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Tropic Snow Peach Tree Care

Tropic Snow Peach

(Prunus persica)

Best white peach

Tropic Snow Peach ready to pick

 

Tropic Snow Peach tree overview:

The Tropic Snow Peach is one of a select group of peaches that does very well in Southern California.  This is a delicious early-season peach.

Tropic Snow Peach Fruit appearance: 

  • The Tropic Snow Peach skin is yellow with a blush of red.  The flesh is white and freestone.  The fruit is a medium sized and just a tad smaller than the size of a typical grocery store peach.
Tropic Snow Peach size

Tropic Snow Peach size

Tropic Snow Peach taste: 

  • This is now one of my favorite peaches.
  • Many say this is the best ‘white peach’ for warm climates (aka; the best low-chill white peach).
  • The fruit is very juicy, mildly aromatic and has a bright flavor that is sweet and a slightly tart.
  • The flesh is melting and the skin is so thin it is hardly noticeable. There is a very small amount of peach-fuzz on the skin.
  • Warning: If you ever have one of these wonderful peaches, you will never be satisfied with a grocery store peach again. Therefore, eat with caution.
Tropic Snow Peach sliced

Fresh Tropic Snow Peach cut in half

Food uses: 

  • Use the Tropic Snow Peach for anything that you would use any other peach for.
  • Enjoy them out of hand, in pies, tarts, jam, etc.
  •  Yum!

Tropic Snow Peach Fruit Season: 

When ripe:

  • Tropic Snow Peaches ripen around mid-May in Southern California.
  • However, the different fruit on the tree ripen at different times of the season.  This is great for the home gardener because you are not forced to harvest all of the peaches at once. Therefore, you can eat fresh fruit off the tree for several weeks.

Ripeness indicators:

  • The fruit will be slightly soft to the touch when optimally ready to pick.  I find that touch is a more useful marker of ripeness than color.  For example, sometimes the fruit will be ready to eat and the yellow part of the skin will still have a tinge of green.
  • I have also noticed that when the fruit is super-optimally ripe, the fruit can get water stained. What I mean by that is if the fruit gets wet, that area on the fruit will turn tan/brown (I have not read about this anywhere, just my observations).  I have added a picture below of some fruit that was perfectly ripe when it rained and the drips of water left a trail on the fruit. Fruit on other parts of the tree that were not as ripe did get water stained. Sure, this is ugly, but do not discard these fruit just because of these superficial marks… The fruit are super tasty at this point.

Tree age for fruiting:

  • The tree is precocious.
  • It is not uncommon for the Tropic Snow to produce fruit in the second year of life.

Thin out the fruit:

Tropic Snow Peach ready to pick

Tropic Snow Peach ready to pick

Water marks on ripe Tropic Snow Peaches

Water marks on some other ripe Tropic Snow Peaches

 

 Tropic Snow Peach Tree Care

Soil:

Water:  

  • Peaches need regular deep watering.
  • Aggressive surface mulching covering the root zone helps to retain soil moisture in the hot summer.  However, when mulching any tree, leave a few inches of space at the base of the trunk free from much.
  • This tree does not tolerate flooding or standing water.

Sun: 

  • Full
Tropic Snow Peach hanging from branch

Tropic Snow Peach hanging from branch

Fertilization:  

  • Give a complete fertilizer at bud break (sometime around March).
  • Many recommend that peaches get 1/2 pound of dry fertilizer spread around the root zone for each year of the trees life, (with up to 5 pounds total for a full size tree).

Pollination:

  • The Tropical Snow Peach is self-fruitful (meaning you only need one tree to get fruit).
  • The main pollinators are bees.
Tropic Snow Peach flowers

Tropic Snow Peach flowers

Temperature:  

  • This is an ideal peach for mild winter areas.
  • The Tropic Snow Peach only requires 175 to 200 chill hours (total hours per winter below 45 degrees).
  • USDA Plant Hardiness Zones in the 6 – 10 range (depending on who you read).
  • Other great low chill peaches for Southern California include the Red Baron Peach and Florida Prince Peach.  Click on those links to read my articles on those trees.
  • 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?”

