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					                             Peach (Queen of Fruits)

        The peach (Prunus persica) is a species of Prunus native to China that bears an
edible juicy fruit also called a peach. The peach is considered the “Queen” of the fruits
and second only to the apple in popularity as a deciduous tree fruit because of its fine
flavor and many uses as a fruit

       It is a deciduous tree growing to 5–10 m tall, belonging to the subfamily
Prunoideae of the family Rosaceae. It is classified with the almond in the subgenus
Amygdalus within the genus Prunus, distinguished from the other subgenera by the
corrugated seed shell

Scientific Classification:

                   Kingdom: Plantae
                   Division: Magnoliophyta
                   Class:      Magnoliopsida
                   Order:      Rosales
                   Family:     Rosaceae
                   Genus:      Prunus
                   Subgenus: Amygdalus
                   Species:    P. persica

Variety

        There are hundreds of different peach cultivars (varieties), but basically there are
two types,
             Freestone and
             Clingstone.
         The “stone” is the pit in the middle of the peach.
         In freestones types, the flesh separates readily from the pit. In
the clingstone type, the flesh clings tightly to the pit. The flesh may be
either yellow or white. Freestone types are usually preferred for eating
fresh or for freezing, while clingstone types are used primarily for
canning. Most fresh peaches available in your produce department are
freestone. Two of the most popular varieties
        Fruit Patch grows are
             Elegant Lady and
             O-Henry.
        These two peaches are yellow flesh varieties.
Season & Availability:

       Chilling season followed by warmer days is the ideal condition for peach.

(Fruit Patch is the only grower, packer, shipper in California who can provide an early
supply of peaches in mid April, which kicks off the season in California. The season for
California peaches extends from April through October, with the peak in July and
August. The San Joaquin Valley climate produces an ideal environment for peach trees,
which require a chilling season followed by warmer days, and combined with rich soil,
produces the most flavorful fruit around.)

Nutrition

       There‟s a lot of nutrition packed into those little fuzzy fruits; each piece contains a
good amount of fiber as well as being high in vitamins A, E, and C, and all for less than
40 calories. Peaches are also fat-free, saturated fat-free, sodium-free and cholesterol-free.

Cultivation:

        Peach trees grow very well in a fairly limited range, since
they have a chilling requirement that subtropical areas cannot
satisfy, and they are not very cold-hardy. The trees themselves
can usually tolerate temperatures to around −26 °C to −30 °C,
although the following season's flower buds are usually killed at
these temperatures, leading to no crop that summer. Flower bud
kill begins to occur at temperatures between −15 °C and −25 °C
depending on the cultivar (some are more cold-tolerant than others) and the timing of the
cold, with the buds becoming less cold tolerant in late winter. Certain cultivars are more
tender and others can tolerate a few degrees more cold. In addition, a lot of summer heat
is required to mature the crop, with mean temperatures of the hottest month between 20
°C and 30 °C.
        Another problematic issue in many peach-growing areas is spring frost. The trees
tend to flower fairly early in spring. The flowers can often be damaged or killed by
freezes; typically, if temperatures drop below about −4 °C, most flowers will be killed.
However, if the flowers are not fully open, they can tolerate a couple degrees colder

Planting

        Most peach trees sold by nurseries are named cultivars grafted onto a suitable
rootstock. It is also possible to grow a tree from either a peach or nectarine seed, but the
fruit quality of the resulting tree will be very unpredictable
        Peaches should be located in full sun, and with good air flow. This allows cold air
to flow away on frosty nights and keeps the area cool in summer. Peaches are best
planted in early winter, as this allows time for the roots to establish and be able to sustain
the new spring growth.
Propagation of Peach Trees

        Peach trees are grown from seed. It takes three or four years to go from the
seedling stage to a fruit-producing tree. Most people don't want to wait that long. They
turn to garden nurseries to purchase young trees. that can be transplanted to your garden.
Trees at your local nursery are a couple of years old. This small peach tree will still need
to grow another year or two to get the first crop of peaches.

