Peach Tree Harvesting: When And How To Pick Peaches

By: Amy Grant

Peaches are one of the nation’s most beloved rock fruit, but it’s not always easy to know when a peach should be harvested. What are some of the indicators that it is time for picking peach fruit? Another question you may have is how to pick peaches correctly. Read on to find out.

Peach Tree Harvesting

Before even thinking about harvesting peaches, I hope that you have planted and cared for your peach tree correctly for optimal production. First off, when you bring the tree home from the nursery, open the wrapping from around the roots and soak them for 6-12 hours. Then plant your tree in soil that has been pre-prepared, raked to remove stones and debris and with a pH of 6.5. Set the tree at the same depth it was planted at the nursery and work the soil in around the roots. Tamp the soil down to remove air pockets. Water the tree well.

Mulch around the base of the trunk to aid in water retention and retard weed growth. Peach trees should be pruned with an open center system of pruning, which will allow the sun to penetrate and improve air circulation.

Keep the tree free from disease, insects and birds. Fertilize the peach with 1 cup (240 mL.) of a 10-10-10 food in March in a 3-foot (1 m.) area around the tree. In June and early August, broadcast ½ cup (120 mL.) of calcium nitrate over the 3-foot (1 m.) area. In the tree’s second year, fertilize the peaches twice a year in early March with 1 cup (240 mL.) of 10-10-10 per year of tree age. Then at the first of August, apply 1 cup (240 mL.) per year of the tree of calcium nitrate.

Now that you have a healthy peach tree, it’s time for the best part, peach tree harvesting.

How to Pick Peaches

The exact time to pick peaches is determined by the cultivar, but generally they are harvested from late June through August. Color is a great indicator of maturity. Peaches are ripe when the ground color of the fruit changes from green to completely yellow. Some of the newer peach varieties have a red tinge to the skin, but this is not a reliable barometer of ripeness.

There is a fine line when harvesting peaches. You want the fruit to hang on the tree long enough for the flavor and sugar content to peak, but not so long that it becomes overripe. Overripe fruit reduces storage time and increases the possibility of disease, insect and bird damage. Also, peaches will ripen in color, juiciness and texture off the tree, but will lack in flavor and sweetness.

The best indicator of the correct time for picking peach fruit is a taste test. Although lesser in flavor, slightly under ripe fruit can be harvested and ripened indoors in a paper bag if there is an immediate need to harvest due to weather. Clingstone or canning varietals are harvested when the fruit slips freely from the stem.

Peaches are not only delicious, but a great source of fiber, niacin, potassium and vitamin C. Once harvested, they will keep in the refrigerator or other cool area (31-32 degrees F./0 degrees C. with a 90 percent humidity) for about two weeks.

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Harvesting and Storing Tree Fruit

In order to obtain the highest quality fruit, apples, apricots, peaches, pears, and plums must be harvested at the proper stage of maturity. Once harvested, proper storage is necessary to maximize storage life.

The harvest period for apples varies from one cultivar to another. For example, ‘Jonathan’ apples are normally harvested in mid to late September. The harvest season for ‘Red Delicious’ apples is normally late September to early October. However, the harvest period for apple cultivars is strongly influenced by weather conditions during the growing season. Gardeners, therefore, should base the harvest time on the maturity of the apples rather than a specific calendar date.

There are several indicators of apple maturity. Mature apples are firm, crisp, juicy, well colored, and have developed the characteristic flavor of the cultivar. Red color alone is not a reliable indicator of maturity. ‘Red Delicious’ apples, for example, often turn red before the fruit are mature. Fruit harvested too early are astringent, sour, starchy, and poorly flavored. Apples harvested too late are soft and mushy.

When harvesting apples, pick and handle the fruit carefully to prevent unnecessary damage. Sort through the apples during harvest. Remove and promptly use bruised or cut apples. Also, remove apples which exhibit insect and disease problems. Separate the apples by size. Use the largest apples first as they don’t store as well as smaller fruit.

