Caring for Stone Fruit – PEACHES, NECTARINES, APRICOTS

For a touch of the exotic there is nothing to beat any of these mouth watering fruits, and they are relatively easy to look after.

SITE

Choose a sunny aspect free from cold winds. The soil needs to be free draining and as much rich organic matter added to the planting hole as possible. Bush varieties are best but fan-trained trees can be obtained although more expensive.

PRUNING

Bush types – These should be cut back in February to about one quarter the distance to an outward facing bud. Use Arbrex to seal all wounds to prevent peach leaf curl spores entering. Also thin out any overgrowing branches during summer so as to allow the maximum amount of sunlight to ripen the fruit.

Fan-trained – As for bush varieties, but keep laterals to about 8-1 0 ins either side of the main stem, and always prune to an upward facing bud.

Fruits should be thinned on both types, so that only one is allowed to develop on each lateral. This will give the maximum size fruit, to impress the neighbours!

SPRAYING

Peaches and Nectarines must be sprayed at certain times of the year in order to reduce the disfiguring disease ‘peach leaf curl’. The first sprays should be given in February; two sprays are required at fortnightly intervals using any copper based fungicide, this should be sufficient to control the disease but should any leaves become infested during the summer these should be picked off and burned. During December when all the leaves have fallen one more application of a copper based fungicide can be given.

FAN-TRAINED

Ideally these are best tied against a south

facing wall which is in a frost-free

position, away from winds.

BUSH

Always keep bushes pruned, so

that they are well balanced

and not straggly.

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