Most peaches and nectarines are self fertile so a partner is not required for fruiting, but some hand pollination may help as bees are scarce so early in the year.
SITE AND SOIL - Peaches and nectarines flower early in spring so may need to be protected from frost with fleece and hessian. It is best to grow your tree against a sunny south-facing wall, as risk of frost will be less severe. They prefer a well-drained, well-dug soil, full of rich,
organic matter. Plenty of nutrients will help resist attack from pests and diseases. Plant a fan about 9” away from wall and slope the stem slight towards the wall. Water and feed regularly during growing period, a high potash feed is beneficial during fruit swelling stage.
HARVESTING - A sunny position is essential for ripening fruit. Each peach requires sun, so remove leaves blocking light from fruits. Fruits may have to be thinned out. Harvest when fruits are slightly soft and eat on same day. Store in cool place for a few days if picking earlier. Fruits can be bottled or frozen (remove stones if freezing). It can take up to three years to produce fruit, but can produce up to 20kg of fruit from one tree.
PRUNING - After three growing seasons, a well-trained peach/nectarine tree should have 3-5 scaffold branches with wide angels, evenly distributed around the tree.
Year 4 onwards: As growth begins in spring, remove shoots growing directly towards or away from wall. Pinch out growth buds on each flowering lateral to leave one at the base on in the middle and one at the top. In May cut back each lateral shoot to six leaves. After the harvest cut out the fruited laterals back to the base shoot.
PESTS AND DISEASES - The most common disease suffered is ‘peach leaf curl’. This is a fungal infection, attacking young leaves, causing them to curl up and fall off. It can also cause the flowers and fruit to drop, ruining your crop. Remove infected leaves, burning them to prevent fungus spreading. New leaves that form won’t be attacked by the fungus, and will provide your stressed tree with much needed energy, so only remove leaves, which are visibly infected. You may also want to spray the tree in January with copper fungicide.
Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information given both on our lists and labels. However, some details may vary according to special or geographical circumstances. Varieties offered are subject to availability.