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The Prunus Persica is a plant coming from Persia from which the Latin name "persica" derives from it, it grows spontaneously also in China. The peach tree is a fruit tree of modest size, in fact, in its natural state it reaches only 4-5m in height. It has lanceolate leaves up to 20cm long, the flowers are generally pink in color and bloom very early, making the peach tree particularly sensitive to spring frosts. The fruits have a velvety reddish-yellow skin, the pulp, according to the Prunus Persica variety, can be yellow or white with red veins, more evident near the stone. Presumably from a bud mutation, plants with fruits with a glabrous, smooth skin, called nectarines or peach-nectarine, were obtained, from which, subsequently, different varieties were selected with different characteristics both in size, color and age of fruit ripening. There are also particular selections of peaches, called percoche or duracine, whose fruits are small in size and very regular in shape, have a firm and consistent pulp, therefore suitable for handling, they are used exclusively by the industry for the production of peaches syrups and fruit salads.
The rootstock most used by nurserymen for prunus persica it is undoubtedly the franc which has excellent affinity with most varieties of peaches. It resists drought well but fears heavy, clayey and impermeable soils, in which the plant becomes particularly sensitive to diseases and is rapidly exhausted. Sometimes it is used to graft the peach tree on the wild almond, which gives good results on stony and calcareous soils, where the franc does not find good conditions for development.
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Most varieties are self-fertilizing. Among the most valuable and widespread varieties, is the J.H. Hale which appears to be sterile, therefore it is recommended to combine it with a different variety to obtain a good production of peaches. In any case it is always recommended to have two or more plants of different varieties to favor pollination and consequently also productivity.
The flowering of these plants occurs in the spring period, before the leaves develop. The flowers can have a color ranging from pinkish white to deep pink.
Excellent results are obtained using fertilizers based on nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK), distributing balanced quantities during the winter, while in the vegetative period, especially in spring, it is possible to intervene again by increasing the dose of nitrogen. Avoid using fertilizers with a high percentage of nitrogen in periods of drought.
Among the animal parasites that can cause greater damage to the peach tree, as well as aphids and scale insects, are the moths, which lay their eggs in young shoots making them wilt quickly. The moth also attacks the fruits, the pulp on which the larvae feed, opening cavities until it reaches the core. The pathogen that attacks the peach tree most is the peach bubble, which occurs both on young shoots and on the leaves, deforming them and making them thicker, where large yellow-red spots can be seen. This pathology originates from the Taphrina deformans fungus, which occurs when the humidity is quite high. It can affect any plant, although it usually occurs on leaves and shoots. To avoid the occurrence of this problem, it is good to intervene before germination with treatments with specific copper-based products. The treatment must be repeated regularly, even if, when the temperatures rise, the fungus tends to freeze spontaneously. The diseased parts must be eliminated. To avoid the spread of the disease it is good to provide a treatment with copper and sulfur in the autumn period, when the leaves have already fallen, to be repeated at the end of winter.
Breeding A spindle
For the formation of a spindle, a sucker will have to be planted which will be cut at a height of about 50 cm from the ground. During the spring, numerous twigs will be issued that will have to be thinned with green pruning, keeping the more robust ones arranged in a balanced way to form the crown. The second year the lateral branches will have to be blunted, paying attention that the cut is made just above an external bud, in order to facilitate the opening of the foliage.
To form a palmette it is necessary to cut the sucker about 70 cm from the ground, then care will be taken, during the vegetation, to keep a vertical branch for the arrow and two lateral ones for the branches, practicing thinning pruning, eliminating the weak branches those messy inside the foliage. Later in the following year the arrow will pop up and two more sturdy branches will be kept to create the second floor. It is recommended to create, for the first years of growth, a support structure to fix the lateral branches of the plant.
To form the pot it is necessary to plant a one-year-old sucker and cut it 40-50 cm above the ground. At the beginning of the second year at least four vigorous branches will shorten to 30-40 cm, keeping them away from the center, which in turn will give other branches of which only the external ones will be preserved. Also shorten these branches again in order to further strengthen the plant, after which the growth will be left free by practicing only some thinning pruning, eliminating the disordered branches.
Peach - Prunus Persica: Peach tree cultivation
The cultivation of this plant to harvest the fruits takes place only in the open ground, a factor that guarantees the production of sweet and well developed fruits. The planting of young specimens is carried out in the autumn or at the beginning of winter. In the first phase of growth it will be appropriate to intervene with training prunings that allow to establish the shape of the plant and, in some cases, it will be necessary to arrange a vertical support that helps to maintain the progress of the plant. Based on the rootstock chosen for the production of a plant of this type, it will be necessary to choose the best substrate. Vigorous development is achieved by planting the plant in a soil rich in organic matter, with low acidity and a good degree of drainage. The peach tree can grow well even in sandy soils, as long as the number of waterings is increased.
These plants need a sunny exposure, where it is reached by direct sunlight for a few hours a day. It is a type of plant that resists winter frost well, while late frosts can compromise flowering. It needs a good degree of humidity and an environment that is not particularly exposed to strong winds.
The fruit is harvested in the period from May to September; the fruits do not have a great ability to remain intact once collected and should be consumed in a short time.