Zones: 5 - 8.


The Harken Peach Tree, Prunus persica 'Harken': Root Stock, Lovell, Standard: 15 - 25 feet high, is a very sweet freestone peache it and bears a regular crop of large peaches. For canning, pick it's fruit before it is table ripe. It is considered one of the very best tasting peaches!

It is hardy and widely adaptable. The peach tree is admired as much for its beauty and fragrant blossoms as it is for its fruit. The peach blossoms appear in late winter and early spring along grey branches, before it's leaves emerge. It is an extremely vigorous tree and requires fertile, well drained soils. Harken ripens in early August. At 3 or 4 years of age it begins to bear large crops and reach peak productivity at 8 to 12 years. Peaches need clear, hot weather during their growing season and require well-drained soil as well as a regular fertilizing program. They also require heavier pruning than any other fruit trees to maintain size and encourage new growth. Does Best in Zones: 5 - 9.


The Honey Babe Peach Tree, Prunus persica 'honey babe': Root Stock, Lovell, Standard: 8 feet high, is a large peach with a deep red over yellow skin. Its flesh is orange, speckled with red, and has a superb flavor. Honey Babe is excellent for fresh eating.

This genetic dwarf tree grows very slowly into a wide, ornamental bush. It displays showy, pink blossoms and bears when young, usually the same year it is planted. It ripens in mid July. Light pruning during the summer and winter is required for best quality.

Honey Babe is self-fertile, but has better yields if pollinated with Nectar Babe. It requires 500-600 chilling hours and was developed by Floyd Zaiger. Does Best in Zones: 6 - 8.


The Loring Peach Tree, Prunus persica 'Loring': Root Stock, Lovell, Standard: 15 - 25 feet high, is a very attractive, large yellow peach with a hint on red blush. It has very firm, melting yellow flesh with excellent flavor. It is freestone and ripens in mid-season about midway between Redhaven and Elberta. It has gained a good reputation as one of the better eating peaches.

The peach tree is admired as much for its beauty and fragrant blossoms as it is for its fruit. The peach blossoms appear late winter and early spring along grey branches, before leaves emerge. It is an extremely vigorous tree and requires fertile, well drained soils. At 3 or 4 years of age it begins to bear large crops and reach peak productivity at 8 to 12 years. Peaches need clear, hot weather during their growing season and require well-drained soil as well as a regular fertilizing program. This superb, taste test winner; requires little or no thinning; excellent for the home orchard. Does Best in Zones: 5 - 8.


The O'Henry Peach Tree, Prunus persica 'O'Henry': Root Stock, Lovell, Standard: 15 - 20 feet high, is white-fleshed, semi-freestone fruit is sweet and juicy like Babcock, with a more sprightly flavor. It is a popular fresh market variety that is now available for home planting.

The peach tree is admired as much for its beauty and fragrant blossoms as it is for its fruit. The peach blossoms appear late winter and early spring along grey branches, before leaves emerge. It is an extremely vigorous tree and requires fertile, well drained soils. At 3 or 4 years of age it begins to bear large crops and reach peak productivity at 8 to 12 years. Peaches need clear, hot weather during their growing season and require well-drained soil as well as a regular fertilizing program. This superb, taste test winner; requires little or no thinning; excellent for the home orchard. The O'Henry Peach is a strong, vigorous, heavy bearing, and self-fruitful tree. It ripens from early to mid-August in central California. It is a peach leaf curl-resistant variety, tested at the WSU research station at Mt. Vernon, Washington. O'Henry is a peach that freezes well and requires 750 hours of chilling. Does Best in Zones: 5 - 9.


The Polly White Peach Tree, Prunus persica 'O'Henry': Root Stock, Lovell, Standard: 15 - 20 feet high, is sweet, medium-sized and white fleshed. It sports a crimson-blushed white skin.

The Polly peach also know as the Polly White peach is one of the most winter hardy peach varieties. The tree was developed in Iowa and is hardy to –20 degrees Fahrenheit. Does Best in Zones: 5 - 9.