Tree Pruning:

Landscaping use:  

  • The Tropic Snow Peach is a medium sized deciduous tree which can reach up to 18ft in height.
  • For best success, plant bare root trees in the fall or winter.
  • The tree needs yearly dedicated pruning which is best done in the dormant season (winter) Dec-Feb. See my article on Pruning for more info.
  • The tree produces clusters of pink flowers around January/February in Southern California.
  • For planting, I have read some sources suggest a tree spacing of 15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)
Ripe Tropic Snow peach

Ripe Tropic Snow peach

Pests: 

Peach Leaf Curl:

  • A major pest for any peach tree is peach leaf curl. This is a fungus that makes the leaves look warty and disfigured and discolored.  This results in a less-healthy and less-productive tree.  The same/similar fungus can also attack the fruit causing it to drop early, shrivel up, and/or result in small fruit.
  • To combat peach leaf curl, apply antifungal spray at bud break and at leaf drop.  I use copper antifungal spray, but there are other alternatives.
  • Reapplying any topical antifungal spray may be necessary in areas with frequent rainfall during bud break.
  • Adding horticultural oil to the antifungal spray may 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 to combat other pests such as scale.
  • 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.  However, in Southern California this could fry your trees in the hot summer months.
  • For some additional information about dealing with peach leaf curl, check out my post Peach Leaf Curl: A complete treatment plan.”

 

 

 

Snails:

  • I have also discovered snails to be a problem for the fruit during particularly wet years.  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.  Some people have used electric snail fence to keep them away.  I wrote an article about how to create your own DIY electric snail fence if you want to check it out.

Gophers:

  • Like many living in California, I am surrounded by gophers.  Therefore, I cage tree roots at planting.  Gopher cages are easy to build and you can read more about that in my quick article on how build a gopher cage.

Birds, raccoons and squirrels;  oh my:

  • As with just about any fruit, birds raccoons and squirrels will raid your crop.
  • I have been using inexpensive solutions such as bird scare tape and mylar pinwheels with great success. The key is to out these scare tools up just before and at the harvest season.  If you put them up for too long the critters will get more useto them.
  • For more information dealing with squirrels, check out a recent article I wrote about how to deal with and get rid of squirrels.
Keep animals off fruit

Animal, Bird Scare tape for peaches

8/23/14 Peach Disease Update: 

A very nice reader, Stephane has recently asked about her Babcock peach in the comment section below. She is concerned because her 3 year old peach tree produces small fruit that shrivel up and fall.  She has provided some pictures that I have added at the bottom of this page.

If you have ideas for Stephane, please add your diagnostic or treatments insights in the comments section below.

My thoughts:

  • It looks like the limb that has the shriveled fruit is also missing leaves.  In addition, that leafless limb looks a bit dehydrated, like it is dead.  There are some leaves on the plant that look fine and there are others leaves on a branch that are yellowing and look scorched/brown at the ends.
  • All of this suggests limb dieback.  This can happen to any plant and can be caused from a variety of diseases. Major causes include fungal and bacterial infections.  Sometimes it just happens for no apparent reason.  None the less, this could be trouble for any tree because it has the potential to spread. It can also kill a tree. Sometimes a gummy goo (gummosis) can be seen on the branches associated with this dieback, and the look of that gummy goo can help lead to the specific diagnosis. However, I dont happen to see any gummy goo on the images you provided.

So what do you do about this?

  • Unfortunately limb dieback can be deadly no matter what you do. Specific fungal or bacterial treatment (once you know the exact cause) might help. But antifungal and bacterial treatments are usually best used as preventative measures.  You could call your local extension office and they may be willing to do some testing for you… Could cost 20-30 bucks.   Knowing what the problem is might also help you prevent other trees in your yard from getting the same disease… that might be in the soil etc.  All of that being said, sometimes branches just die back and the plant just puts out more branches.

If it was me.

  • I would first think about how I could reduce the trees stress (some of these infections primarily happen to stressed out/weak trees).  Think about the watering (is it too much or too little), etc.  I would also prune the sick branches back to healthy wood. Keep cutting till you see healthy green bark all the way around the branch. Be sure to sterilize your trimmers before and after use them so you dont spread disease.

Overall prevention is your best bet.

  • If you can find out what the cause is then you can prevent it from happening to other plants.  Select healthy plants from the beginning, plant them in the right healthy, rich soil that is well draining, reduce stress, water deeply and regularly, etc.

Side note:

  • I also noticed on one of the images that you might have some sticky tape or tangle foot on the trunk. Tanglefoot is awesome, but you want to make sure you dont get it directly on the bark.  Tanglefoot directly on the bark can damage the bark, reduce the effectiveness of the food and water transport of the bark and open the tree up to infection.

Side-Side note:

like limb dieback

Stephane’s Babcock peach. Shriveled peach on branch. Looks to me like limb dieback.

peach limb dieback

Stephane’s Babcock peach. Yellowing and scorched leaves at the top branch. You can click to enlarge the image

Peach branch without leaves

Stephane’s Babcock peach. Few branches without any leaves

 

 

About Thomas Osborne, MD

Dr. Osborne is a Harvard trained Radiologist and Neuroradiologist who loves to share his insight about medicine and gardening.

