For Northeast Florida Gardens
(Prunus persica ‘Floridacrest’)
Floridacrest Peach / Prunus persica ‘Floridacrest’ For Northeast Florida Origins:
Peach Trees, although originally attributed to Persia by botanists, actually originated in China and have been cultivated for 3000 years for their fruits. Nectarine trees are thought to be the result of a chance mutation of a peach tree and can be traced back about 2000 years.
Floridacrest is a selection of Peach tree bred by the University of Florida for low chill hour requirements to grow in North Florida edible landscapes and makes a great home orchard peach tree for the Jacksonville and St. Augustine area garden.
Chill Hour Requirements For Floridacrest Peach Trees:
Although there are plentiful selections of peach, plum and nectarine fruit trees, all with unique fruits, they generally require 600-900 hours of winter chill in order for them to produce fruit the following season. That’s a problem for our subtropical Northeast Florida Jacksonville and St. Augustine area gardens. Thankfully The University of Florida went to work producing some selections of these great fruit trees that will produce fruits with as little as 150-250 chill hours.
Floridacrest peach trees are great for Northern and Central Florida requiring as little as 350 chill hours for fruit production.
Sun Exposure for the Floridacrest Peach tree in Northeast Florida:
Plant Floridacrest Peach / prunus persica trees in a full sun location for best results her in our Jacksonville and St. Augustine area landscapes.
Foliage of the Floridacrest Peach Trees:
Foliage of the Floridacrest peach tree is deciduous and will fall off of the tree once temperatures drop for the winter season here in Northeast Florida in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine area.
The long narrow leaves and lush medium green foliage of peach trees add a tropical feel to the landscape.
Soil Preference for the Floridacrest Peach Tree:
Peaches, plums and nectarine trees absolutely must be planted into well draining soils, no flood zones at all, these trees do not tolerated having wet root systems or ‘wet feet’ as we like to call them at all even for brief periods after heavy rains. So remember to plant away from drainage swells or low spots that tend to collect water after a rain. If planting in moist soils is your only option consider bringing in a few yards of dirt and planting your tree into a low mound or raised burm of soil.
Amend your planting site generously with compost when installing your new tree and put a new layer of fresh compost around scattered around the tree under the foliage each following year. I like to treat my trees to a good layer of aged manure or compost in the winter when there are few other garden chores to be done.
Size of the Floridacrest Peach Tree When Mature:
The mature size on a Floridacrest Peach is 15feet in height and 15 feet wide.
Pruning and Growth Habits of Floridacrest Peach Trees for the Northeast Florida Landscape:
Peach trees are fast growing and require pruning into an open centered vase shape for best results.
Following is a link that will open a new window from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences on how to prune nectarine trees for the commercial fruit producer, its fair to note that this way of pruning is harsh and does not tend to make the prettiest tree for the home garden, but the principles of pruning and thinning, and their importance in fruit production, will help guide your decision on how to prune your fruit trees.
Blooms and Fruit of Floridacrest Peach Trees for Northeast Florida Landscape:
Floridacrest Peach trees have a beautiful light pink blossom in the early spring just before the new leaves emerge for the year. Trees are very showy when in bloom.
Floridacrest Peach trees are ‘self pollinating’, so there is no need to buy another pollinating tree in order for your tree to produce fruit.
Floridacrest Peach have a reddish colored skin and yellow flesh.
Great tasting fruit ripens in mid April to May.
Water and Fertilizer Requirements of the Floridacrest Peach:
Properly watering and fertilizing your newly planted peach, plum, and nectarine trees can help not only keep them healthy but keep them producing!
Water newly planted trees every time the top 2 inches of the soil is dry to the touch. That may be everyday, every other day or even only a few times a week depending on weather and soil conditions. Make sure to pay close attention to watering in the first few months after planting and for established trees water once to twice a week should be sufficient.
UFIFAS recommends 2-3 gallons of water per inch of diameter of trunk at each watering.
Fertilize your peach, nectarine, and plum trees each year in the dormant season with a layer of compost or composted manure.
Fertilize once in the spring, and again in the summer around August with a light scattering underneath the foliage of the tree in the mulched area. I like to use a mixture of organic Milorganite with Osmocote Plus. There’s no need to be exact as neither of these fertilizers will burn your trees leaves or root systems. Somewhere around one part Milorganite to 5 parts Osmocote, should be sufficient and about a cup spread around under the foliage of the tree for a mature tree.
Keeping your Floridacrest Peach free from Pests and Diseases:
Peach, plums, and nectarine trees will require a strict spray routine to keep them healthy and free from disease and insect infestations. In the Northeast Florida, Jacksonville and St. Augustine Florida landscaper there are plenty of critters out there that love peach trees every bit as much as we do! To keep them under control, spray with a combination spray that will help control both insects and diseases. Try Bonide’s ” Fruit Tree Spray” every 14 days during the growing season. Remember to stop spraying your fruit trees a month before harvest.
Harvesting your Fresh Floridacrest Peach Fruits:
Harvest your Floridacrest Peach fruits with care, pulling the fruits can cause bruising of the flesh that will make them deteriorate faster. To harvest your fresh, ripe fruit by hand, cup the fruits with your hand, then lift or push the fruit up towards the branch slightly and twist them off. I like to use a fruit harvest basket as I allow my fruit trees to be a bit taller than recommended for hand harvesting.