Growing Dwarf Nectarines

Latest Update 2nd October 2016.

Dwarf Nectarine Tree 
  • This year I skipped spraying my stone-fruit with lime sulphur again, but perhaps because of our wet gloomy winter and early spring, the leaf curl attack was more intense than last year and up to half the tree's leaves were affected.
  • As usual I had been religiously spraying my fruit trees with aerated compost tea every month, but the impact was inadequate and although I expect to get a crop this year, it looks like it may well be diminished.
  • By removing effected leaves every three or four days, the attack has been held, but at this point, the new growth has not yet become dominant.
  • It looks like I may need to revert to using lime sulphur next year.
  • In spring the soil should be generously top dressed with home made compost and mulched with straw to maintain fertility.
  • Nectarines benefit from careful pruning in summer to encourage the set and quality of fruit the following year.
Details.
  • Family Group:                                                  Prunus.
  • Garden bed type:                                              Ring drip line irrigated bed.
  • Recommended soil pH:                                     6.0 - 7.0.
  • Plant Spacings (centres):                                  2m.
  • Self Pollinating.
  • Good Companions:                                           Hellebore, Tansy, Lavender, Strawberry.
  • Climate:                                                           Warm Temperate.
  • Geographic Hemisphere:                                   Southern. 
Nutrition.
  • This food is very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. 
  • It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Niacin and Potassium, and a very good source of Vitamin C.
  • More from nutrition data.self.com. 
Growing Conditions:
  • Full sun. 
  • Minimise soil disturbances including digging to maintain a natural soil structure.
  • Do not allow the soil to dry out completely.
Feed the Soil
  • Remove mulch, dead leaves and fallen branches from the previous year in September and put them in your compost heap.  Don't put diseased material in the heap unless you are making hot compost achieving 65 deg C to kill off pathogens.
  • Apply a 60mm top dressing of home made compost and cover with straw mulch.  Keep it clear of the tree's trunk to prevent collar rot.
Growing Instructions
  • Propagate Nectarines by taking soft wood cuttings and grafting them onto a suitable root stock.
  • Lightly prune Nectarine trees in November and reduce fruit numbers to improve size and quality.
  • Prune again in late Summer after the fruit has been harvested.  Cut the current years growth back by half its length.  Cut out any damaged, dead or diseased branches.  (Click to see Demo).
  • Sterilise your secateurs before cutting into living tissue on any plant.
Harvesting and Storage
  • Pick from the tree when the fruit is ripe in summer.
  • Preserve your surplus in glass preserving jars.  
  • Poach them in sugar syrup, pack them in the jars and sterilise them in a pressure cooker
  • Store them on shelves in a cool shady place in the utility room.
Organic Pest Control.
  •  Leaf Curl.
    • Apply a foliar spray of aerated compost tea at the pink bud stage.
    • Repeat foliar sprays every month until leaf fall.  Thoroughly spray the newly set fruit in November.
    • After the tree has lost its leaves in autumn, spray it with lime sulphur to control the development of fungi.
    • Just before bud burst in spring, spray the tree again with lime sulphur. 
    • If the tree becomes affected with leaf curl, remove all the affected leaves as disease appears on them.  Dispose of the leaves in your rubbish bin in plastic bags. 
    • Remove rotting fruit, old mulch and decaying vegetation in autumn.
  • Greenhouse whitefly.  
    • Aerated compost tea foliar spray toughens foliage against whitefly damage. 
    • Control any serious infestations by spray your crop thoroughly with organic horticultural oil (Eco-oil in Australia) as early in their life cycle as possible.  
    • Continue spraying regularly during the warmer months to keep the whitefly under control.
  • Birds.
    • Use exclusion netting to keep flying pests away.
  • General.
    • Regular applications of aerated compost tea boost the natural defences of nectarines by colonising the leaf surfaces with beneficial microbes.  They defend the plant against airborne pests and diseases.
    • Similarly, proper soil preparation including regular applications of home made compost boosts the community of beneficial microbes, which defend the tree's roots against plant pathogens.