The Redhaven Peach Tree, Prunus persica 'Red Haven': Root Stock, Lovell, Standard: 15 - 20 feet high, big, luscious peaches that have an almost fuzzless skin over firm, creamy yellow flesh. Fruit is medium to large size and it is just right for fresh snacks, canning or freezing.

Its a heavy-bearing, cold-hardy, and resists leaf spot, and the fruit is spectacular. Does Best in Zones: 5 - 9.


The Reliance Peach Tree, Prunus persica 'Reliance': Root Stock, Lovell, Standard: 15 - 25 feet high, has medium-to-large, yellow-fleshed freestone fruit with a sweet, mild flavor, and with dark red skin.

The Reliance Peach is the most cold-hardy peach tree you can get. It has beautiful pink flowers in early spring. Strongly recommend it for most areas from Zone 4 down through Zone 8. Does Best in Zones: 4 - 8.


The Suncrest Peach Tree, Prunus persica 'suncrest': Root Stock, Lovell, Standard: 15 - 20 feet high, has large, very firm, fine-flavored, with yellow freestone. The Suncrest Peach has a bright red skin over yellow. The red skin is about 80% red with the yellow background. The flesh is yellow and exceptionally firm with good texture and flavor.

The Suncrest Peach originated in Fresno, California and was introduced in 1959. It is ready to harvest at the end of July in central California and requires 700 hours of chilling. The tree is vigorous, self-fruitful, and a consistent producer. Its blossoms are frost hardy, and it has a hardiness record that was tested in the Eastern part of the USA. Does Best in Zones: 5 - 8.


The White Lady Peach Tree, Prunus persica: Root Stock, Lovell, Standard: 15 - 25 feet high, his among the best of the new low acid, high sugar, fresh market white peaches. The red-skinned fruits are medium to large ( 2.5 to 3.0 inches), very firm, and is a freestone. Eighty to 95% of the fruit surface is covered with a dark pinkish red over a cream background.

The White Lady does not need a pollinator to produce fruit. Does Best in Zones: 5 - 9.


Planting Peach Trees In Arizona:


Decide on the site for your tree/s some months in advance of planting.

NOTE: Almost of the peach trees sold are grafted. Therefore there will be a bud union on every tree. The bud union is the location where the scion meets the rootstock. The bud union should not be buried in the ground when planting. ALWAYS keep the bud union about 2 inches above the ground when planting.

1. Decide on which tree to plant. Fruit trees that thrive in Arizona include the apple, cherry, apricot, fig, nectarine, peach, pear, Asian pear, persimmon, Asian plum and Japanese plum. Although there are general guidelines that apply to any fruit tree growing in Arizona, you should also learn the specific requirements of the tree you plant.

2. Choose a nursery tree. The University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences recommends you buy a year-old tree with a trunk that's ½ to ¾ inches in diameter. Select a fruit tree without broken branches or other signs of injury. If you can, check the roots while still in the nursery or soon after you take the tree home. Save the receipt in case you have to exchange it. Roots with soft spots, bugs, mildew and other irregularities are diseased and can't support a tree's development. In the arid Arizona climate, roots should also be irrigated frequently. At the nursery, touch the soil to verify it's moist. If the tree is bare-root, check that the root ball is in a moist medium.

3. Find a sunny planting site with well-drained soil. Test drainage by digging a hole as deep and wide as the tree's root ball. Then, put 5 gallons of water in it. One hour later, fill the hole with water again. If the soil has absorbed the 10 gallons of water within 24 hours, your soil drains well. Let most of the moisture evaporate before you plant your fruit tree.

4. Schedule the planting. In Arizona, plant bare-root fruit trees in February or March. Transplant container trees in September or October. Most fruit trees for sale have bare roots. Keep store-bought trees in the shade and their soil moist until you're ready to plant them.

5, Enlarge the planting hole you made in Step 3 to five times the width of the root ball, but keep it at the same depth. On the bottom, pile soil in the center to form a small mound in the hole.

6. Loosen and cut broken or discolored roots. Trim longer roots to the same size as the others.

7. Put the tree in the hole with the center of the root ball on the mound. Spread the roots down and around it. Backfill the hole with the topsoil you dug out.

