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How to Grow (Start) Peach Tree from Peach Pit  RSS feed

 
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I compost every single thing that comes out of my kitchen that's compostable, and I can't bring myself to put peach pits into my compost pile, nor I can I bear the idea of throwing them away.  Sure, it's a OCD situation, but there are worse ways of being crazy.

Anyways, I have about 50 peach pits I've saved over the years, plus a handful of fresh ones.  Theoretically I know peach trees come from peach pits, but exactly how to make that happen.  Devil/details, etc...

So I think "Let's replicate nature and FREEZE them.", but then I think that might ruin them.  Or dry them out first?  If so, why?  Or could I take a fresh peach pit, drop it in some dirt and wait for it to sprout?  If so, how long does it take?

I don't like any of the online sites I find because they seem formulated (like eHow), probably written by people that didn't know anything about anything, but instead skimmed someone else's dubious information and wrote a synapsis, which I'm then expected to follow.  Nope.  Don't want to plant a bunch of pits and then wait for months to find out nothing is ever going to happen.  Would prefer to get the "how to" information from someone that's actually done it.

When I was a kid in elementary school, we suspended some seed-or-other in water and watched it "germinate".  Can't remember what kind of seed.  Not certain it was just water.  Maybe fortified with something like "Miracle Grow"?

Anyways, people could get some sense of the mind that's asking this probably very basic question.  I'll find 1,000 different ways to do it the wrong way unless someone gives me clear directions with some idea of why it needs to be a certain way, and not another.  The "freezing or drying" question is my biggest one.  Also "dirt vs. water", "fresh vs. aged" pits, and "how long from planting to germination.

I live in South Texas, in case I actually get something to sprout, and I've read a bit of information on "cross pollination", etc... but I think the 1st step is to get something growing.  Assume it will take years before anything bears fruit.  Thought about making sprouts (seedlings, whatever the correct word is) and then giving them away, or even selling them.  I'm just beginning to develop some interest in "growing things", and right now I'm in the "keeping my wife's houseplants from dying" stage.  Discovered Miracle Grow about 2 weeks ago, and was amazed at how pale & sickly-looking plants suddenly had dark green leaves.  Usually they just withered away and died.  So now I'm motivated to try planting peach pits, if possible.  Any help appreciated, and thanks in advance.
 
garden master
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The ideal method is to go out in the fall (before the first frost) and play squirrel, what I mean by that is that you will take your peach pits and go plant them in the soil (plant as deep as the pit is tall) then mark that spot somehow so you will know where you planted.
Dig the hole then lay the pit on its side and cover with the soil. (I use surveyor flags to mark tree seeds)
From that point, just walk away, you will come back the next spring to see how many germinated.

Peaches grown in tree nurseries are placed in buckets of moist sand and set in a walk in fridge for 60 days to stratify them, this fridge is not a constant temp but it is moved from 30 f to 45f every so often so nature is mimicked.
It is far easier to just let nature do this step for you and just as reliable.
The freeze, thaw, freeze, thaw cycle allows the germ to split open the pit in the spring so it can grow into a peach tree.

The ideal time to plant a peach pit is after the peach has been eaten.
If you happen to get  some peaches that are too ripe to eat, just dig a shallow pit and place the whole peach in the pit and pull the soil back around the rotting peach.
Nature will do the rest for you.

That elementary school tree seed was most likely an avocado pit and it was suspended by tooth pick in a glass of water, no additives needed.
 
Tyrone White
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:The ideal method is to go out in the fall (before the first frost) and play squirrel, what I mean by that is that you will take your peach pits and go plant them in the soil (plant as deep as the pit is tall) then mark that spot somehow so you will know where you planted.
Dig the hole then lay the pit on its side and cover with the soil. (I use surveyor flags to mark tree seeds)
From that point, just walk away, you will come back the next spring to see how many germinated.

Peaches grown in tree nurseries are placed in buckets of moist sand and set in a walk in fridge for 60 days to stratify them, this fridge is not a constant temp but it is moved from 30 f to 45f every so often so nature is mimicked.
It is far easier to just let nature do this step for you and just as reliable.
The freeze, thaw, freeze, thaw cycle allows the germ to split open the pit in the spring so it can grow into a peach tree.

The ideal time to plant a peach pit is after the peach has been eaten.
If you happen to get  some peaches that are too ripe to eat, just dig a shallow pit and place the whole peach in the pit and pull the soil back around the rotting peach.
Nature will do the rest for you.

That elementary school tree seed was most likely an avocado pit and it was suspended by tooth pick in a glass of water, no additives needed.



Bryant,
Thanks for the fast response.

I'd like to start the pits in small pots, maybe dixie cups or something, and then transfer those that germinate "somewhere else".  I have dogs, and very poor caliche soil, and I don't think simply dropping them in the dirt is a viable option. 

