Peaches are one of our favourite summer fruits - juicy, fun and incredibly tasty. They are a joy to harvest right from your own tree! Peaches typically ripen in late summer, after cherries but before plums, pears and apples. They can grow quite well in areas of the Pacific Northwest that have mild winters and hot, low humidity summers.
Nectarines are similar to Peaches in many ways although they do not have the soft, fuzzy skin. Nectarine skin tends to be smooth and glossy.
While there are many varieties of Peaches and Nectarines, we generally recommend one of the following Red Haven, Fairhaven, or Frost for areas of the Pacific Northwest
Exposure / Light
Plant peaches in full sun where they can receive the maximum amount of light and heat. A south facing wall is ideal. Plant in protected areas away from cold winds and frost. Avoid planting in low lying frost pockets.
Soil / Moisture
Peaches prefer well drained sandy loam or silt loam soil. As Peach trees tedn to be smaller than other fruit trees, they are ideal for smaller spaces. Good air circulation is a must.
New plants should be planted with Bonemeal and/or liquid transplant fertilizer. Established plants will benefit from a yearly application of Arts GardenPro Fruit Tree and Berry Food in early spring. Peaches can also become deficient in micro and trace nutrients. Apply Fritted Trace Elements as required.
Peaches are self-fertile and do not require cross-pollination with other varieties. One peach tree will produce fruit on its own.
Like Many other fruit trees, Peaches have a habit of setting more fruit than the tree can properly support. Remove some of these small fruits to prevent branches from breaking under the weight and to improve the size and quality of the remaining fruit. Try and space the fruit so that there is one peach every 6 inches. Thinning keeps the fruit tree vigorous and productive.
Peaches do not mature and ripen all at the same time. In late summer, examine the fruit individually and pick only the ripe ones. You can check ripeness by examining the fruits size, its softness and evaluating its skin colour.
Peach trees should be pruned when they are dormant in late winter and early spring. The best time is after the danger of frosts has passed, but before the tree begins to actively grow. Young Peach trees generally do not require heavy pruning. We recommend a light yearly pruning by removing branches that cross or that are growing into the centre of the tree.
For more mature trees, prune away and thin out a healthy proportion of branches each year (50% +/-). The goal is to keep it at below 14-15ft tall. This is to keep the fruit production lower at a more managable height.
Peach Leaf Curl
Peaches are often afflicted with Peach Leaf Curl. It is a fungus disease that appears in the spring on peach and nectarine if there has been prolonged wet, cool weather just as new growth is developing. Infected leaves become thick, curled and discoloured and eventually drop. Heavy leaf infection and subsequent leaf drop may reduce crop and tree vigour. Only developing leaves are susceptible.
The best ways to manage this annoying problem is a copper spray after harvest in September and a combination Dormant Oil and Lime Sulphur spray in late winter before leaf growth begins.
More information about Peach Leaf Curl can be found at this government website
For More Information
For more information about growing peach trees, visit Arts Nursery or call us at 604.882.1201. We carry several of the best peach varieties for the Pacific Northwest with the best selection in mid to late spring.