You can also graft branches from a peach tree onto other fruit trees

The size and number of peaches is dependent upon a number of things. As a rule of
thumb, more peaches on a tree, results in smaller individual fruit. Sometimes,
mother nature pollinates a profusion of blooms. Sometimes frost nips a portion of the
blooms. However, in a good year, it is possible that so many peaches are on the tree, that
the size of the fruit is small. Growers can compensate for this, by removing a few of the
baby peaches very early in the season. Should you do this? Probably not in your first few
years of growing, as you do not have the experience to judge if there are too many
peaches on the tree. But, we do recommend removing any peaches that are damaged by
insects, leaving good peaches to grow even bigger.

Each spring, before buds open; apply a dormant oil fruit tree spray. This will kill a variety
of insects.

        Peach trees are highly susceptible to both insect infestations and disease. Without
regular spraying, peach trees tend to be short-lived. If you use insect and/or disease
sprays, we recommend you follow the directions on the label carefully. And by all means,
wear protective clothing and a mask when spraying

Pruning Peach Trees:

       Like other plants, pruning established trees is healthy for them. It results in a
bigger crop. Prune peach trees annually in the early late winter or early spring, before the
new year's growth begins.

        First, remove dead or unhealthy branches and limbs. Prune in areas where growth
is very bushy. This will increase sunlight and air penetration, to help the overall health
and growth of the tree. You can also prune branches to maintain a shapely looking tree

Watering

        For optimum growth, peach trees require a constant supply of water. This should
be increased shortly before the harvest. The best tasting fruit is produced when the peach
is watered throughout the season. Drip irrigation is ideal, at least one dripper per tree.
Although it is better to use multiple drippers around the tree, this is not necessary. A
quarter of the root being watered is sufficient.
Fertilizing

         Peaches have a high nutrient requirement, needing more nitrogen than most other
fruit trees. An NPK fertilizer can be applied regularly, and an additional mulch of poultry
manure in autumn soon after the harvest will benefit the tree. If the leaves of the peach
are yellow or small, the tree needs more nitrogen. Blood meal and bone meal, 3–5 kg per
mature tree, or calcium ammonium nitrate, 0.5–1 kg, are suitable fertilizers. This also
applies if the tree is putting forth little growth

Note:
       All parts of the peach except the fruit pulp and skin are toxic. These parts contain
cyanide-producing substances. Symptoms - difficulty in breathing, coma; may be fatal.
       These fruits have the highest content of pesticides which can lead to health
problems such as cancer. Therefore always try to buy peaches that are organically
grown. In case you cannot buy organic peaches then remove the skin before eating them.

Peach Diseases:

       BROWN ROT
       PEACH SCAB
       BACTERIAL SPOT
       PEACH LEAF CURL
       GUMMOSIS
       POWDERY MILDEW

BROWN ROT

    Brown rot is one of the most common and serious diseases affecting peach fruits. It is
caused by the fungus Monilinia fructicola, and can also infect flower blossoms and
shoots. The disease begins at bloom. Infected flowers wilt and turn brown very quickly.
Shoot infections (usually from flower infections) result in small (1 to 3 inches), gummy
cankers, which provide the source of infection for fruit rot. Spores from infected flowers
and cankers infect aborting fruit and healthy green fruit during long wetness periods.
Infected, aborted fruit remain attached in the tree and provide an additional source of
spores for more infections instead of dropping off in a normal fashion. Infections in
apparently healthy green fruit remain inactive until the fruit begins to ripen.

    Fruit rot starts with a small, round brown spot, which expands to eventually rot the
entire fruit. Infected fruit turns into a mummy on the tree. The fungus survives the winter
on fruit mummies (on the tree and on the ground) and twig cankers.

