Nectarine fruits look like plums though they are more closely related to peaches. The difference between a nectarine and a peach is the skin texture; the former has smooth skin while the latter has a fuzzy or velvety texture.
Due to the smooth skin, nectarine fruits appear more reddish compared to peaches. Otherwise, both are classified under the genus name Prunus of the subfamily Prunoideae. Nectarines are small in size, sweet-tasting, and have a strong flavor.
Whether you are growing the trees for fruits or just for landscaping, choosing the right species is important for healthy trees. So, ensure you gather information beforehand about the tree varieties. Choose disease resistant, cold tolerant and hardy cultivar groups. Once established in the growing site, nectarine trees grow without much care or maintenance.
Growth and Care
Both nectarine and peach trees increase the aesthetic value of the yard with their green foliage and beautiful blossoms in springtime. Based on the cultivar type, the flowers are light to dark pink in color. As per the required growing condition, you need to select the best planting location for the trees.
Planting Site and Soil Preparation
Moderately warm areas and autumn months are perfect to grow these trees. If your area gets heavy frost, consider planting them in the spring. The best growing site is a fully sunlit area. The soil should be well-drained and rich in humus. For heavy garden soil, you can supplement sandy soil and a heavy dose of organic fertilizer before planting the saplings.
As nectarine trees are self-pollinating, there is no need for adjacent trees. Hence, you can plant single trees or groups of trees if you like. To plant a tree, dig the soil to about 10-12 inches deep. Make sure the hole diameter is larger than the root ball size. Carefully place the tree without damaging the roots, fill the hole with soil, and water deeply.
Providing enough water during the peak growing season is crucial. In the young stages, staking the trees is imperative to avoid damage by strong winds. In spring and summer, you can apply a good quality fruit tree fertilizer in a proper dose. Follow the directions given on the fertilizer package. You can lay a layer of organic mulch to conserve soil water.
Yearly pruning is a major step in maintaining healthy trees. Mark the dead branches, diseased twigs, and very old branches. Gather correct garden tools and cut the twigs very close to the main stem.
Remove the central part while retaining the side branches (in a vase-like shape). This will make space for developing flower buds. Also, it will allow for sunlight penetration, which is ideal for fruit bearing.
Exposing the trees to prolonged stress conditions will trigger the onset of disease infestations. Destructive pests that you should be careful about include the stink bug, tree borer, June beetle, tarnished plant bug, Japanese bug, and red mite. Common nectarine tree diseases are leaf curl, powdery mildew, bacterial spot, and root rot.