Florida Prince Peach
Florida Prince Peach tree overview:
The Florida Prince Peach is one of a select group of peaches that does very well in Southern California. This is a precocious very early-season peach.
The Florida Prince Peach tree produces beautiful aromatic fruit. The skin has a wonderful red blush with faint red stripes that covers most of the skin with a background splash of yellow/orange. The flesh is golden and semi-freestone. The fruit is a bit smaller than your typical grocery store peach.
So far the taste is a bit variable; some of the fruit is really awesome and other fruit picked at the same time is a bit on the bland side. I am not sure why the taste is so inconsistent, perhaps it is the young age of the trees I currently have. Overall, there seems to be a narrow window of ripeness. So you have to kindof keep an eye on them and pick them when they are just slightly soft to the touch. They don’t seem to keep well, so you have to eat them right away.
Like any peach, you have to pick out/remove a lot of the developing fruit from the branches while they are still small. If you don’t aggressively thin out the young fruit, you will be left with a tree full of tiny fruit instead of larger more desirable fruit. For more information about thinning peach fruit, check out my short article titled “It’s time to thin developing peach fruit” http://tastylandscape.com/2013/04/23/25/
- May to early June.
- The tree is precocious: It is not uncommon for the Florida Prince to bear fruit in the second year of life.
- The Florida Prince Peach is a small but fast growing tree which can reach up to 15ft in height.
- I planted small bare root whips about 1.5 years ago and they have grown 4x the original size.
- For best success, plant bare root trees in the fall or winter.
- The tree needs dedicated pruning which is best done Dec-Feb.
The tree does best with rich-loamy, slightly acidic, well draining soil. The more organic composted soil you use the better. The typical alkaline native California and Florida soil will result in numerous micronutrient deficiencies such as iron and zinc.
Peaches need regular deep watering. Aggressive mulching helps retain soil moisture. However, when mulching any tree, leave a few inches of space at the base of the trunk free from much.
- Complete fertilizer at bud break (sometime around March)
- This is an ideal peach for mild winter areas. It only requires 150 chill hours (total hours per winter below 45 degrees). I have read that the tree will be injured in the dry desert heat.
- Another great low chill choice for Southern California is the Red Baron Peach. Here is a link to an article I recently wrote about that peach. http://tastylandscape.com/2013/04/24/red-baron-peach/
- For more information about the lowest temperatures that you can expect in your area, check out my article “Climate Zones: What can I grow in my yard?”
- For detailed information on tree pruning, check out my article, Tree Pruning Techniques.
- A major pest for any peach tree is peach leaf curl. This is a fungus that makes the leaves look warty and disfigured. This results in a less-healthy and less-productive tree. It can also damage adjacent fruit making the fruit shriveled up and small.
- To combat peach leaf curl, apply antifungal spray just before bud break and at leaf drop. I use copper antifungal spray, but there are other alternatives.
- Peach leaf curl is a bigger problem in damp areas or in areas with a very rainy spring. Some gardeners have trained their trees in a thin fan-shape along a south facing wall/under an eve to promote dry leaves and reduce the incidence of peach leaf curl infection.
- Reapplying sprays may be necessary in areas with frequent rainfall during bud break.
- Adding horticultural oil to the antifungal spray helps the antifungal meds to stay on the leaves in particularly rainy areas/time of the year. The oil in the spray mix will also help also combat other pests such as scale.
- For some additional information about dealing with peach leaf curl, check out my post “Peach Leaf Curl: A complete treatment plan” http://tastylandscape.com/2013/04/24/how-to-treat-peach-leaf-curl/
- I have also discovered snails to be a problem for the fruit. Snails usually come in at night and eat the skin off of ripening fruit. Pruning to keep the branches strong and upright (away from the ground) will definitely help.
- Like many living in California, I am surrounded by gophers. Therefore, I cage tree roots at planting.
Anything you would use any other peach for. Enjoy them out of hand, in pies, tarts, jam, etc.
- It took over 45 years for researchers at the University of Florida (with the help of local Florida growers) to create this warm climate peach.
- It can be grown all the way down to Miami.
- AKA: FlordaPrince and Prince Peach.