Prevention and Treatment:

         Collect and remove diseased fruit from the tree as it appears. Collect and dispose
of any diseased fruit on the ground. In the fall remove all dried fruit mummies from the
tree, since this is where the fungus survives the winter.
    Fungicides are usually required if fruit ripening occurs during a period of warm, wet
weather. It is important to begin spraying just before the fruit begins to ripen. Look for
the first tinge of change in the yellow background color. Starting a spray program when
rotten fruit is evident will result in poor disease control. Select a fungicide containing
thiophanate methyl, captan, or azoxystrobin that is labeled for use on peaches. These
fungicides are only effective if complete and thorough coverage of the tree(s) can be
obtained. Always apply all pesticides according to directions on the label.

PEACH SAB

        Peach scab, also known as “freckles”, is caused by the fungus Cladosporium
carpophilum. Disease symptoms occur on the fruit as small (less than ¼ inch in diameter)
velvety dark spots and cracks. In cases of severe infection, spots may join together to
form large dark lesions. Leaf infection is usually not observed. Twig infections occur on
the current year‟s growth and are light brown after 30 to 70 days, before later enlarging
and becoming dark reddish brown the next season. Spots on the fruit only occur on the
outer skin, and eating quality is not affected. Peel fruit to remove all traces of the disease.

Prevention and Treatment:

       Most varieties are susceptible to scab, although some are more severely affected
than others are. Generally, scab is most severe the first year the trees bear fruit, since a
large number of twig lesions can develop during the first two growing seasons when no
fungicides have been used. Minimize infection by selecting planting sites that are not
low-lying. Trees should be properly pruned to allow good air circulation. This helps to
promote rapid drying of the leaves, fruit, and twigs.

        Periods of rain with temperatures of 65 to 75 ºF are optimal conditions for
infection. Fungicides can provide adequate control of this disease if applications are
properly timed. If disease control is desired, apply either wettable sulfur (minimum 80%
actual sulfur), azoxystrobin or captan. Make five applications after petal fall at 7 to 14
day intervals. Apply all chemicals according to label directions.

BACTERIAL SPOT

        This disease is caused by the bacterium Xanthomonas campestris pv. pruni, and
affects peach fruit and leaves. Infected leaves develop small reddish-purple spots that
often have a white center. In advanced cases, the inner portion of the spot often falls out,
giving the leaf a “ragged” or “shot-hole” appearance. Infected leaves turn yellow and
drop from the tree. Lesions on fruits appear as small dark spots, which become larger and
crater-like as the fruit grows. These lesions are generally shallow but can be ¼ inch deep.
They do not develop the velvety spots of scab. Peeling the fruit will remove most traces
of the disease.
Prevention and Treatment:

       This disease is difficult to control, and chemical sprays are not practical for the
home gardener. Varieties are available that are moderately resistant, but not immune.
These varieties are „Candor,‟ „Norman,‟ „Winblo,‟ „Bisco‟ and „Red Haven‟ in a yellow
peach and „Southern Pearl‟ in a white peach. Bacterial spot is usually more severe on
poorly nourished trees or where nematodes are a problem, so proper cultural care is
important.

PEACH LEAF CURL

       The peach leaf curl fungus, Taphrina deformans, can infect peach leaves, flowers,
and fruit. Infected leaves pucker, thicken, curl and often turn red. Infected leaves
eventually turn yellow and drop from the tree. Severe leaf drop can weaken the plant and
reduce fruit quality. Fruit symptoms of raised, wrinkled areas, are often overlooked.

Prevention and Treatment:

        Control is impossible after the symptoms are visible. Fungicides applied before
bud break give good control. Usually one dormant application is sufficient. This
application may be mixed with spray oil for scale and mite control. If disease has been
severe enough in the past to warrant chemical control, choose one of the following
fungicides for use: ferbam, chlorothalonil, copper hydroxide, bordeaux, basic copper
sulfate, copper salts of fatty acids or ammonical copper. Apply all chemicals according to
directions on the label.

