June 2, 2007 Article

by David Rodriguez

Here are some real good questions with informative answers.

Question: Why are peaches falling off the tree while they are still green? There is no evidence of pests.
Answer: This is Mother Nature’s way of thinning. This is normal for a tree that is loaded with fruit. Often, it is a lack of pollination or some other damage to the seed or embryo.

Question: How soon can peach fruit be eaten after spraying?
Answer: Every product has a pre-harvest interval. Once this time has passed, the fruit is totally safe to eat. Check the label on the product to see how long this period is. Generally speaking, most insecticides last only three-to-five days at the most.

Question: Can the seeds from a neighbor’s peach tree, which is a nursery-grown hybrid, be used to start a peach tree?
Answer: Yes, but it will not come back exactly as the same cultivar.

Question: When should you plant peach pits to start a new tree?
Answer: Starting peach trees from seeds is not recommended because the seed will not exactly produce the same variety as the tree the pit came from. However, if you wish to try, they will either need to be stratified artificially or by Mother Nature. In January, wrap the seeds in moist paper towels and place inside a zip-lock plastic bag, refrigerator until April. At this time they will be ready to plant in a pot or in the ground. Or, place the seeds in a pot of loose potting soil in early winter and allow Mother Nature to do the job for you.
You will need to keep the pots watered during the winter months if it doesn’t rain occasionally. The seeds should sprout naturally in the spring once the weather conditions become favorable.

Question: Are peach pits poisonous?
Answer: All parts of the peach except the fruit pulp and skin are toxic. These parts contain cyanide-producing substances. Symptoms are: difficulty in breathing, coma; and may be fatal.

Remember, Learn and Have Fun!

David Rodriguez is the County Extension Agent-Horticulture for Bexar County. For more information, call the Master Gardener ‘Hotline’ at (210) 467-6575 or visit our County Extension website at: and click on Horticulture and Gardening.

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