8. Water the soil thoroughly and add a 4-inch layer of mulch around the base of the tree. Continue to water every two days during the growing season, giving your tree about 5 gallons of water a week. The University of Arizona Extension Service also recommends you paint the tree trunk with white latex paint to protect it from sunburn.

9. Prune your fruit tree right after you plant it. Cut the top 1/3 and train it into the shape best for the type of tree you have. For example, use the central leader method for apples and pears, and open center if you have peaches and nectarines. Your nursery or extension office offers advice on the right training method for your fruit tree.

10. Fertilize the soil when new growth begins after planting and in the beginning of every growing season, February to March in Arizona. The type and amount of fertilizer depends on the tree you have, but all fruit trees need nitrogen. In addition, spray a formula of chelated zinc and iron on the leaves.

11. Control pests and treat disease. In Arizona, the codling moth and peach tree borers are among about a dozen common insects that attack fruit trees. Diseases include fireblight, brown and crown rot, and powdery mildew. If something is affecting your tree's appearance and development, get help from your local extension office in identifying the problem and treating it.

12. Thin the fruit to keep branches from breaking under heavy weight and to improve fruit quality. Depending on the tree, you'll either prune the flowers as they bloom or the fruit as they mature, spacing them about 6 inches apart.


Pruning Peach Trees In Arizona:


General Pruning Rules:

1. The best time to prune is during the dormant season.
When there are no leaves on the tree and you can easily see it's structure.

2. Prune at least once a year.
Start as soon as you transplant the tree.

3. There are three stages of pruning during the life of a fruit tree.
These three stages are: 1) When transplanting the tree; 2) Training the trees shape that it will have when it matures; and 3) The mature tree pruning.

Each kind of fruit tree has two special factors and characteristics to consider in order to correctly prune the tree. These must be considered during each of the three stages of pruning during the lifetime of a fruit tree.

These two special factors and characteristics are:
A. The desired shape for the tree.
B. The fruiting habit of the tree.

The desired shape for the tree fits into two basic categories or training methods.
a. Open or Vase Shape.
b. Central or Modified Leader.


Open or Vase Shape:
Open or Vase Shape Trees: Open or Vase Shape Trees: Peach and nectarine trees are usually trained to the open-center system. Newly planted trees should be headed to about 30 inches in height, just above a lateral branch or bud. If the tree is branched when it comes from the nursery, select 3 to 5 laterals, 4 being ideal, well-spaced up and around the trunk, for the permanent scaffold limbs. The lowest limb should be about 15 inches and the highest about 30 inches from the ground. Cut these back to two buds each, and remove all other laterals. A shoot should not be allowed to grow into the center of the tree. If no desirable laterals are available, head the tree to the desired height and cut out all side branches to one bud. A number of shoots will develop during the season, from which you can select scaffold limbs. Selection can be made during the summer or delayed until just before growth begins the second season.

Once the scaffold system of the young peach tree is established, prune as little as possible until the tree begins to bear. Remove all strong, upright shoots growing in the center of the tree, and lightly head back terminal growth on the scaffold limbs to outward-growing laterals. This aids in the development of an open-center tree.

As fruit is borne on wood of the previous year’s growth, it is necessary that the peach be pruned annually to stimulate new growth and maintain production near the main body of the tree. Pruning of the mature peach tree consists mainly of moderate thinning and heading back to outward-growing laterals to keep the tree low and spreading. A height of 8 or 9 feet is usually preferred.

There are many sources of information about trimming to the Central or Modified Leader System. We often refer to Fruit Tree Pruning written by Tom Del Hotal, a nurseryman for 35 years in San Diego, California. If you live in the San Diego area, we recommend using his services.



Central or Modified Leader:
Central Leader Trees: Central Leader Trees: The normal growth habit of some kinds of fruit allow easier training to the "Central or Modified Leader System". Also a tree trained to a central leader will take less space. Fruit trees are much easier to prune if they have been properly trained and pruned annually. However, all fruit trees can be trained to an open center with the use of judicious pruning.

To begin the "Central or Modified Leader System". You must start the training process immediately after planting the tree.

If the new tree is an unbranched whip, cut it back to about 30 inches above the ground. This will remove about 1/3 to 1/2 of the tree depending on it's size.

