Tuesday, 11 February 2014 21:19

How do Peaches grow?

Did you know that peaches are biologically the same fruit as nectarines? 

  • Latin Name:

    Prunus persica

  • Growth:

    How do peaches grow?

     

    USDA Hardiness Zones 5 to 8, best in 6 and 7 Click to view USDA Zone map


    Peach trees are deciduous, grow from 13 to 33 feet tall depending on the variety and have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years.

    Spring: Best time to plant new trees; established trees flowering.

     

    Summer: Flowers begin to bud and mature; fruit is thinned to promote larger peaches.

     

    Fall : Harvest season, fertilize and irrigate after harvest is complete.

     

    Winter: Dormant season: prune to insure strong new growth.  Peaches require a period of chilling frost to activate key chemical reactions that signal the tree to flower and fruit in spring.

     

    Watch Video: Planting and growing peach tree

     

  • Propagation:

    How are peaches propagated?

    Peach trees can be started from seed, but it will take the first fruit 3 to 5 years to appear.  The seeds are hidden within the pit of the fruit.

    Grafting is the most common propagation technique used. Commercial growers cut branches from trees that are known producers of top quality fruit and graft them onto solid, disease resistant root stock.  

  • Harvest:

    How are peaches harvested?

     

     Peaches ripen best on the tree so should not be pick prematurely; however they are a climacteric fruit, and continue to ripen after they are picked.

    When there is no green leaf or green undertone on the fruit, the peach is ripe, and easily comes off the tree stem with a slight twist.  

    Peaches are quick rotting so need to be consumed within two weeks of harvest.

    Watch Video: Harvesting Peaches

     

  • Storage:

    How are peaches stored?

    Peaches are best eaten within 5 days of purchase. Store at room temperature until ripe. Once ripe, place peaches in sealed plastic bag or container and refrigerate.

    When freezing, wash, dry, pit and halve, then freeze the sliced peaches.

  • History:

    Where do peaches come from?

     

    The botanical name for peach is translated to mean ‘Persian Apple’ because it arrived in Europe from what was then Persia - or Iran now.  However, genetic testing has determined that the peach was originally cultivated by the Chinese as early as 2,000 B.C.

     In Asia, the peach tree and its blossoms had great cultural significance and were closely tied to royal rituals.  In China, it was considered the “immortal” fruit and thought to bring increased longevity to those who ate it.

  • Top Producers:

    What countries are the top produces of peaches?

    China, Italy, the United States, Spain, and Greece, are the top peach producing countries.

  • Varieties:

    What are the most common varieties of peaches?

     

    Nectarines are biologically the same fruit as a peach but without the fuzzy skin.  This is thought to be the result of a recessive gene that eliminates the growth of the fuzz.

     

    There are  two main groups of peach varieties:

     

    White-fleshed peaches are sweeter and less acidic accounting for 30 percent of production, mostly in Asia.

    Yellow-fleshed peaches are more tangy and acidic and account for 70 percent of consumption. They are the preferred variety in Europe and North America.

     Peaches are also differentiated by whether their flesh clings to the pit - or clingstone, or if it releases easily from the pit - or freestone.  A semi-free variety has also been developed from crossing the two.


    There are several hundred peach varieties classified by flesh color, nature of their pits, and  appearance of their skin when ripe.

  • Products:

    How are peaches most commonly used?

    Peaches are mainly eaten as a raw fruit, however it is commonly canned, dried, used in sauces, pies, juices, and sweet treats.

  • Top Health Benefits:

    What are the top health benefits of peaches?

     

    Rich in vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, beta carotene, and minerals.

    Peaches are good for the skin due to their high vitamin C content and help prevent wrinkles and dark circles around the eyes.

    Peaches are a great snack for dieters because they are tasty, rich in vitamins, and low in calories.