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I recently discovered a peach tree at my office. It's right there, and started bearing fruit a few weeks back.

Some peaches started falling off, so I picked a bunch to bring home before they fell. However, they don't seem as large as I get at the supermarket or farm stand.

Is there any easy way to tell when a peach is ready to be picked, pre-falling-to-the-ground?

  • A "peach tree at your office" is likely not being pruned and maintained for best fruit production, which will affect the fruit size. It might also be not even a "standard" cultivar (I got a few Siberian C "rootstock" trees on the strength of a comment that while they made small fruit not considered marketable, the orchard workers found it quite tasty, as well as being a hardy tree - unfortunately they died on me so I cannot verify that.) I suppose I should try again. – Ecnerwal Apr 22 '16 at 15:23
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Generally when the fruit is no longer green and releases easily from the tree it is ready. If it doesn't come off with a gentle tug wait a couple of days and try again.

The small size is probably due to no one thinning the fruit earlier in the season.

  • +1 - much thanks. I think etiquette says to wait 24 hrs before accepting an answer? – JTP - Apologise to Monica Aug 21 '15 at 20:46
  • That's true. You may get additional answers with more/different information then you can accept the best one. – Debbie M. Aug 21 '15 at 20:49
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When peaches are ready depends a lot on your tastes. However, if they're falling off the tree in large numbers, and you want to save all the peaches, it's probably a good idea to start picking them (or you'll lose a lot). You might just put something below to catch them and cushion their fall, and then shake off the ones that are loose; you can let the others ripen longer.

I prefer to pick peaches when they start to get soft (and sweet). You can tell by pressing on them gently. Some people like peaches firmer, though. They'll be more tart when firm. If they're extra firm, they'll be crunchy.

If the fruit isn't large, it might be dropping prematurely. The fruit is probably still usable, though (for cooking, at the very least). It's also possible the tree needed more potassium or something (potassium is supposed to help with fruit size). It also might need more water (although peaches can be pretty drought-tolerant). Mulching might help.

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