If the new tree has branches, select up to four that form wide angles (about 45 degrees or larger) with the trunk. Cut off branches so that you have remaining branches about 4 - 6 inches apart on the trunk in a spiral arrangement.

Then prune these that you saved in the spiral arrangement back to about 1/4 of their length and then prune the top branch that goes up to about 12 inches above the top spiral branch for development into a central or modified leader.

If you have chosen to trim to an open or vase shape prune off the top branch going straight up just above the top spiral branch.

Note: Peach Trees should not be trimmed to the Central or Modified Leader. They should be trimmed to the Open or Vase Shape.

There are many sources of information about trimming to the Central or Modified Leader System. We often refer to Fruit Tree Pruning written by Tom Del Hotal, a nurseryman for 35 years in San Diego, California. If you live in the San Diego area, we recommend using his services.



Central or Modified Leader:
Central Leader Trees: Central Leader Trees:



Here are some other images of what the "Central or Modified Leader System" should look like.



When dormant pruning mature trees follow these general principles:

• Remove any dead or diseased wood.

• Remove broken limbs -- cut back to where the limb originally began it's growth.

• No two limbs should touch one another. One must be removed.

• All watersprouts should be removed. These are the upright shoots that are growing straight up from the older limbs. They should be removed in the summer whenever possible.

• For central leader trees; remove the strongest growing limbs and leave the weaker ones. This evens out the growth and leaves the more productive buds on the tree.

• Remove any parallel limbs. These are two limbs lined up with each other in the same plane. The upper limb is shading the lower limb. Leave the limb in the best position.

• Prune annually.

• For an open center (vase) trained tree, leave some of the strong one year old wood on the outer edges of the canopy for future small shoot development. Always clean watersprouts out of the center.

• Remove any root suckers, those that are grow out from the rootstock. They may be growing up through the soil from the tree roots. Prune them out any time you see them. They will weaken the tree!

• Whenever you are pruning large, overgrown, neglected trees; NEVER remove more than 1/3 of the total tree branches in one year.

• If you are using a modified central leader system on a tree; trim the central leader back to a side shoot just below where the leader arises from. This is done annually to reduce the vigor or upward growth of the tree.


Proper training and pruning of fruit trees is essential to the development of a strong tree framework that will support fruit production. Properly shaped trees will yield high-quality fruit much sooner and will live significantly longer. Regular pruning and training will also maximize light penetration to the developing flower buds and fruit. Additionally, a well-shaped tree canopy permits adequate air movement through the tree, which promotes rapid drying to minimize pest problems.


Peach Tree Pruning Special Rules:


Peach and nectarine trees are usually trained to the open-center system. Newly planted trees should be headed to about 30 inches in height, just above a lateral branch or bud. If the tree is branched when it comes from the nursery, select 3 to 5 laterals, 4 being ideal, well-spaced up and around the trunk, for the permanent scaffold limbs. The lowest limb should be about 15 inches and the highest about 30 inches from the ground. Cut these back to two buds each, and remove all other laterals. A shoot should not be allowed to grow into the center of the tree. If no desirable laterals are available, head the tree to the desired height and cut out all side branches to one bud. A number of shoots will develop during the season, from which you can select scaffold limbs. Selection can be made during the summer or delayed until just before growth begins the second season.

Once the scaffold system of the young peach tree is established, prune as little as possible until the tree begins to bear. Remove all strong, upright shoots growing in the center of the tree, and lightly head back terminal growth on the scaffold limbs to outward-growing laterals. This aids in the development of an open-center tree.

Since the tree's fruit is borne on the wood of the previous year’s growth, it is necessary that the peach be pruned annually to stimulate new growth and maintain production near the main body of the tree.

The pruning of the mature peach tree consists mainly of moderate thinning and heading back to the outward-growing laterals, to keep the tree low and spreading. A height of about 8 to 9 feet is usually preferred.

Peach trees are fast growing trees and they should only be pruned during the winter. Peach fruits emerge on the new growth of the tree, so if the tree is not pruned the peaches will emerge further away from the trunk every year, eventually putting heavy strain on branches, potentially breaking them.