To control diseases:

      Providing proper growing conditions and planting recommended varieties
      Using good sanitation practices. Remove all dead branches and mummified fruit
       from the trees and the ground. Keep the area around the trees free of weeds and
       plant debris, such as leaves and twigs.
      Following a spray program that begins with dormant sprays and continues
       through the growing season

Fruit Size – Fruit sized well during the last 3 weeks before harvest, even when receiving
only 9% full sun. At least 30% full sun is needed for the final 6 weeks before harvest for
maximum fruit size.

                       The National Peach Council(USA):

NPC is a voluntary organization that operates through an Executive Committee on the
basis of input from growers. It represents the peach growers of the United States. Peaches
are grown in about 45 different states, according to the 2002 U.S. Agricultural Census,
and NPC has dues paying members from approximately 30 different states.
NPC is the only national organization representing the nation’s peach and nectarine
growers and serves as a center of peach information

Nectarines

The nectarine is a cultivar group of peach that has a smooth, fuzzless skin. Though fuzzy
peaches and nectarines are commercially regarded as different fruits, with nectarines
often erroneously believed to be a crossbreed between peaches and plums, or a "peach
with a plum skin", they belong to the same species as peaches. Several genetic studies
have concluded in fact that nectarines are created due to a recessive gene, whereas a
fuzzy peach skin is dominant. Nectarines have arisen many times from peach trees, often
as bud sports.

As with peaches, nectarines can be white or yellow, and clingstone or freestone. On
average, nectarines are slightly smaller and sweeter than peaches, but with much overlap.
The lack of skin fuzz can make nectarine skins appear more reddish than those of
peaches, contributing to the fruit's plum-like appearance. The lack of down on the skin
also means their skin is more easily bruised than peaches.
The history of the nectarine is unclear; the first recorded mention in English is from 1616,
but they had probably been grown much earlier within the native range of the Peach in
central and eastern Asia
Regular peach trees occasionally produce a few nectarines, and vice versa

Selection: Good-quality nectarines will be fairly large, have smooth, unblemished skin
and will be firm but not rock-hard. Ripen nectarines at home for 2 to 3 days at room
temperature until they are slightly soft along the seam. Ripe fruit will have a sweet
nectarine smell that is stronger when the fruit is at room temperature.


 Avoid: Avoid product that is too small, soft, pitted, bruised or has small spots of mold

 Nectarine Nutritional Information

 Serving Size: 1 medium (140g)

  Amount Per Serving
  Calories 70                              Calories from Fat 0
                                           % Daily Value*
  Total Fat 0.5g                           1%
  Cholesterol 0mg                          0%
  Sodium 0mg                               0%
  Total Carbohydrate 16g                   5%
  Dietary Fiber 2g
  Sugars 14g
     Protein 1g
     Vitamin A 4%                  Vitamin C 15%
     Calcium 0%                    Iron 2%
     *Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
     Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on
     your calorie needs.

     Source: PMA's Labeling Facts

    Nectarine Tips & Trivia

       The nectarine got its start in China as a genetic variant of the common peach and
is not, as some believe, the consequence of a cross between a peach and a plum. One
Chinese emperor was so enthralled with nectarines that he and his people referred to them
as the "nectar of the gods."

      The nectarine came to America via Europe, and made its way to California over
130 years ago

Special:
    It is a good source of vitamin A and C, fiber and
    It is fat, sodium and cholesterol free.
    The flesh of a peach is meltingly juicy and extremely fine flavored especially
       when they are matured and mellowed
    These fruits are used in jams, pies, cobblers
    Peaches are very good for the health because they help in preventing
       constipation and stopping strokes, combat cancer, help hemorrhoids, aid
       digestion and boost the immune system.
    Peaches have a high content of dietary fiber. This helps to fight constipation

References:
http://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheets/hgic2209.htm
http://www.gardenersnet.com/fruit/peachtrees.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peach
http://www.fruit-lovers.com/peach.htm
http://www.fruitpatch.net/products/peach.htm

				
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