Once harvested and sorted, store the undamaged apples immediately. The temperature and relative humidity during storage are critical for maximum storage life. Proper storage conditions for apples are a temperature near 32 degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity between 90 and 95 percent. Apple cultivars, such as ‘Red Delicious,’ stored under optimum conditions may be stored up to 3 to 5 months.

Harvest apricots when the fruit develop their characteristic color and begin to soften. When ripe, the fruit of ‘Moongold’ are golden yellow. The ripe fruit of ‘Sungold’ and ‘Moorpark’ are yellow with an orangish red blush.

Handle the fruit carefully to prevent bruising. Ideal storage conditions for apricots are a temperature near 32 degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity of 90 to 95 percent. Properly stored fruit have a storage life of 1 to 2 weeks.

Harvest peaches when the base or ground color changes from green to cream or light yellow. (Most peach cultivars develop a reddish blush. However, the reddish coloration is not a good indicator of maturity.) Firmness is another sign of maturity. Ripe fruit are slightly less firm. Firmness can be determined by gently squeezing a fruit with your fingers. If a fruit gives slightly, it is ready to harvest.

When harvesting, handle the fruit carefully to prevent bruising. Store peaches immediately at a temperature of 32 degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity of 90 to 95 percent. Peaches can be successfully stored for 2 to 3 weeks.

Most pears grown in Iowa are of European origin or European pears. Popular cultivars include ‘Summercrisp,’ ‘Moonglow,’ ‘Barlett,’ and ‘Kieffer.’ European pears should not be allowed to ripen on the tree. If fruit are left on the tree to ripen, stone cells develop in the fruit, giving the pears a gritty texture. Tree-ripened fruit are also poorly flavored. Harvest European pears when the color of the fruit changes from a deep green to yellow green. Also, the small spots (lenticels) on the fruit surface change from white to brown. The fruit will still be firm, not soft, at harvest.

For immediate consumption, ripen European pears at room temperature. The ripening process should take 7 to 10 days. To speed up ripening, place the pears in a tightly sealed paper bag. The fruit give off ethylene gas, which accumulates in the bag and promotes ripening.

For long-term storage, refrigerate unripe pears at a temperature of 32 to 35 degrees Fahrenheit. European pears may be stored for 1 to 3 months. Remove stored fruit about one week prior to use.

Asian pears (sometimes referred to as apple pears because of their round shape and crisp, firm texture) can be successfully grown in the southern half of Iowa. Popular cultivars include ‘Chojuro,’ ‘Hosui,’ and ‘Shinseiki.’

Asian pears, unlike European pears, should be allowed to ripen on the tree. Color and taste are the best indicators of maturity. The skin color of most Asian pears changes from green to yellow when ripe. When the color change occurs, pick and sample a pear. Ripe fruit should be crisp, crunchy, and sweet. Harvest Asian pears when the fruit have the appropriate color and taste.

Asian pears can stored for 1 to 3 months at a temperature of 32 to 35 degrees Fahrenheit. However, Asian pears sometimes develop a strong, winy taste if stored for long periods

As plums approach maturity, the fruit develop their characteristic color. The fruit of European or domestic cultivars (‘Stanley,’ ‘Damson,’ and ‘Mount Royal’) change from green to greenish blue, then to dark blue or purple. The ripened fruit color of most hybrid plums (‘Underwood,’ ‘Alderman,’ ‘Toka,’ and ‘Superior’) varies from red to burgundy red. Color, however, should not be the sole basis for harvesting plums. As they ripen, plums begin to soften, especially at the tip end. They also develop their characteristic flavor.

Harvest and handle plums carefully. The fruit can be stored for approximately 2 to 3 weeks at a temperature of 32 degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity of 90 to 95 percent.

Approximate harvest times for tree fruit cultivars can be found in Pm-453 “Fruit Cultivars for Iowa.” Keep in mind that weather conditions during the growing season may hasten or delay fruit maturity.

