Tropic Snow Peach
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 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.
- 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.
Tropic Snow Peach Fruit Season:
- 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.
- 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:
- 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/
Tropic Snow Peach Tree Care
- The Tropic Snow Peach tree does best with rich-loamy, slightly acidic, well draining soil.
- The typical alkaline native California and Florida soil will result in numerous micronutrient deficiencies such as iron and zinc. Therefore, it is beneficial to dig a big planting hole and back fill with a rich well draining soil mixture.
- Click here to see my 6/9/13 post on the best planting technique to avoid transplantation shock.
- 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.
- 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).
- The Tropical Snow Peach is self-fruitful (meaning you only need one tree to get fruit).
- The main pollinators are bees.
- 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?”
- For detailed information on tree pruning, check out my article, Tree Pruning Techniques.
- 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)
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.”
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Texas Agriculture Extension has a lot of info on some specific peach diseases if you would like to read more.