21 comments

  1. Dr. Osborne,

    I have a different peach tree that has had an issue you might know and could help me with. For the last two years, the peaches grow to about the size of an olive and then suddenly shrivel up. Thereafter, no more peaches grow for the rest of the year. The tree still has good green leaves and looks normal and healthy. Would you happen to know what is the condition causing this and how it might be remedied?

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hi Stephane

      Thanks for the question.
      I am not exactly sure what the cause of your fruit shriveling challenge is.
      However, there are at least five possible causes to consider.

      1. Fungal infection such as ‘peach leaf curl” will also impact the adjacent fruit. However, in that situation the nearby leaves should also be discolored.

      2. Water stress can cause the plant to redirect moisture away from fruit.

      3. Young trees are not always able to support fruit and the fruit will be aborted.

      4. A sick or infected tree (scale, aphids, etc) will cause the tree to redirect energies away from fruit in order to survive.

      5. Nutrient deficiencies will not allow the tree to give the fruit the things it needs to develop.

  2. Dr. Osborne,

    I have had a Babcock peach tree for a few years but each year, it creates small fruit and then they shrivel up and fall. Does it mean the tree has aborted the fruit? It is a young tree. I have been following the fertilization method for feeding for the first six months of the year (similar to Pat Welsh’s recommendation). I am obviously doing something wrong. What would you suggest to do?

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Stephane
      Sorry to hear about your peaches
      A few possibilities come to mind.
      But first: what do the leaves look like? Are they all green, a bit orange/yellow or bubbly?
      Any issues with the bark or adjacent plants?
      Thanks,
      T

      • Dr. Osborne,

        The leaves are green and the wood burgundy to dark burgundy. Some leaves have some browning/redning but not much.

        • Thomas Osborne, MD

          Interesting
          Do you happen to have pictures?
          Thanks,
          Tom

        • Thomas Osborne, MD

          Hi Stephane
          I have added some thoughts for you at the bottom of the Tropic Snow Peach Tree Care article.
          Hope it helps!
          Best,
          Tom

          • Tom,

            Thanks so much for your time and advice. The tanglefoot is on a plastic wrap around the tree so it should not impact the bark.

            Last year, the same issue happened with the fruit. I suspect lack of thoroughly watering but not sure. I am always cautious of overwatering because of my clay soil. There is only so much I can dig out!

            Last year, I did have the googy goo and I cut the branches back. I also sprayed copper and dormant oil this January and have not seen it back. My guess is the watering.

            Thank you so much!

            Stephane

          • Thomas Osborne, MD

            Hi Stephane

            Good thought about poor watering.
            Poor watering can definitely stress out a plant.
            Stress can also make a plant susceptible to all sorts of diseases.
            Usually however, dehydration causes most of the plant to have problems (loose leaves etc). Just a few isolated branches would not be expected for global dry conditions.

            Clay soil:
            Clay is a real tough medium for most fruit trees.
            As you mentioned, it makes watering difficult, and many plants will struggle in clay to get the nutrients they need, etc.
            Peach trees love rich well draining soil-loam (refer to my article on Best planting technique: 7 important steps) for more info on a good soil technique.

            Plastic wrap:
            Plastic wrap can hold moisture resulting in chronic dampness on the trunk which can be deadly.
            I would pull that off today.

            Your fix:
            Knowing this additional information, (if it was me), I would do 3 things.
            1. Trim back all of the dead wood as discussed in the article response. I would also strongly consider having a diagnostic test preformed on the dead wood to make sure you are not missing something.
            2. Take off that plastic wrap today.
            3. In the winter, dig up the tree and start over using the planting method outlined in the “Best planting technique: 7 important steps” article. When you do this, inspect the roots for any abnormal knots, etc.

            If your tree survives till next year… you should start seeing much healthier growth in the spring.

            Best of luck,
            Tom

          • Tom,

            Thanks so much! I will get started today on this!!

            Stephane

          • Thomas Osborne, MD

            No problem.
            Your doing the right thing to ask about your plant.
            Good luck and keep us updated on how things go.
            Tom

          • Tom,

            Would you recommend that I add Mikos fungi to the other fruit trees by working it into the top soil as a way to help them? I have been quite Leary about adding bark mulch because o find it allows pill bugs and other insects to hide and damage trees.