Also, a peach tree can become very large, so pruning will keep it at a manageable size. On mature trees, it is recommended to remove 2/3 of new growth every winter from the previous summer. This can be done by a combination of heading back branches and removing branches.

NOTE: Always remove any ot the branches growing from below the graft point or from the roots because these branches are coming from the rootstock and will never produce good fruit and they will ruin your tree.


Summary Of Pruning & Trimming Notes or Pruning & Trimming 101:


Newly Planted Trees Only:
After early winter planting, wait until just before the buds start to grow in the spring to "head", or to cut your fruit tree.

Cut the top of the unbranched central leader to 36 inches above the soil surface to encourage new lateral branching.

When some time goes on and the new growth is 3 to 4 inches long, identify the most upright shoot that will continue to be the central leader. Leave it and remove all new shoots growing 3 to 4 inches immediately below this new terminal to prevent competition. This will also encourage lateral growth in the area 6 to 14 inches below the cut tip of the young tree.

The branches that form about 6 to 14 inches below the cut tip of the tree are less vigorous, less upright, and easier to train as productive scaffold limbs. When the lateral branches, or scaffold branches, are about 3 to 6 inches long, they should be spread to a wider crotch angle that will provide a stronger framework for fruit production. Toothpicks or clothespins can be used to prop the young branches out to a 50 to 60 degree angle. This angle will slow vegetative growth, promote lateral branches, and allow the tree to initiate flowers and produce fruit sooner.

Central Leader Trees Only:
The central leader tree has one main, upright trunk, called the "leader". Branching should begin on the leader 24 to 36 inches above the soil surface to allow work under the tree.

During the first year, 3 to 4 branches, collectively called a "scaffold whorl", are selected. The selected branches should be spaced uniformly around the trunk, NOT directly across from or above one another. The major lateral branches are commonly referred to as scaffold branches on which the central leader tree is "built".

Above the first scaffold whorl should be an area of 18 to 24 inches, called a "light sot", without any branches at all. This allows light to reach all lower leaves and fruit. This light slot is followed by another whorl of scaffolds. Maintain alternating scaffold whorls and light slots up the leader to the desired maximum tree height. The shape of a properly trained central leader tree is like that of a Christmas tree (except with the slots for light to get into the center of the tree).


Scaffold Training Trees Only:
Improperly trained fruit trees will develop very upright branch angles if left to grow without any training. This resulst in excessive vigor and serious limb breakage under a heavy fruit load. Larger branches can be spread out using short wooden boards with a notch cut in each end for the branch to fit into. You can hang weights, such as rocks on the branch or tie it down with a string wrapped loosely around the limb, as well as other methods for spreading the branches. All upright growth from scaffold branches should be either pulled down to a horizontal position or removed when it is about 3 to 4 inches long.


Dormant Pruning vs. Summer Pruning:
Pruning the tree during the winter, while it is dormant, will invigorate the tree and cause it to grow and branch more the following season. To promote scaffold branch development, cut the central leader 20 to 28 inches above the highest usable scaffold whorl during the dormant season. It is best to do dormant pruning in late winter or early spring, after the risk of severe freeze is over. Be sure to remove any dead or diseased wood and dried apples at this time as well. After the tree resumes growth in the spring, continue to train the scaffold branches of the tree as you did the previous growing season. Select a new upright shoot to continue the central leader, and remove all new shoots 4 inches below it. Also select the branches to form another whorl of 4 to 5 scaffold branches. Prop all lateral branches out to a 50 to 60 degree angle.

Summer pruning will devigorate the tree and cause it to grow less in that growing season. Remove all undesirable branches directly across from one another on the central leader when they are 3 to 4 inches long. Also, select lateral branches that are spaced uniformly around the leader to prevent crowding as the limbs grow in diameter. Once the tree has filled its allotted space, lateral branches will need to be cut back to their desired length during the summer to devigorate the tree and prevent further growth, not during the dormant season. You can always ask your County Extension Center for information on the best way to prune your apple tree.

An excellent document that explains the Training and Pruning Of Fruit Trees, is from North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service. North Carolina State University. Click Here For "Training and Pruning Fruit Trees".


