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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Indian Free Peach Will Require a Pollinator Peach for Good Fruit Set

Q. I did some reading on the Indian Free peach tree and one of the articles said that another type of peach tree could pollinate the Indian Free. If this is true, can a May pride or Florida Prince peach (early producers) pollinate the Indian Free?  What month does the Indian Free produce here in Las Vegas?
Indian Free peach on the tree at the UNCE Orchard.

A. With only a few exceptions, peach trees are self-pollinating which means you only need one peach tree to set fruit. Two of the big exceptions are Indian Free and a variety called J.H. Hale. Any other peach other than Indian Free will pollinate it as long as the flowers open at the same time as Indian Free.

            If you have a neighbor with a peach variety other than Indian Free yours will probably set fruit just fine. You only need about 5% of the flowers to set fruit to have a full crop of peaches that will still require thinning or fruit removal to allow the remaining fruit to get bigger.

            I never used to worry about pollination too much at the Orchard because we had so many different varieties growing there pollination was never a concern.

Indian Free peach on the inside.
            Fruit pollination and fruit set can vary with different types of fruit trees as well as among varieties. Fruit set and pollination can vary from no fruit set to partial fruit set (a few fruits on the tree) without a pollinator.  By having another variety of the same type of fruit close by, fruit set can go from light to heavy.

            Another option you have with Indian Free peach if you have a small yard is to plant more than one peach tree in the same hole. You can pick another of your favorite peaches that produce fruit at a different time of year and be picking peaches at two different times. Indian Free peach is not a late peach but it is not early either. It produces fruit around the end of July here.

            You could put an early peach in the same hole as the Indian Free and it will act as a pollinator for the Indian Free and also produce peaches earlier in the season. Any of the early peaches will work just fine such as Earlitreat, May Pride or FlordaPrince. You would plant them in the same hole about 18 inches apart. One peach tree would be planted on the East side of the hole and the other on the west side of the hole.

            You don't want to plant them with one on the South and the other on the North unless you know that the less vigorous of the two is planted on the South side. In other words, if there is a big difference in how robust or vigorous they grow, always put the most vigorous variety on the north side where it will receive less direct sunlight.

            Peaches or any fruit trees which are planted in the same hole will require that you control their growth like a totalitarian regime; each of the fruit trees will have their own space and neither of them will be allowed to encroach or invade the other’s space.

            Once two trees are planted in the same hole, each of them is only allowed to half of the allotted space for one tree. The tree on the east can occupy only the east side and the tree on the west only the west side. Any growth from the east tree which is growing to the west or even northwest or southwest is eliminated. Any growth from the west tree that is growing to the east or even the northeast or southeast is eliminated.

            Food for thought. You are not limited to growing only one or two fruit trees in a single hole. I have grown as many as four in a single hole and I have seen as many as eight demonstrated. Good luck with your Indian Free peach. It is a wonderful peach to grow in the desert.

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