Nectarine; a Fuzzless Peach

For any successful fruit crop, a good deal of planning and maintenance is necessary. This is true for care of nectarine trees. Nectarine tree care requires certain steps in each season for the optimum crop.

Nectarine fruit has been described as fuzz less peach, or as a mutation of a peach that may mutate back to a nectarine and then again mutate back to the peach.

Nectarine, (Prunus persica), smooth-skinned peach of the family Rosaceae that is grown throughout the warmer temperate regions of both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. A genetic variant of common peaches, the nectarine was most likely domesticated in China more than 4,000 years ago, and nectarine and peach trees are virtually indistinguishable.

The expression of a recessive allele is thought to be responsible for the smooth skin of nectarine fruits, which lack the fuzzy trichomes (plant hairs) characteristic of peach fruits. The stones and kernels of the two fruits are alike in appearance and may be freestone types, which have ripe flesh that separates easily from the stone, or clingstones, which have flesh that adheres firmly to the stone. Nectarines have red, yellow, or white flesh and are a source of vitamins A and C. They are commonly eaten fresh or cooked in conserves, jams, and pies.

Cultivation. Site with a high elevation so that cold air can drain away from the tree on a cold night during bloom is best suited for nectarine cultivation. Nectarines require full sunlight and should not receive shade from buildings or tall trees.

Soil texture should be well drained and sandy loam type. Nectarine tree roots or rootstocks are sensitive to water logging so well drained soils are to be preferred.

Plant budded plants at a distance of 4m x 4m.  Planting nectarine plant too deep in the soil can cause poor growth or death.

Fruit starts bearing in second year itself but it should be avoided in order to maintain proper plant vigour. Fruit should be allowed to set third year onwards depending on plant health. In fourth year, on an average plant yields 8-10kgs of fruit.

Thinning the fruits isn’t really a necessary practice unless you want to concentrate the trees energy into a lesser number of larger fruits. This of course has the effect of increased fruit size and the class of the fruit produced. It might be a consideration if your tree seems to be over producing because then you might end up with a lot of smaller fruit which may be no less enjoyable. For gorgeous big ripe fruits of peach and nectarine, remove every other fruit along the branch when about the size of an acorn, allowing the rest to develop to maximum magnificence. Remember that the tree may shed some fruits of its own accord, and this is especially true if it becomes dry at the roots during crop formation.

Keep the area beneath the tree weed free within a three foot span. Apply organic mulch 3 to 4 inches deep; don’t put mulch up against the trunk. Remove leaves from the ground after they’ve fallen in autumn to avoid disease. A copper spray will be needed in fall to prevent shot hole fungus.