Keepers NurseryThe UK's largest range of Fruit Trees
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A guide to choosing Peach and Nectarine trees
Here are the most important things that you need to take into consideration when choosing peach and nectarine trees:
Variety. All the peach and nectarine trees that we supply are varieties that are considered suitable for growing in UK conditions. However they are all best grown in a warm sheltered position, particularly in cooler parts of the country. It is also advisable to protect them against rain and frost in the spring. Leaf curl resistant varieties such as Avalon Pride are the most suitable for growing in the open.
Rootstock. Peach and nectarine trees are grafted on rootstocks and the choice of rootstock is important because it determines the ultimate size to which your tree will grow. It is important to choose a rootstock suitable for the space you have and the way you wish to grow the tree. St Julien A rootstock is the traditionally used rootstock offered by most nurseries. While we also use St Julien A, we are now concentrating more on modern rootstocks notably Krymsk 86 and VVA-1. Here are some guidelines for various common situations:
Small tree for a small garden or allotment. Dwarfing VVA-1 rootstock.
Medium to large size tree in a lawn or other grassed area. Semi- semi-vigorous Krymsk 86 or St Julien A rootstock.
Pots and planters. Dwarfing VVA-1 rootstock. Restriction of the roots by the pot will keep the tree small. It is also best to start with one year maiden trees.
Special restricted forms. Dwarfing VVA-1 rootstock for fan trained trees on walls/fences 2m/7ft in height or semi-vigorous Krymsk 86 rootstock for taller walls/fences .
Tree Forms. Peach nectarine need to be pruned and trained to become attractive and productive trees. However pruning should be kept to a minimum just to develop and maintain the shape. All pruning should be carried out during the main growing season from early May to August and avoided in the dormant season. Most peach and nectarine trees are grown as fans against walls and fences in the UK. However they can also be grown in other classic forms in the open. We supply untrained one year old trees known as maidens which can be trained into any suitable form. We also supply two year old trees which we have already started training towards a particular form usually fans and occasionally bush trained trees. If you want to order a two year old tree ensure that it is in a form that suits your purpose. You would normally not be able to re-train a two year old tree into another form. Here are some guidelines about the various tree forms:
Bush trained trees. Open centre goblet shaped trees with relatively short clear trunks of 3ft/1m normally on dwarfing or semi-vigorous rootstocks suitable for small or medium sized gardens.
Restricted forms. These are intended for growing against walls and fences. They are both a way of growing fruit in a restricted area and an attractive decorative feature. Peach and nectarine trees are not suitable for espalier training and we only supply fan trained trees.
Cropping season. Peaches and nectarines ripen from early July to September. They do not keep and need to be eaten straight off the tree. If you plan to grow more than one variety choose varieties that ripen at different times to avoid getting all the crop at the same time.
Blossom . Peach and nectarine trees are one the earliest fruit trees to come into blossom in the spring. Their attractive pink blossom adds colour to the garden in March and April.
Pollination. All peach and nectarine trees are self-fertile and will crop successfully grown on their own. However because they blossom very early there may be very few or no pollinating insects to carry the pollen to the female parts of the flower. This can result in irregular cropping. One remedy is to hand pollinate.