Is it possible to do some sort of variation on the 5-gallon bucket method, only using smaller containers?  Also you said "walk in fridge", but then you said "freeze, thaw, freeze, thaw...".  Couldn't I just put the seeds in the freezer and THEN plant them?  Or, at least put the seeds into paper cups, and then put the cups in the freezer.  Seems to me that freezing and thawing over say a week's time would be faster than waiting all winter.  It rarely freezes here in South Texas, maybe twice in ten years, on average.  If I can plant them right after they are eaten, then I assume that allowing them to dry provides no benefit?

Out of 50 peach pits, how many (what percentage) do you think would germinate?
 
gardener
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Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
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Peach pits are extremely forgiving. Across the driveway from the house I live in now, there’s a whole grove of peach trees. I mow and prune them, but they are in terrible sand and construction rubble and buried burn barrel garbage and Oklahoma red dirt, under some taller trees. They volunteered from rodent-distributed pits exposed by mowing and clearing and brush removal. Originally, there was one tree that grew from where people would chuck their pits from the driveway. It was dead and fallen when I got here, but the Johnson Grass and multifloral rose and new peach seedlings from its old fallen fruits were all about chest high...

Here’s a picture I took today. Most of the blossoms froze this spring so the few peaches on the tree are huge!
B34B2C5F-F9C0-4634-9507-1E57D0C32F38.jpeg
[Thumbnail for B34B2C5F-F9C0-4634-9507-1E57D0C32F38.jpeg]
Big peach
 
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You might find something helpful here  https://permies.com/t/23607/Propagating-Blood-cling-Peaches
 
pollinator
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If you want to start in pots, put them in the fridge, inside a ziploc bag. After the appropriate chill hours, they will sprout.

I haven't tried it first hand but it makes sense. The one drawback i can think of is confusion by the plant. If it sprouts and its not when nature would do it.....
 
Tyrone White
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Judith Browning wrote:You might find something helpful here  https://permies.com/t/23607/Propagating-Blood-cling-Peaches



Thanks for that.  It answered a question I had, but didn't ask yet, about whether or not you should try to "manually" crack the pits before planting.  The OP of the linked post that none of those that they cracked germinated, so that's one thing I'm not going to try.
 
Tyrone White
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wayne fajkus wrote:If you want to start in pots, put them in the fridge, inside a ziploc bag. After the appropriate chill hours, they will sprout.

I haven't tried it first hand but it makes sense. The one drawback i can think of is confusion by the plant. If it sprouts and its not when nature would do it.....



So back to the "refrigerator vs. freezer" question.  I like freezer because if the point is to crack the nut, the freezer seems more likely to do this, but then the freeze might damage some/most/all of the seeds inside (whatever the word is for the inner thing inside: "ovule?" I just looked this up on Wikipedia). Anyways, that's burning question number one, atm.  Because I'm motivated to get going on this.

As far as being out of sync with nature, etc... I'm really less concerned with actually growing peaches into trees as I am experimenting with getting the pits to germinate.  You have to understand I've been wrestling with the "Peach Pits in my Compost: Yes or No?" question for years.  It's really become an issue for me.  Humana told me they don't consider this grounds for PTSD and so they won't cover the Therapy, but still I maintain it's necessary.  So it's either paying for a Therapist out-of-pocket, or determining once and for all whether or not I can make something useful out of peach pits.  The sooner I find out, the less likely people are to see me featured on the Evening News.
 
wayne fajkus
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No reason you can't choose "D" all of the above.

It won't sprout while frozen. If you want to mimmick redhawks natural approach, go back and forth, finishing in the fridge.
 
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This all seems like a lot of work. I'm going to collect lots of unwanted fruit of the varieties i desire and dump it out where the animals will eat, poop, bury, and plant it.
 
Judith Browning
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Tyrone White wrote:

Judith Browning wrote:You might find something helpful here  https://permies.com/t/23607/Propagating-Blood-cling-Peaches



Thanks for that.  It answered a question I had, but didn't ask yet, about whether or not you should try to "manually" crack the pits before planting.  The OP of the linked post that none of those that they cracked germinated, so that's one thing I'm not going to try.



Hi Tyrone....I'm the OP in that thread and that was my experience that none of the cracked and removed kernels germinated although that works for others. 

I've had great luck just poking them in the ground different places though AND starting some in pots...all out doors so they go through a natural weather cycle.  In pots I keep them watered where as out in the garden/yard/etc I just let them be.  I've only tried dried out pits once that someone sent me.  I didn't get any germination but others do well starting them that way.

In an abundant year I threw out a lot of pits one august just on the edge of the woods, raked some leaves up over them and the next spring had a small peach tree explosion!  The next year was a great crop also and I decided to share them in my thread and that year the germination was poor...

I've always planted with the sharp pointy end up, stem end down...now that Redhawk mentioned laying them flat I want to try that....I suppose the time I just threw them out on the ground that is how they landed.

I think it sounds like you have plenty of peach pits to experiment with so just start planting a number of different ways and see what works for you in your climate....There is really no one way.

