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 Wild Peach Tree? 
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Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2005 1:37 pm
Posts: 2
Post Wild Peach Tree?
While visiting family in Kentucky, my dad and I walked into the woods near the house to pick some Hickory nuts. On our way back, I noticed some peach seeds on the ground; there were hundreds. I looked up and saw dried out peaches still on a tree (late November). The tree was HUGE! It had to be 25-30 foot tall and around 12+ inches in diameter at the base. I didn’t see any other peach trees close by, but there were many saplings around. Without fruit or leaves, I wouldn’t know if they were peach trees or not. The woods are very thick and there isn’t a lot of sunlight where the tree is. I think it’s amazing that this tree has survived all the winters, insects, storms and everything else for so long. I’m not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I would have to think this tree is quite old to be as big as it is. Maybe 20-25 years or more.

I collected about 40-50 seeds. Some of them with the dried out skin still on them. I’m planning on “Stratifying” them and planting them in the spring.


Any suggestions on how to best do this?
How big do these trees get?
Any ideas how old it is?
Is this an unusual find?
Can I expect any trees that come from the seeds to be as hardy?

Thanks,
Tony


Mon Nov 28, 2005 1:38 pm
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Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2005 1:53 pm
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Location: Jersey Shore
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I would discard any pits with the skin still on as this may have been caused by mold, i. e., mummy fruit, and you don't want to propagate that. Good fruit is usually eaten by the wild critters and would not just be lying there on the ground. :D

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Sat Dec 03, 2005 2:00 pm
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Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 am
Posts: 7
Location: Florida
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At one point there were a fair amount of wild peach trees in that general area, feral trees that had escaped from cultivation during the colonial era. They're called "Tennessee Naturals"...I don't live anywhere nearby so I can't say how common they remain. Fruit quality is generally pretty decent, and in fact the Tennessee Naturals are actually in the background of many peach cultivars.

As far as the risk of disease, I'd imagine that with peach pits being what they are you could probably pretty thoroughly disinfect the exteriors.

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Sat Dec 03, 2005 3:53 pm
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Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2005 7:54 pm
Posts: 5
Location: South Carolina
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Can I expect any trees that come from the seeds to be as hardy?
------------------

Thomas Jefferson is said to have noted that his peach seedlings routinely were so similar to the parents that it was not worth grafting peaches. Obviously this referred to fruit quality, size, etc., but you might guess it would include hardiness as well.


Sat Dec 03, 2005 8:03 pm
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Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2005 1:37 pm
Posts: 2
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Thanks for the info. Were about 2 miles north of the Tennessee boarder in South Central Kentucky.

I'll discard the seeds with skin still on them, but most all of the pits were exceptionally clean on the ground. There were just a few of the fruits that still had skin on them. I figured that they had just recently fell from the tree. Birds and deer would be the only animals eating them as there was a hickory tree full of nuts just 20 feet from the peach tree. If there were sqirrels around, those nuts wouldn't have been so thick. But, better safe than sorry.

We'll see if they germinate this spring. Thanks again for all the info.


Mon Dec 05, 2005 6:44 am
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Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 am
Posts: 7
Location: Florida
Post Hardiness
It's tough to say for sure, but I think there's a pretty reasonable chance that many, if not all, of the offspring will be roughly as hardy. Hardiness is fairly heritable as far as I know, and most peaches are very homozygous, and thus come fairly true from seed. This would be especially true for a wild tree, which likely came from self-pollination itself.

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Wed Dec 07, 2005 4:50 pm
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