Best Time To Harvest Peaches

Depending on the place they are grown and the variety of the peach, the time to harvest peaches can differ. Mostly they ripen mid-summer to late-summer. In the orchards located in southern US, they ripen in June and July while in the Northern parts they ripen in July and August. Peaches stop ripening once they are picked. Since all the peaches borne on the trees do not ripen simultaneously, the growers need to pick them almost every day during the harvesting season. Knowing the best time to harvest peaches can save a gardener a lot of trouble.

The best way to decide if the peach can be picked is to see how easily they come off the stem. When they can be pulled easily, they are considered ripe enough. Ripe peaches if left un-plucked will not ripen further. Instead they tend to get soft, and this ends up marring their taste. Another indicator of the ripeness is the softness of the pulp. When pressed by the thumb, if the pulp moves in they are considered ripe. Such peaches are ideal for consumption and canning as well.

An easier indicator of ripeness is the smell. The ripe ones will have a pleasant peachy smell while the green ones will not have any such smell.

Peaches come in colors like yellow and red. With experience growers identify ripe peaches by their color as well. While the golden rule is that green colored peaches are still raw, the change to yellow color indicates that they have ripened. Some varieties change from green to orange color while some become redder or remain with a mix of red and orange color with further ripening. Ideally, growers use all these indicators such as feel, stem strength and color to identify ripe peaches for harvesting.

Harvesting should be done cautiously in order to prevent damaging the delicate fruit. Wear cotton gloves, use soft finger pressure for plucking, pull the fruit straight fro the bush, use a shallow container with standing edge of В three to four inches to collect them, and do not heap the fruits in the container to avert damage to the peaches at the bottom.

When stored in room temperature, they can survive for up to two days. When stored in an environment with temperature controlled at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, they can last up to two weeks. For long term, one can freeze or can them.

  • Best Time To Harvest Peaches
  • Growing Peaches Organically
  • How To Freeze Peaches ?
  • How To Preserve Peaches ?
  • What Vitamins Are In Peaches ?
  • Which State Grows The Most Peaches ?

eHow: How to Harvest Peach Trees

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Organically cultivating peaches is challenging so not many attempt it. Most peach growers take on the so-called low-spray program, minimizing the use of pesticides and toxic fungicides. However, perseverance and knowledge about controlling diseases occurring in peach tree and pests can yield a good harvest of organic peaches. More..

Crop Harvest Calendar for Georgia

This page has a table below that tells when each fruit or vegetable is normally ready to be harvested Georgia! We also have a page with links to our own simple instructions on canning, freezing and drying many fruits and vegetables, such as how to make jam, apple butter, applesauce, spaghetti sauce, salsa, pickles, ketchup or freezing corn.

These are the typical, historical dates that crops are ready to be picked or harvested in Georgia. Of course, it varies a little bit every year, depending upon the weather and other conditions. Keep in mind that Georgia is a huge state with a very wide range of climates, so the early dates generally refer to the start in the southern part of the state and the latter date is the end of the crop in the north. Call ahead of the early date to the farm!

And if you want simple instructions how to make jam or how to make applesauce, just click here.

Pruning of peaches is more important than for any tree fruit. They are pruned more severely than any other fruit tree under cultivation for several reasons. Pruning increases growth and flower bud formation for the following year. Peaches usually set an excessive number of fruit. Pruning helps reduce crop load, improve fruit size and reduce limb breakage and tree damage due to excessive crop load. Weak drooping branches and upright shoots are removed. As much as one-third of the fruit wood is removed each year. Where very heavy pruning is warranted, the ends of shoots that grew the previous year may be shortened. Pruning is generally done in the spring, just before flowers open. If flowers were killed during the winter due to cold temperature, damage can be assessed, and more wood and flowers can be left to compensate for that lost during the winter.

Peach trees can be fertilized with a complete fertilizer such as 10-10-10. Application should be made in the spring before bloom and the amount should not exceed 5 pounds equivalent on a mature tree and not less than 0.5 pounds under a young trees. Spread the 10-10-10 uniformly within the drip line of the tree.

Watch the video: How to Plant Fruit Trees for MAXIMUM Growth and Harvest

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