Country Sweet PeachPrunus persica ‘Country Sweet’
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Prunus persica ‘Country Sweet’
Outdoor Growing zone
The Country Sweet Peach is a fabulous variety that captures that true rural fruit stand flavor of ripe peaches in June. Flowering in March with very large pink flowers, by mid-June your first peaches will be ready to pick, and what peaches they are. 3-inches across and weighing up to 4 ounces, they have yellow flesh with a firm but yielding texture, sweet flavor and low acidity. The skin is uniformly a delicious dark red. Forming a tree up to 15 feet tall and wide, this top-quality peach is perfect for all areas with moderate temperatures.
Needing 800 to 900 chilling hours, the Country Sweet Peach is ideal for areas with hot summers and some winter cold. It should be planted in full sun, in light, well-drained soil. Add plenty of organic material and plant on a mound if your soil contains a lot of clay. Prune to develop an open, vase-shaped crown of about 5 radiating limbs. Any pests or diseases can be dealt with using organic growing methods. Thin the young fruit as it develops to produce full-sized, top-quality peaches.
When ‘June is bustin’ out all over’, nothing goes down better than the unbeatable taste of a tree-ripened peach. A delicious dream? No, it can be your reality when you plant a Country Sweet Peach tree in your garden. The delicious yellow flesh has just the right balance between sweet and acid, with a mild, aromatic flavor all the family will love. The large fruits are carried in abundance on a vigorous tree that fruits perfectly when grown all alone, with no need for the pollinator that so many other fruit trees need – one tree is all you need, so it’s perfect for a smaller garden. This is a beautiful peach, with a red skin when ripe that covers almost 100% of the surface of the fruit – a real beauty, and just dripping with that sweet country goodness.
The Country Sweet Peach is a medium-sized tree that will grow to 12 or 15 feet tall and wide, after the necessary pruning, within about 10 years. This tree develops a sturdy trunk, and should be pruned to create about 5 spreading branches radiating from a low trunk. The long, slender leaves are glossy, green and large, between 6 and 7 inches long and about 1½ inches wide. Flowering takes place in the first half of March, and the attractive and showy flowers are large – almost 2 ½ inches across, with 5 broad, pink petals. They form mostly on short side shoots, before the leaves emerge. A tree in bloom is very attractive.
If properly cared for you can expect a big crop of large round to oval fruits, 3 inches in diameter and weighing up to 4 ounces each. The flesh is juicy but firm, with a fine texture, and very sweet with low acidity to create a wonderful tang. The flesh almost falls away from the stone, with just a little clinging on (semi-clingstone). The skin is smooth and only slightly fuzzy, and yellowish-red as the fruit develops, ripening to a dark scarlet red over 100% of the fruit surface. The fruits are beautiful as well as delicious – a harvest you will be proud of. The fruit ripens during the second half of June, and holds ripe on the tree for about 12 days. It can be stored in the fridge, and stays in good condition for up to 3 weeks – so you will still be eating your own peaches in late August – amazing!
With its attractive blooming, and the beauty of a tree full of ripening fruit, the Country Sweet Peach tree can be grown right on a lawn as a specimen – just step out the door and pick a peach. It can of course also be grown in a designated area for home fruit and vegetable growing. Keep the area beneath the tree free of grass while young, although mature trees can have lawn under them.
This tree is hardy in zone 5, and it will grow into zone 8, as well as in zone 9 areas with cool winters. It needs 800 to 900 chilling hours (when temperatures are below 45oF), which corresponds to a line through Central Texas and including most of North Carolina, as well as much of the West Coast. For warmer areas, choose a variety needing only 500 to 600 chilling hours.
Full sun is needed for the Country Sweet Peach to bloom well and ripen its crop. The soil should be well-drained light, with a good percentage of sand. Heavy clay soils need plenty of organic material added, and it is best to plant the tree on a mound of soil if your soil is heavy.
Although subject to some pests or diseases, like all fruit trees, on the Country Sweet Peach tree these can normally be controlled with organic methods, such as neem oil, Bordeaux mixture and winter lime-sulfur sprays.
When the developing fruits are about the size of a quarter, remove all but one from each cluster, spacing them about 6 inches apart along the limbs. This will give you top-quality and full-sized fruit – leaving too many fruit produces poor, very small peaches.
Pruning should begin when young, and aim to develop a single central trunk with low-down branching into about 5 major limbs, radiating out like the spokes of a wheel. Aim to develop an open, vase-shaped tree without branches in the center, to allow sun to enter and ripen the fruit. Prune in early spring or after harvest, avoiding the winter months when pruning can spread disease.
The peach tree, Prunus persica, once grew wild on the hills of northwestern China, and its blossoms and fruit figure in ancient Chinese art and literature. It was brought to Europe centuries ago along the Silk Road, and eventually from there to America. Thomas Jefferson had peach trees growing in the gardens of Monticello.
The variety called Country Sweet was developed at Zaiger’s Genetics, a fruit-breeding research nursery near Modesto California run by the late Chris “Floyd” Zaiger and his sons. They crossed together multiple varieties of nectarines and peaches, chiefly ‘May Grand’ and ‘Sun Grand’ nectarines and the ‘Royal Gold’ peach. After several generations of breeding, around 1995 they selected one plant from a trial plot of seedlings, and named it Country Sweet. It was patented in 1998 (PP# 11,090), which has recently expired.
Ah, the joy of tree-ripened fruit! The pleasure of picking fully-ripe peaches in June, and eating them still warm from the sun – delicious! For that true special taste of sweet peaches from a farm stall, plant the Country Sweet Peach, and enjoy. Order now – this highly-prized variety