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Growing Peach Trees from Seed Naturally

 
gardener
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Update on the peach preserves detailed above:

Here it is six months later. The preserves have retained their fabulous flavor, but they are losing color, and going a bit greyish at the top of the jars. I think that might be 1) It's oxidation, so less headroom in the jar (the airspace in the top) might help. or 2) because I added no sugar at all. Probably adding lots of sugar preserves it all better.

Well I don't mind the greyish color enough to consider adding sugar to the preserves next year. I'm happy as they are.

Also I did plant 30 peach pits in a garden bed so I can maybe graft the yummy scions onto the baby trees and give them to friends. In fall, we saved the pits from eating fresh peaches (not the blanched peaches for preserves). I packed them with soil in a container with drainage holes, kept it damp, and put it in a shady spot in my greenhouse where it would get cold, below freezing every night, but not bitter cold, and would suffer some irregular temperature swings (which I think are good for stratifying seeds). Then in early April I prepared a garden bed and sowed 30 of them there, discarding the extras. They'd turned black in the soil but hadn't split open yet. I hope I remember to update you on the germination rate.
 
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May Lotito wrote:Now what do I do with the dead dry shoots? Do I need to prune them all off?



You can prune them off if you can easily do it, but I've had the same happen to mine, and I just left them, and they were fine.
 
Steve Thorn
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I had about 20 peach seedlings sproutimg this year, and we had a pretty unusual hard late freeze this year, and it appears to have killed all of them unfortunately.
 
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I had three seedling peaches growing in front of my first home. They were small (around 2" in diameter) but extremely juicy and sweet. I would cut one down every year to use as smoking wood, and it would bounce back as a coppice and set fruit two years later. This way I always had at least one or two setting fruit.

As far as growing them on purpose from pits, I never really had any luck. I usually get them on accident. I compost the pits and they would periodically make appearances in my beds. I had one sprout this year in between my oregano and thyme. I plan on transplanting it to my orchard and then chip budding it onto one of my established trees next year.
 
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Location: Rural Pacific Northwest, Zone 8
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I just found ten or so sprouted pits in the compost and potted them up. We’ll see what happens.
 
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I planted a donut peach pit in ground last year and in late March a seedling emerged duely. I learned the lesson from the previous seed-grown peach tree for letting it branch out too low, so I bud-pruned this one until it's at least 1.5 ft tall. It puts out at least 8 side shoots after I stopped rubbing off the buds. It looks quite top heavy but it made it though some storms with damaging winds without any problem.

I keep the central leader of this tree but I plan on growing an open vase shaped seedling tree through bud pruning next time, keeping branches in 1-2-3 or 1-5-9 positions.
20230718_075320.jpg
Donut peach seedling held back branching till 1.5 ft tall
Donut peach seedling held back branching till 1.5 ft tall
20230718_075349.jpg
Top view of the arrangement of side shoots
Top view of the arrangement of side shoots
 
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what's the best way to store peach seed that you collect throughout the summer? or should they be immediately planted? Or saved somehow to plant in a bed in fall or spring?
 
Bethany Brown
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Matt Dale wrote:what's the best way to store peach seed that you collect throughout the summer? or should they be immediately planted? Or saved somehow to plant in a bed in fall or spring?


Based on my experience, throw them in a shallow compost pile that includes lots of sawdust
 
Bethany Brown
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Steve Thorn wrote:My 18 month old peach tree last October with the its first fruit buds forming!


Wow it’s looking huge. I have a real healthy one that came up in compost in the middle of my garden. I tossed out tons of pits from canning last summer. Ended up mixing it all up with sawdust and chick poo. I got lots of peach seedlings this spring. Potted up several. Some are still out there, most looked starved but one is doing quite well, getting tall and leaves look dark green and healthy.
 
Bethany Brown
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I started with 10 peach seedlings that came up in my compost pile, I potted them up, three quickly died, I gave two away, one died after that. So I’m left with these 5. Two look pretty yellow. Should I cull those two or keep nursing them along?
B9F99E72-2C1C-4347-A2EB-01140FCAB77F.jpeg
peach seedlings
 
May Lotito
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Bethany Brown wrote:I started with 10 peach seedlings that came up in my compost pile, I potted them up, three quickly died, I gave two away, one died after that. So I’m left with these 5. Two look pretty yellow. Should I cull those two or keep nursing them along?



The yellowing is likely from the lack of nitrogen in the potting soil, which is common when the nutrients leach out from watering. Give them nitrogen rich fertilizer and the leaves will turn green again. Do you plan on keeping the saplings potted or they will be planted in ground?
 
Bethany Brown
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May Lotito wrote:

Bethany Brown wrote:I started with 10 peach seedlings that came up in my compost pile, I potted them up, three quickly died, I gave two away, one died after that. So I’m left with these 5. Two look pretty yellow. Should I cull those two or keep nursing them along?



The yellowing is likely from the lack of nitrogen in the potting soil, which is common when the nutrients leach out from watering. Give them nitrogen rich fertilizer and the leaves will turn green again. Do you plan on keeping the saplings potted or they will be planted in ground?


I have given them all some light liquid fertilizer. Can’t remember if I put granular fertilizer in when I planted. I will try some more and see how they do. I’m planning to stick them in the ground at some point, probably this fall. Thanks for the input.
 
gardener
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Some years ago i noticed peach trees popping up easily. When i had a bumper crop i collected loads of seeds and planted them all.
They've ended up functioning as a wind block.
Not because i wanted to, but they were the only trees to survive the drought record summers.
Finally after years of beautiful flowers and early frost killing off fruits they have come this wet and cold year, fruities.
Not very big, but i'm happy with the F1 seeds as well to landrace the peaches.

