Preliminary results on the performance of low-chill peach cultivars in north-central Florida

Paul Miller, Jeffrey G. Williamson, Luis Mejia


Fruit yields were taken for 1 or 2 years from young ‘UFSun’, ‘Gulfking’, ‘Flordaprince’, ‘Earligrande’, ‘Flordaglo’, ‘Flordastar’, ‘Flordaking’, ‘Tropic Snow’, ‘Tropic Beauty’, ‘UF2000’, ‘Flordabelle’, and ‘Rayon’ peach, and ‘Sunraycer’, ‘Sunbest’, and ‘Sunmist’ nectarine trees. The study was conducted at the Plant Science Research and Education Unit (PSREU) in northern Marion County near Citra, FL. Fruit were harvested in 2007 and 2008. This area can produce low-chill peaches and nectarines during the last week of April through the middle of June. The earliest-ripening cultivars were ‘UFSun’, ‘Gulfking’, ‘Flordaprince’, ‘Sunbest’, ‘Earligrande’ and ‘Flordaglo’, which began ripening in early to mid May in 2008. ‘Flordastar’, ‘Flordaking, ‘Sunraycer’, and ‘TropicSnow’ can be early with early fulfillment of their chilling requirements, but tended to be later than expected, or variable in this study. Overall, fruit ripening was later than expected during 2007 due to low or interrupted chill accumulation. Fruit size was highly variable among cultivars and between years but tended to be inversely related to crop load. Fruit size ≥2.5 inches (diameter) is achievable with a large proportion of fruit for several cultivars when timely and thorough fruit thinning is used to adjust crop load.

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283