Summer Prince PeachPrunus persica ‘ ‘Summerprince’'
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Prunus persica ‘ ‘Summerprince’'
Outdoor Growing zone
The ‘Summerprince’ Peach is a prince among peaches, ripening around July 15, the perfect summer treat. The fiber-free melting yellow flesh has the perfect balance between sweet and acid, and this is a freestone variety – so easy to eat. The deep red flesh will tempt you, and you won’t be disappointed. A vigorous tree from one of America’s top peach breeders, the large pink spring blooms would alone make this tree worth growing, and it’s self-fertile, so perfect when you only have room for one peach.
Full sun will produce the sweetest and ripest crop from your ‘Summerprince’ Peach tree. Plant it is well-drained soil, and since peaches prefer lighter soil, if you garden on clay, add plenty of organic material when planting. Prune to create a vase-shaped tree with an open center and about 5 main limbs radiating out from the trunk. Thin fruit early to ensure you have a crop of good-sized peaches.
If you love your peaches freestone, so you get every bit of goodness easily, then you have to make a tradeoff. All the early peaches are clingstone to various degrees, but by the time July rolls around, it’s freestone peach season. Slap in the middle of July, with summer in full swing, you can pick the king of summer peaches, the Summer Prince Peach. The superb fruit, with fiber-free melting flesh, tastes as good as it looks, and that yellow flesh sure does look good. Almost entirely deep red on the outside, it looks – and tastes – just like a summer peach should – sweet and delicious. Bred by the famous Dick Okie in Georgia, for the southeast, it’s the perfect choice for gardeners in areas with warm, humid summers. Nothing tastes as good as home-grown produce, and no peach tastes as good as the one you grow yourself. Discover the pleasure of picking ripe peaches straight from the tree and on to the table – with the Summer Prince Peach.
The Summer Prince Peach tree is a vigorous and reliable peach tree that will soon be 12 to 15 feet tall and wide, when pruned correctly. The slender leaves are around 6 inches long, and a little more than an inch wide, with a dark-green, slightly glossy surface. One of the great things about growing a peach tree is that you get a fabulous ornamental flowering tree too. The large pink blossoms, which are often over 2 inches across, rival any flowering tree, and they open in April, decorating the bare branches. This variety is completely self-fertile, so even if it is the only peach tree around, as soon as those petals fall you will see the tiny fruit developing. You will be amazed at how quickly the fruits swell and grow, and by the end of June they will be pretty much full size. Then it’s just a couple of weeks waiting for that yellow skin to turn deep red – and it’s harvest time, with the fruit ripening through the middle of July.
The medium-sized fruits are 2 or perhaps 3 inches across, if you have thinned them (see the ‘Maintenance’ section) with 80 to 90% of the skin colored a beautiful deep red. The flesh inside is a very tempting bright yellow, firm enough to bite into, but meltingly good, with virtually none of those annoying fibers inferior peaches have. The flavor is a balance between sweet and acid, delicious for eating out of hand or turning into pies and preserves. It is completely freestone – cut one in half and the stone just falls right out.
You don’t need a dedicated area for fruit trees with the Summer Prince Peach Tree, because the beautiful spring blossoms make it perfect as a lawn specimen. In cooler zones it can be grown, and will give the best crop, against a sunny wall as an espalier, or tucked into the sheltered angle of two walls. Of course, you can also grow it in a home orchard, with your other fruit trees.
The Summer Prince Peach Tree is hardy from zone 5 to zone 8, needing 850 chilling hours (temperatures above freezing but below 45 degrees). This means it’s a great choice for the southeast, and other areas where winters are mild and summer hot and humid, but not in very southern areas along the Gulf. Of course, longer periods of chill do no harm, so it will grow well in cooler zones too, and in zone 9 where winters are cold, such as the northwest.
Plant your Summer Prince Peach tree in full sun, as this is needed to give good ripening and plenty of natural sugar in the fruit. The best soil is light and well-drained. If you have clay soil, avoid any low-lying areas and plant on a mound, adding lots of organic material to the soil.
Bred for some resistance to disease, the Summer Prince Peach tree is relatively healthy, although all peaches can suffer from some pests and diseases. Today there are good organic methods of pest control available – we recommend Neem oil spray for insects, and lime-sulfur winter sprays for disease control.
Start pruning your tree when it is young. Aim for a short trunk with about 5 radiating branches spaced out evenly around the trunk. A broad, vase-shaped tree is best, and keep the center open and free of branches to allow the sun to shine through and ripen the fruit. Thinning is important for good-sized peaches, so when they are no larger than a quarter, remove all but one from each cluster, and if necessary remove a few entirely, so that they are spaced out along the branches about 6 inches apart.
The peach tree, Prunus persica, came to America from Europe, where it had in turn been to from China, via the Silk Road. When a peach grower sees the word, ‘prince’ in the name of a variety they know it is the work of Dr. Dick Okie. He spent 25 years, from 1980, breeding peaches at the Southeastern Fruit and Tree Nut Research Laboratory in Georgia. His predecessor, who founded the lab, was Victor Prince, and Okie chose to use ‘prince’ in his varieties to honor him, and also because, as he said, Prince is just a great name for any peach. The variety he called Summer Prince was created around 2000, and never patented.
Peaches and summer go together, and when you plant the Summer Prince Peach you can look forward to soon spending July enjoying your very own summer peaches. The fabulous slip-stone variety will be a yearly highlight, and all of Dick Okie’s trees are held in high regard. Order now, because top-quality varieties like this one never stay on our farm for long.