Fruit Thinning In General:


Allowing the tree to bear too much fruit can be stressful for the tree. Fruit thinning promotes good winter hardiness which is good for all fruit trees and it is particularly beneficial for peach trees. Reducing the number of fruit on a tree will enable the remaining fruit to grow to a larger size and to ripen more quickly. Thinning also prevents limb breakage that occurs with a heavy load of fruit. To counteract over production of fruit, thinning in early summer is commonly done to remove the excess fruit. Apple, pear, peach and plum benefit from fruit thinning.

The optimum time for fruit thinning is late in spring or early in summer. The sooner thinning is completed, the more it benefits the tree. Fruit thinning is best done by hand when the fruit are half an inch to an inch in diameter, or when they are about the size of a dime.

The amount of fruit to remove depends on the number of fruit on the tree. Remove enough fruit so that there is no more than one fruit per cluster for every 8 inches of shoot length on pears, apples and peach trees. On a plum tree, fruit can be spaced 4 inches apart. Pears and apples bear fruit in clusters. Removing fruit so that only one fruit per cluster remains is a common practice.

To ensure good fruit size, return bloom for the following year, and to prevent tree breakage, it is necessary to thin the fruit.

When you finish thinning, it may seem like very few fruit remain, but you will harvest higher-quality fruit, potentially reduce insect and disease problems, and increase the chances for a full crop the next season. Since you get larger fruit, your number of bushels from each tree will be about the same or sometimes more.


Now The Fun Part! How To Actually Harvest Your Peaches:

The harvesting and storage process for peaches (unlike many other fruit) requires little more effort than simply some time, and crates to put the peaches in. But, there is some good news! While there are many varieties of peaches, the harvesting process is the same for all of them.

Step 1.
Watch for the peaches on the peach tree to turn from green to an orange tint, other varieties become redder, or a combination of orange and red. Green peaches are not ripe.

Step 2.
Pick the peaches from the tree by hand. One of the main indicators of when peaches are ready to be picked is how tight the stem is attached to the tree. When the fruit is easily pulled off the twigs then it is probably ripe. Peaches will not ripen any further though they may get softer. Gently twist them off the branch at the stem. Hand picking always allows you to feel the firmness of the fruit. You should feel a certain amount of movement when you press in to the flesh of the peach with your fingers. It is at this stage that they are the best for eating, canning, etc.

Step 3.
Smell the peaches. Ripe peaches will give off a pleasant, peachy smell and green ones will not have much of an odor.

Step 4.
Use a ladder, securely placed near the tree, for reaching peaches that are too high for you to reach from the ground.

Step 5.
Gently place the peaches in a bin or crate. Do not drop them in as it could damage or bruise the fruit.

Step 6.
Place the peaches immediately in cold storage, at a preferred temperature of 32 degrees. Research shows that higher or lower temperatures damage the fruit. Cold storage will extend the storage life of the peach by reducing its core temperature. However, it is not recommended to store beyond 14 days.


An excellent document that explains the Harvesting and Handling of Peaches, is from University of Georgia & Clemson University. Click Here For: "Harvesting and Handling Peaches.".


Peach Tree Pests:

In general there are many various pest organisms, primarily arthropods (insects and mites), diseases, weeds, and mammals that are associated with fruit production and they cause significant economic losses to commercial fruit growers. The focus of this guide is on arthropod pests and diseases of the peach.

Insect pests found in fruit orchards can be classified into two groups depending upon which plant part is attacked. Direct pests are those insects that feed upon fruits, while indirect pests are those that attack the leaves, trunk, and other parts of the tree.

Examples of direct pests of fruit are apple maggot, plum curculio, codling moth, and other internal fruit feeders.

Pests like spotted tentiform leafminer, aphids, and mites may affect fruit yield if they are present in large numbers, but since they do not directly injure the fruits, they are indirect pests.

Now, just when you think you have that idea in mind, there is another way to look at insect pests. That other idea is that insect pests can also be classified in terms of the seriousness of their infestation and effect on orchard economics.

Under that method there are three groups of pests - Major Pests are those that have the potential to cause major economic losses to the grower. Usually, most direct pests that feed on fruit are also considered major pests. For example, apple maggot, plum curculio, and codling moth constitute the major pests of apples in the upper Midwest, USA.

