Fruitscaping with Peach, Plum, and Nectarine Trees
Each season provides its own kind of beauty with peaches, plums and nectarines. Spring brings billows of fragrant pink to red flowers like cotton candy clouds, followed by months of beautiful fruit changing from green to yellow, gold, peachy red or purple. In fall, leaves turn bright yellow. Standard-sized trees can be used as small shade trees or as part of a fruitful border. When full grown, the willowy trees are 12-18 feet tall. Mix peaches, plums and nectarines with smaller fruits such as blueberries, blackberries, figs and pomegranates. Group them along a pathway so you can enjoy them close up!
View Our Full Peach Trees Planting and Growing Guide
Where Should I plant Them?Â Peaches, plums and nectarines prefer well-drained soils and part to full sun.
Root Stock:Â Peaches, plums and nectarines are highly susceptible to nematodes in the Deep South, especially in sandy soils. Nemagard or Guardian are the preferred rootstocks as they offer resistance to the pesky little worms. Our trees for Zone 8 are grafted on Nemaguard while the tropical plums are grafted onto Guardian. All plums require a pollinator.
FertilizerÂ These guys are ferocious feeders so it really pays to do a light application of manure and hay in the spring. Then side dress with a balanced fertilizer high in trace elements in February (Or after the last freeze in your area), May, and late July.
Growing your own peaches is well worth the effort. Most of the peaches you buy in the store are picked green, so they rarely resemble the real thing. In other words, they donâ€™t taste so good. If you want SWEET, soft, juicy peaches that arenâ€™t pumped full of chemicals, take the time to grow your own. If you want peaches all summer long, choose several varieties that ripen at different times, as itâ€™s just as easy to take care of half a dozen trees as one.
In researching varieties to grow in our area, we looked into Louisiana State Universityâ€™s breeding program. Louisiana has a large low-chill peach belt in the southern part of the state that produces some of the finest tasting peaches in the United States. Because of Louisianaâ€™s high humidity, their breeding program is aimed at disease resistance. They achieve some of this resistance by using a simple trick of nature â€” they breed peaches with extra long fuzz on the skin. This fuzz acts like a raincoat, keeping fungus spores that cause fruit rot from settling in the skin of the peach.
The University of Floridaâ€™s great breeding program has given us peaches adapted to the very low chill Zones 9 and 10, as well as Zone 8. New non-melting peaches stay firm while they sweeten up (check out the Gulf and UF series!). This increases eating quality, shelf life and appearance of these wonderful peaches. What a selection to choose from! All peaches are grafted on Nemaguard or Guardian rootstock.
If you are uncertain about your chill hours, contact your County Cooperative Extension Agent or local Department of Agriculture.Â You may also click here to view the USDA zone Map and see which match your growing zone.