Ever consider putting the seed of a wonderful fruit to establish a new tree? Peach and apricot trees may be produced from seed, despite the fact that common fruits are often propagated by grafting. Read on to see how! While sowing the seeds of apples, pears, plums, and cherries might also result in a new tree, the seedling tree’s fruit will rarely resemble that of the parent tree.
In many instances, even seeds from the apple with the finest flavor can produce a tree with inedible or low-quality fruit. A seedling tree also lacks the dwarfing characteristics of a tree grafted on a dwarfing or semi-dwarfing rootstock, therefore a seedling apple tree may reach a height of 30 feet.
For these reasons, vegetative propagation by grafting is the principal method for producing new fruit trees. Peaches and apricots are often true to seed, meaning that a seedling tree will resemble the parent tree and produce identical fruit. Although peach and apricot trees are grafted in commercial orchards, a seedling tree is an excellent alternative for a backyard or community garden orchard. Save the pits from locally farmed, fully ripe, delicious fruits. Using a brush and water, remove all fruit particles from pits. Allow to air-dry for several days on your counter, if possible. The seed can be extracted by dismantling the pit. You can use a vise, nut cracker, or hammer as a last resort.
Please do not allow anyone to consume this seed, as it contains a small quantity of lethal cyanide. Optional step that increases germination. Until you are ready to begin the germination process, store your seeds in an airtight container in the refrigerator. In the fall, plant numerous seeds or pits 3 to 4 feet deep in a container or in the ground.
Water well. If in a container, bury the container so that the top of the container and the soil line are even. Add several inches of mulch on top for more insulation. Choose a spot with care so that it does not become soaked with water. Your seeds must be protected from predators, particularly squirrels.
- Add a protective cage or hardware cloth around the pot, including a few inches into the soil.
- During the winter, water only when the soil is fully dry, but be careful to water deeply when the weather warms.
- In April, seedlings should appear.
- When the tallest of your seedlings reach over a foot in height, replant them.
Choose a sunny, well-drained location. In general, peach trees should bear fruit within three to five years. To germinate, peach seeds must endure a cold winter season, often known as cold stratification. If you reside in a warm climate, you can recreate the chilly temperatures necessary for seed germination in your refrigerator.
Start the process approximately four months before the final day of spring frost. Soak seeds overnight in room temperature water. Place seeds in a bag or container containing moistened potting soil. Store in refrigerator. The objective is to maintain them cold and wet, yet mold-free. Between one and three months, depending on the type of peach, you should observe the emergence of thick, white rootlets.
The optimal period to plant is around one month before the final frost. Even if grown earlier, refrigerate sprouted seeds until that time. Plant in a container at least 12 inches deep, or straight into the soil. Should receive 1″ each week of precipitation or irrigation.
If you’ve started a peach from seed, please tag us on social media with @phillyorchards – we’d love to follow along! MORE INFO: http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/growing-fruit-trees-zmaz08jjzmcc.aspx?PageId=1 http://www.garden.org/foodguide/browse/fruit/peach/1387 This version of POP TIPS was revised by Education Director Corrie Spellman-Lopez with assistance from POP Intern Rachel Baltuch.
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Is it possible to sow the seed from a peach?
The peach seed or pit can be planted straight into the soil in the fall. In a mixture of organic soil and compost, plant your peach pit three to four inches deep. Cover the seed with one to two inches of mulch to protect it from harsh winter weather. Maintaining a wet, but not drenched, soil, water the seed while avoiding over-watering.
You can plant the entire pit without first breaking it open, but the seed germinates more quickly when the shell is removed.
How long should peach seeds be frozen before planting?
Cold Stratification of Peach Seed – A period of cold stratification is required to germinate peach seeds. If you put them straight in the ground in the spring or fall, nature will take care of it. If you choose to start your peach tree inside, you must preserve the pit in the refrigerator for at least two months.
- Cold stratification replicates the conditions that seeds would have encountered in nature during their dormant period, winter.
- Wash the seeds well to eliminate any remaining pulp.
- You will only be cleaning the outside shell, not the almond-like inside.
- The combination of diluted bleach and water is useful for minimizing the likelihood of fungus and other pollutants.
Bleach is totally safe in modest quantities and without additives. The dilution ratio is approximately 6 parts water to 1 part bleach, or approximately 3 cups of bleach per gallon of water. The modest quantity of bleach will eliminate the majority of impurities without hurting the peach stone.
- Before commencing the stratification process, soak the peach pit for 30 to 45 minutes.
- The bleach water was only for washing the seeds.
- Water from the tap suffices.
- Wrap the seeds in a damp paper towel.
- If you have access to peat moss, which has antifungal characteristics, use it instead of paper towel.
Place the peat or cloth with the seed in a zip lock bag or an airtight Tupperware container and store it in the refrigerator for up to two months. The freezer is simply too chilly; only the refrigerator will suffice. Ideal temperatures hover above freezing but do not exceed 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
Some individuals have reported a higher success rate by removing the tough outer shell from the actual almond-like seed before the cold treatment. If this is your intention, do not apply the bleach process mentioned above. Also be careful that removing the hard exterior stone increases the likelihood of fungus problems and the danger of seed damage.
A big proportion of peach pits will never germinate, hence it is recommended to stratify a number of them. Rarely, the peach pit will germinate in the refrigerator. I’ve never seen this myself, but I have heard of it happening, so you should check them occasionally.