Indirect Pests usually do not feed on the fruit, and although their activities may limit fruit yield they are only considered minor pests.

A third category of pest insects are the Quarantine Pests . Quarantine pests are insects not known to be established in a given area. The flat scarlet mite and apple ermine moth are current examples of quarantine pests in the State of Minnesota.

It is very difficult to grow peaches or nectarines in the home garden without an effective pest control program. Common insects and mites affecting peaches and nectarines include tarnished plant bug, stink bug, oriental fruit moth, plum curculio, peach tree borers, Japanese beetle, green June beetle and European red mite.

There are many sources of information about fruit pests and diseases. We often refer to GreenShare Factsheets from the Cooperative Extension Education Center, College of the Environment and Life Sciences University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island on these specific pests and diseases for more information and control recommendations.

For Arizona fruit tree pests, we refer to Click Here For: "Common Fruit Tree Pests". from the Cooperative Extension, The University of Arizona, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences. For information about specific fruit tree pests in Arizona.


Peach Tree Diseases:

Many diseases of apple are not restricted to one part of the tree. For example, apple scab attacks the fruit, leaves, and flowers. Powdery mildew can also infect many parts of the tree. Fire blight is a tree disease infecting leaves, shoots, limbs, and trunk, but it can infect fruit and root stock. The fungal disease complex known as sooty blotch and flyspeck is, however, restricted to the fruit.

Common peach and nectarine diseases are peach leaf curl, brown rot, scab, bacterial spot and powdery mildew.

There are many sources of information about fruit pests and diseases. We often refer to GreenShare Factsheets from the Cooperative Extension Education Center, College of the Environment and Life Sciences University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island on these specific pests and diseases for more information and control recommendations.


Beneficial Insects:

Not all insects found in an apple orchard are pests. Many organisms benefit the grower by eating or parasitizing pests in the orchard. These organisms are known as beneficials, natural enemies, or biological control agents. They may be native or introduced from other areas.

Beneficial natural enemies (insects and mites) that may occur in an apple orchard could be classified as predators or parasitoids. Predators are those that attack, kill, and feed directly on a pest (prey). Examples of common orchard predators are ladybeetles, flies, lacewings, wasps, bugs, ants, spiders, and predator mites. Parasitoids are insects that lay eggs on or in a pest (host). The developing larva lives and feeds on the host, parasitizing and eventually killing it. Examples include parasitic wasps such as the egg parasite, Trichogramma sp.

Bees are a different class of beneficial insects in the orchard in that they benefit the grower by aiding pollination.

It is important that growers are able to recognize, identify, and conserve beneficials in their orchard. Conservation of beneficial organisms is a basic tenet of an ecologically sound pest management strategy. Conservation or enhancement of beneficials can be achieved through judicious use of pesticides such as spraying only when and where needed, accurate timing of sprays, and selecting pesticides that are least toxic to beneficials.

For Example: Many growers now place colonies of the Blue Orchard Mason bees in their orchards to pollinate their crops for maximum production.


Peach Trees - Quick General Information:


Type: Fruit. Technically, a Drupe.
Zones: USDA 4 - 9.
Height: About 13 - 33 feet.
Spread: About 15 - 20 feet wide.
Flowers: Solitary or paired, 2.5–3 cm diameter, pink, with five petals.
Blooming Time: Spring.
Fruit: Large, golden yellow skin, brownish red blush, classic shape with smooth, white or yellow flesh. Harvest fro mid-August to mid-September.
Seed: Brown, oval shaped, approximately 1.3–2 cm long, and is surrounded by a wood-like husk.
Leaves: Blue-green to green in color, lanceolate, 2.8 – 6.3 inches long, 0.79 – 1.2 inches wide, pinnately veined.
Elevation: 0 - 5,000 feet.
Light: Full Sun.
Habitat: Mulched areas. Well-drained soil with a 6.5 pH. According to Clemson University.
Native: Western Asia, where its wild ancestor, the Alma, is still found today.
Miscellaneous: Flowering Photos Taken; April 6, 2003. In Glendale, Arizona. Bud Hardy Temp: -15°F°.

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