Just this week I planted the only four survivors (from late freezes here) from our tree that I started from seed five years ago.  Wonderful flavor and the possibility of more trees.........
 
pollinator
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Actually your problem is not putting the pits in the compost. Not hot compost but worm compost or slow compost does a good job of sprouting peach pits. That is how I got my three trees. I used the compost it wicking barrel planters and when I recognized the seedlings I let them grow with the other plants until the second year then transplanted them during the winter. They started producing fruit the 4th year.

I have this thing about not putting avocado seeds in the compost because they grow so well then get killed by the winter freeze. I also don't compost berry seeds because they seem to grow even after going through the steam juicer; enough get planted going through the bird guts.
 
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In autumn, we put peach/nectarine seeds in a small bucket with damp sawdust, put a lid on it and leave the bucket out the back in the shade for the winter. Early spring we start looking and at the first sign of sprouting the bucket is emptied and sprouting seeds are either planted out or potted up. We have also sown seed direct and had reasonable germination, though sometimes not until the second spring. I have also cracked the pit, removed the seed and sown it. That works too, no stratification necessary.
Last year when spring rolled round we were too busy to do anything with the sprouting pits so dumped them all in a garden bed, just on top. Most died as they weren’t covered. One was buried by the pile and survived. It grew over 1.5m (5ft) in its first year. We call it frankenpeach!
 
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I did an experiment a few years ago with plum and apricot pits, mostly, but some peaches as well.  I had equal numbers of each type of pit divided into bags of soil.  The pits in each bag got a different treatment before being put into the fridge over the winter.  I found that for old pits, soaking them in water greatly increased the number that germinated.  I'm pretty sure the pits I cracked open before soaking (rather than soaking the whole pit) did the best.  I'm sorry, but I don't remember how long I soaked them for.  Old pits that got no treatment before going in the fridge had low germination rates.

It might not matter so much where you live, but if you put seeds in the fridge, sometimes they'll start sprouting once they've had the required amount of cold treatment.  For me, seeds sprouting when there's still a couple feet of snow on the ground is no good, so timing is important.
 
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Good timing on your post, Tyrone.   I have the same problem tossing peach and apricot pits in the compost - so I have a large bag of both and have wondered about sprouting them. 
A couple years ago I gathered bags of acorns and made acorn flour (it's a lot of work, but tastes great).  You have to put the acorns in water to determine keepers - the ones that float are bad.  A bunch of the acorns I soaked I didn't have room or time to process, so I just stuck them in the refrigerator and forgot about them.  Cleaning it out in the spring, I found about half had sprouted in the bag!  So I planted them and gave the away a bunch. (Lesson:  grasshoppers ate every one I planted - but neighbors with chickens still have theirs).   I'm guessing it'll be similar with the peaches, and I'm anxious to try it.  Thanks for the encouragement.
 
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My plan is to wait until this fall and plant all the peach, apricot, and other seeds I've collected during the year at just at and beyond the drip line of the existing trees and see what happens. The reasons I believe this will work:

1) There are little black walnut and oak trees in those areas all over the place.
2) That soil will be more fertile than any in open areas.

I also hope that I may hit upon some micro-climates that will shelter the peach blossoms from the late freezes we tend to have around here. The clearings tend to be circular with trees on three sides and not all the clearings face the same direction. So I will end up with pits planted with tree cover in various directions and at differing heights of the rolling hills.

Then if I run out of places to plant them (unlikely for me, but others might), we could consider testing out some peach pit jelly recipes.

Peach Pit Jelly Recipe
 
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I have grown many peaches here by simply allowing them to grow in the hedges where people throw out the pits . The problem is I use no chemicals or poisons on this farm and the brown rot and peach tree borer gets into all stone fruits .Its not easy to grow tree fruits in the humid climate of southern Delaware .Pears are easiest apples next but peaches are very iffy .I keep planting plums and peaches and hope eventually there will be more usable fruits I also grow a lot of berries and grapes .
 
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Tyrone White wrote:
Bryant,
Thanks for the fast response.



Hey Tyrone, I completely know what you mean about information overload and your brain running around in circles of mistrust and verification. I encourage you to heed the first response you got from Bryant.  Seems like it addresses all of your concerns.

For example, in regards to the drying out, he says that the ideal time is just after the peach is eaten or even while it is still a peach.  That makes sense to me.  No need to dry out peach pits.

One question: if you are hesitant to plant peach pits in your soil, how do you plan to grow your trees in it?
 
garden master
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David the Good has posted his method of sprouting peach trees at the Grow Network. He has pictures and video. Visual aids really help me in learning stuff.

https://thegrownetwork.com/germinate-peach-pits/
 
denise ra
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I currently live in the West but will be moving to Oklahoma next year. I decided to begin to collect seeds and pits from local fruit trees and groceries. Then I remembered that the cherry trees here have some kind of worm that scares the commercial growers! I had just collected some little cherry pits that still had the fruit dried on them. Do I need to call the extension agent and find out what fruits have bugs that I don't want to take to Oklahoma? If I only take the pits will I take diseases?
 
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