PEACH

PEACH

The peach tree (Prunus persica) is a species of Prunus native to China that bears an edible juicy fruit called a peach. It is a deciduous tree growing to 4–10 m (13–33 ft) tall, belonging to the subfamily Prunoideae of the family Rosaceae. It is classified with the almond in the subgenus Amygdalus within the genus Prunus, distinguished from the other subgenera by the corrugated seed shell.

The leaves are lanceolate, 7–16 cm (2.8–6.3 in) long, 2–3 cm (0.79–1.2 in) broad, pinnately veined. The flowers are produced in early spring before the leaves; they are solitary or paired, 2.5–3 cm diameter, pink, with five petals. The fruit has yellow or whitish flesh, a delicate aroma, and a skin that is either velvety (peaches) or smooth (nectarines) in different cultivars. The flesh is very delicate and easily bruised in some cultivars, but is fairly firm in some commercial varieties, especially when green. The single, large seed is red-brown, oval shaped, approximately 1.3–2 cm long, and is surrounded by a wood-like husk. Peaches, along with cherries, plums and apricots, are stone fruits (drupes).

Where You Can Grow A Peach Tree

Before you can consider growing your own peach tree, you have to find out what growing or hardiness zone you live in. Peaches can be grown in zones 5 though 9. If you live in the colder zone 4, you can try growing the Reliance or the Wisconsin Balmer peach varieties. If your winter minimum temperature rarely gets lower than -10 F (-23C) to -20 F (-29C), you are in zone 5.

Site Selection
Choose a site with well-drained, sandy soil. Avoid low-lying areas where frost settles.

Planting Instructions
Plant peaches in the spring, choosing large, vigorous 1-year-old trees. Set bare-root trees atop a small mound of soil in the center of the planting hole, and spread the roots down and away without unduly bending them. Identify original planting depth by finding color change from dark to light as you move down the trunk towards the roots. If the tree is grafted, position the inside of the curve of the graft union away from the afternoon sun. For container-grown trees, remove the plant from its pot and eliminate circling roots by laying the root ball on its side and cutting through the roots with shears. Don't cover the top of the root-ball with backfill because it could prevent water from entering. Plant standard-size trees 15 to 20 feet apart, dwarf trees 10 to 12 feet apart.

Care
Prune trees to an open center shape. Thin fruits to 6 to 8 inches apart 4 to 6 weeks after bloom. Peaches are susceptible to a number of different disease and insect pests, depending on region. Contact your Cooperative Extension office for information on managing pests in your area. Prune trees properly, thin fruit, and harvest fruit when ripe to minimize disease problems.

Harvesting
Pick peaches when fully ripe. There should be no green on the fruit, and fruit should come off the branch with a slight twist. Store peaches in a cool place.

NUTRITIONAL VALUE

A medium-sized fresh peach is full of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin, and beta carotene. Peaches are also low in calories, fat-free, sodium-free, and cholesterol-free.

Serving Size 1 Medium Peach Calories 40 Protein 0.6g Carbohydrates 10g Fat 0g Cholesterol 0mg Sodium 0mg Dietary Fiber 1.5g Vitamin A 47RE .

Fertilizer

Apply 1/2 pound of 10-10-10 fertilizer or its equivalent 7 to 10 days after planting and the same amount again 40 days after planting. Broadcast the fertilizer evenly, 8 to 12 inches away from the trunk. In the second and third years after planting, the tree should receive 3/4 pound of 10-10-10 in March and again in May. Mature peach trees (4 to 10 years of age) should receive 1 to 2 pounds of 10-10-10 fertilizer each in March and May. If the tree is vigorous and there are no fruit expected, only the March application is necessary. Broadcast the fertilizer around the outer edge of the tree keeping the trunk area free of fertilizer.

Peach trees need to grow 18 inches of new growth each year. Remove the sod from under the tree, mulch and/or irrigate as needed. Irrigation will increase yield particularly if it is applied three weeks before harvest.


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