Peach and Nectarine Pollination 


Peaches and nectarines are really simple in terms of pollination. They are all self-pollinating. None of them need another variety to pollinate.

About Peaches and Nectarines


Peaches and nectarines(fuzzless peaches)are summer favorites.  Nothing says summer more than a tree ripened peach except, maybe, home grown tomatoes). These fruits are very fragile and they bruise easily. So the really good, tasty ones are only available at fruit stands and, of course, from your own home orchard. Grocery store varieties are often chosen for durability and firmness; taste is only a secondary consideration.


If you want to make home made ice cream, there is nothing better than peaches.  Use the slightly overripe fruit to put into your ice cream.  Get a good ice cream freezer -- we like the hand cranked ones best, especially if you have kids to do the cranking. Somehow it tastes better with a little bit of extra work.  

Peach and Nectarine Pruning


Peach and Nectarine Pruning Diagram


First year pruning sets the eventual shape of the tree. If your tree is taller than 3-5' above ground, after it is planted, trim it down to that height. Thin out the inward growing branches and any branches which are crossing over each other. Trim off the tips of the larger branches to encourage growth.

Unlike apples and pears, you are not trying to create a central leader (dominant vertical branch). Peaches and nectarines are trained to an open, spreading, vase-like shape. See the illustration below for a before and after look at the branches of a young peach or nectarine tree.

Take out at least half of the new, lateral shoots to do this. The remainder of those shoots will produce your fruit for this year.

If your trees set fruit this first year, pick off some of the immature fruits, spacing them about 8" apart on the branches. This will allow the fruit to reach optimum size and improve vegetative vigor. Fruit thinning in the future is also important for the very same reasons. Less is more. If you don't thin, you will get many more fruits than the tree can handle, resulting in broken branches and small fruits. So don't be afraid to thin. The resulting fruits will be fuller and much nicer.

In later years, you should continue to "shape" your tree. Peach and nectarine trees are best trained to a spreading, open, vase-like shape. This is the natural way your peach tree will want to grow. Peaches and nectarines are unique fruits in that they bear on one year old wood. So it is essential that you prune them hard to allow for adequate sunlight penetration into the tree. This is turn invigorates the tree to grow more young wood within the tree that will produce next year's crop. Those branches that grow this year are the ones that will set flower buds in the fall. Look at the diagram for the Mature Tree Form. That is what you are aiming for over the first several years.

The best time to prune peaches and nectarines is in the early spring. Try pruning after the last frost date for your area. At this time, most of the winter damage can be trimmed off and you will minimize the effect of late frost damage to your buds and blooms.