            Also, do you recommend adding composted horse manure to fruit trees every year as top soil? If so, only in Winter when the trees are more dormant?

            Sorry for all the questions!

            Stephane

          • Thomas Osborne, MD

            Hey Stephane

            Beneficial fungi:
            I use beneficial fungi (mycorrhiza) on all of my plantings. There are a lot of benifits to this symbiotic relationship. So sure, adding it might help your sick tree. I usually sprinkle it on the exposed roots and in the planting hole at planting. However, for established plants, just gently push a snooth stick into the ground a few times around the root zone and pout it in. Once the mycorrhiza contact the roots, they should spread to the rest of the roots from there.

            Horse Manure:
            I have not personally used horse manure for my trees. I am not entirely opposed to it, just cautious. Two main reasons.
            1. Horse manure may contain a lot of salts… which can be a problem in low rainfall areas like Southern California. Our water is pretty hard to begin with (containing minerals-salts). In addition, because of our limited water, we usually dont drench and washout the soil with each watering. Therefore, salts will build up in the soil and cause leaf burn/scorch. Avocados are usually the most sensitive to this type of salty problem…, but most fruiting plants have some level of sensitivity.
            2. Some plants that a horse could eat may actually contain chemicals that are harmful to other plants. Plant chemicals may persist in the manure. Since I dont know what a horse or cow is eating, I am reluctant to put their manure around my beloved trees.

            Mulch:
            I personally think mulch is a great solution for your trees. They help with moisture, keep roots cool, and control weeds.
            The pill bugs are really not a problem for typical trees that are not seedlings.
            For the most part pill bugs eat decaying matter and contribute to the healthy soil environment.
            Here is a nice blurb about them (link below)
            http://extension.uidaho.edu/clearwater/files/2014/11/Homeowner-Guide-to-Pillbugs-and-Sowbugs.pdf.

            Also,
            Horse manure is actually pretty powerful fertilizer. Therefore, if I was to use it… I would use it in the spring (during the growth season) and not in the dormant season.

            Best,
            Tom

          • Tom,

            Thank you for your advice! I will dilute the composted horse manure and maybe only use it in the vegetable garden. Thank you so much!!!

          • Thomas Osborne, MD

            Your very welcome Stephane.
            Looking forward to hear about your progress.
            T

  3. I have a. Tropical peach tree planted 1 year ago not with white bumps on the bark. Wondering what this is.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hi Chris
      Thanks for the question.
      Do you happen to have pics you can post on some public social media site such as pintrest, Instagram, etc?
      Thanks,
      Tom

        • Thomas Osborne, MD

          Hey Chris
          Thanks for the pictures.
          And… yea, that ain’t right.

          Few questions pop into my head:
          Does the white stuff wipe off when you touch or rub it?
          Did it just pop up out of no where?
          Is it getting better, worse, same?
          Any other trees have the problem?
          Any other associated problems?
          Os it also on the leaves?

          Although I am not positive, the appearance reminds me of “woolly aphids.”
          If it is not “woolly aphids” then it could be a similar parasitic insect. If that is the cass then you might treat it the same way.
          Can you get any magnified views or can you see anything that looks like an insect hiding in there?

          Thanks

          • thanks for getting back to me.
            Yes the white stuff rubs off, it has started at the base and working up, getting worse, no other trees have the same issue. no toehr associated problems. not on the leaves…
            how do i treat or wooly aphids? they remind me of being wooly…
            thanks
            chris

          • Thomas Osborne, MD

            Interesting Chris

            I would really like to take a look at this stuff with a microscope or something.
            However, I don’t think it will hurt to treat it as if it was a bug infection and see if that works.
            (if it works it will be sort of a diagnosis and treatment in one, if it doesn’t work then we will go back to the drawing board.

            So lets assume it is a bug infection:
            There are several ways to treat wooly aphids (or parasitic bugs in general).
            One optional first step is to physically remove them with a paper towel soaked with diluted soapy water… the kind of soapy water you might wash dishes in.
            (soapy water can kill some bugs by itself but it often takes multiple attempts if you are only going to do this)

            Wipe off the white stuff with the paper towel and discard the cloth. Wash hands so you dont spread the infection to other plants.

            Then I would spray the rest of the branches with a blast of water… Careful not to have the blast of water spray other nearby plans because that can spread infection.

            Let it dry

            Then spray with some sort of bug killing juice.
            There are a lot of options for organic sprays and some work better for some bugs than other bugs.
            However, if you want a great general organic bug killing spray, I would use the mix I use for citrus leafminer. See article below for more info and that bug spray.

            Please let me know how it goes.
            T

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