The child of a farmer friend knows i do trees and collected loads of differing seeds. We'll plant them this fall together to get this adventure of peach growing into a next phase.
Nice for him to see trees are fun too, not only the snailfarm he has set up.
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Bethany Brown
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Hugo Morvan wrote:Some years ago i noticed peach trees popping up easily. When i had a bumper crop i collected loads of seeds and planted them all.
They've ended up functioning as a wind block.
Not because i wanted to, but they were the only trees to survive the drought record summers.
Finally after years of beautiful flowers and early frost killing off fruits they have come this wet and cold year, fruities.
Not very big, but i'm happy with the F1 seeds as well to landrace the peaches.

The child of a farmer friend knows i do trees and collected loads of differing seeds. We'll plant them this fall together to get this adventure of peach growing into a next phase.
Nice for him to see trees are fun too, not only the snailfarm he has set up.



Hugo, that’s awesome! I’ve been tossing seeds along the edges of my property and may or may not have dropped a few along the roadside on vacant properties.
 
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We have a nice little peach tree that my son claims to have planted with his friend when they were little by spitting pits all summer into my herb garden Its just by my door in an inconvenient place.  I kept meaning to move it but never got around to it and then it got to be too late. It’s a sight to behold in the spring, a beautiful pink cloud. It sets fruit nicely but just as they should be ripening the fruits start to rot. It happens to just about every fruit so we get no yield. They say that peach trees down here in NC require lots of different sprays. I wonder if there would be a way to protect the fruits.
IMG_2763.jpeg
peach tree grown from a pit
 
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It sounds as though your tree may have brown rot, a fungal disease.

This year I have started to spray my trees with diluted wood vinegar from bud burst then every two weeks.

When the blossoms open, I spray in the evenings when the bees are no longer about.

The spores over winter on the tree so it's important to gather all windfalls and not leave any rotten fruit on the tree.

Pruning the tree to keep it open and thinning the fruit also helps to reduce the brown rot by allowing good airflow.

If you notice any fruit with small bruises, pick them immediately before the rot sets in.

Good luck, it is heart breaking to lose all your fruit to brown  rot.
 
Rebecca Norman
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Posting an update on my ten peach trees grown from seed.

In spring 2023 we got a late snow that fell on fruit tree blossoms, so the village I'm in got no apricots this year. My oldest peach tree, that set hundreds of fruit last year ended up with only 15 fruits. The two next trees to produce also produced 15 fruits each, but seem to be results of seeds from crummy tasteless local varieties, and were not very flavorful, and very pale yellow drab color.

Also it was a very chilly and cloudy summer, so they had not ripened on the trees by first frost in early October, so we had to bring them in and ripen them indoors. So even the good tree that was so delicious and productive last year wasn't as sweet or juicy this year.

Also I heard bad news, that a friend in the same region said all their peach trees got some kind of leaf curl problem and didn't produce this year. My peach trees all get aphids and some of their leaves curl up from the aphids, but so far it hasn't seemed to cause actual damage to the fruiting or the survival of the tree.
 
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My recommendation for any root borne issues to graft your peach scion to American/Chickasaw plum rootstock. They are adapted to most of the US and are naturally only get around 12 ft tall. The main issues we have with peaches in my area is early flowering and plum curculio. Both decimate peach harvests. My wife and I are fixing to establish a new orchard and we'll be looking for peach cultivars that bloom as late as possible.
 
Hugo Morvan
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Rebecca. Leaf curl doesn't always have to be so bad. My neighbor came, noticed it on m'y tree and said all my peaches would fall off and thé leaves as well. I had to chop thé tree down and burn it.
Some leafs fell, grew back, but thé  fruit was and is fine.
I'm not sûre if i'm lucky or if people exagerate diseases some times.
I like to think in evolutionary terms, why would a disease kill thé host and it's siblings? Usually diseases evolve towards co-existence. Make as many other trees ill.
Thé only species expecting to kill, chop down and poison everything while flourishing is humanity.
Aphids attracted many predator insects into my garden. Was a good one to have.
Apparently i'd used too much wee as fertiliser on thé tree.
 
May Lotito
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This year we had a wierd fall weather with wide fluctuations from the average. Luckily the large peach tree went into dormancy early and before a record low hard freeze hit on Halloween, there were very few green leaves left. The remaining few on the tips turned crunchy and fell off a few days later. But in general I feel the blooms next year will be great due to early dormancy and a warmer winter in forcast.

The donut peach sapling gave me a big surprise. Without any protection all its leaves seemed unharmed by the 20 F freeze. It continues the senescence slowly and is just gradually dropping the older leaves by now. I am curious to see if it's flowering time will be different than the yellow peach.
20231103_100312.jpg
Early dormancy for yellow peach this year
Early dormancy for yellow peach this year
20231103_112158.jpg
Donut peach sapling after 4 freezing nights
Donut peach sapling after 4 freezing nights
20231103_100256.jpg
Unknown peach sapling #3 lost green leaves after hard freeze
Unknown peach sapling #3 lost green leaves after hard freeze
 
                            
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It sounds like your preserves are holding up well flavor-wise, even though they're changing color a bit. It's fascinating to hear about your experiments with peach pits! Your method for stratifying the seeds sounds well thought out. I'd love to hear how the grafting process goes and how many of the peach pits germinate. Keep me posted! Here are some cool tips for how to grow peach from seed: https://gardenupcycle.com/how-to-grow-a-peach-seed/
 
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