Nectarines are just fuzzless peaches. They do well in most of California if given the proper growing conditions. Nectarines require very well-drained soils, abundant nitrogen fertility, plenty of summer water, fruit thinning, and pest control sprays to prevent peach leaf curl and brown rot.
New variety developments have greatly improved this fruit as a tree for backyard and commercial use. Trees can bear the second year. Nectarines (like peaches) are self-fruitful and do not require a pollenizer tree. Tree spacing should be about 8 to 12 ft. apart.
Calendar of Backyard Gardening Operations for Nectarines
Winter Dormant Season
- Spray trees with dormant oil to control San Jose scale.
- Spray fixed copper to control peach leaf curl December 1 and February 1.
- Prune out 50% of last year’s wood to thin the crop, insure good shoot growth and fruiting potential for future years.
Spring Bloom Season
- Apply fungicide during bloom to prevent brown rot, which may require 1–3 sprays, depending on weather. Rainy periods require more spray.
- Fertilize young trees monthly with high N fertilizer beginning April 1. Use 0.5 lb. urea or 25 lb. manure/appl/tree. Mature trees need 50% more. Water fertilizer in. If drip irrigated, do not exceed 1 oz. urea/emitter/mo.
- Thin fruits to about 6" apart when marble-sized. Thinning reduces fruit weight, increases size, prevents limb breakage.
Summer Growing Season
- Fertilize young trees monthly. Use 0.5 lb. urea or 25 lb. manure/tree/appl. Mature trees need 50% more. Water fertilizer in. If drip irrigated, do not exceed 1 oz. urea/emitter/mo.
- Drip irrigate daily or sprinkler irrigate about every 3 weeks.
- Maintain a weed free area around the base of the trees within 3 ft. of the trunk with an organic mulch 3–4" deep.
Fall Harvest Season
- Spray for shot hole fungus in November before first heavy rain; use fixed copper.
- Fertilize and irrigate just after harvest.
- At leaf fall, remove and destroy or compost leaves to prevent the spread of apple scab.
- Remove mummies from tree.
- Fresh Market Stone Fruit Links, UC Fruit and Nut RIC
- [PDF] Harvest Time for Selected Fruit Cultivars in the Sacramento Valley Foothills, Janine Hasey, Sutter-Yuba Cos. UCCE
- How to Manage Pests in Gardens and Landscapes - Fruits and Nuts, UC IPM
- [PDF] Nectarine Varieties for Planting in the Home Garden, Paul Vossen and Deborah Silver, Sonoma and Marin Co. UCCE
- [PDF] Peaches and Nectarines: Calendar of Operations for Home Gardeners, Pamela M. Geisel and Carolyn L. Unruh, Fresno County and Paul Vossen, Sonoma and Marin County