Nectarines (Prunus persica) are basically a non-fuzzy peach. They are considered a relatively new fruit, although they have been around for at least 2,000 years. The fruit is brightly colored, sweet and fragrant. Nectarines can be divided into two categories according to their type of flesh: melting and non-melting. Melting varieties soften as they ripen, and are very juicy. Non-melting varieties stay firm even while ripening. They can also be divided according to how the flesh separates from the pit. Freestone nectarines separate easily from the pit, while clingstone "cling" to the pit.
Nectarines can be used as small specimen trees or in mixed borders. They have showy pink blossoms in spring, and long arching leaves all summer long. Plant in full sun and well drained soil. Early morning sun is important to help dry the leaves and reduce the chance of disease. If necessary, cut off any broken or mutilated roots, otherwise keep root pruning to a minimum. Plant the same depth as grown in the nursery. When the hole is half filled, firm the soil with your feet or shovel handle before filling the rest of the way. Pack the soil firmly. Do not leave a depression around the tree. Water well after planting to help eliminate air pockets.
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