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Stone Fruit

Stone Fruit

Stone Fruit Varieties and Availability

Although peach production in the State of Florida has been traditionally located in North and Central Florida, late spring freezes in the 1980s caused severe declines in acreage. However, the University of Florida has had a breeding program since the early 1950s, and in cooperation with the University of Georgia and USDA has released over 30 peach, nectarine, and plum varieties.

Site selection is extremely important for peach, nectarine, and plum production. Potential orchard sites should have soil that is well-drained and slightly sloped for cold air drainage. A number of varieties have been developed for North, Central and Southern Florida, and a continued emphasis for the breeding program is to increase the diversity of germplasm for the entire state of Florida. Varieties are patented through the Florida Foundation Seed Producers (FFSP) and bud wood is made available to those nurseries that purchase licenses. It is important to buy patented varieties from those nurseries that are licensed.

Fig.1 - Flordaguard.

Peaches and nectarines in Florida must be planted on a rootstock that is resistant to a specific root-knot nematode found only in Florida (Meloidogyne floridensis). Currently, there are three commercially available rootstocks, 'Flordaguard' (a peach rootstock) and 'Sharpe' (a clonal plum rootstock) that are resistant to M. floridensis. 'MP-29' is a third rootstock that is being tested in two locations in Florida and is available for commercial propagation. 'Sharpe' rootstock is recommended for dooryard or backyard orchards, as there has been a slight decrease in fruit size associated with this rootstock. 'Flordaguard' trees are visually distinctive with young leaves exhibiting a deep red color.

'Flordaguard' trees are often propagated by seed; however, approximately 15-20% of the trees must be culled because of "outcrossing" of the fruit. That is, they will not be genetically true to type and will not contain full resistance to M. floridensis. Clonal propagation (e.g., cuttings) from a true to type 'Flordaguard' tree will result in 100% of the trees that will be resistant to M. floridensis.

Stone Fruit Nurseries

A list of nurseries that sell patented peaches, nectarines and plums can be found here:

Florida Peach Cultivars

CultivarDate ReleasedPatent StatusChill UnitsFruit Development PeriodFlesh Type
UFSun 2004 Patented 100 80 Non-Melting
UFBest 2012 Patented 100 85 Non-Melting  
Flordagrande 1984 Not Patented 100 100-105 Melting
TropicBeauty 1988 Not Patented 150 89 Melting
Flordaprince 1982 Not Patented 150 78 Melting
Flordaglo 1988 Not Patented 150 78 Melting
UFGem 2013 Patented 175 80 Non-Melting
TropicSnow 1989 Not Patented 200 90-97 Melting
UFBeauty 2002 Patented 200 82 Non-Melting
UFGold 1996 Patented 200 80 Non-Melting
UFOne 2008 Patented 250 95 Non-Melting
UFO 2002 Patented 250 105 Non-Melting
Flordabest 2009 Patented 250 82 Melting
UF2000 2000 Patented 300 95 Non-Melting
UFBlaze 2002 Patented 300 80 Non-Melting
Flordadawn 1989 Not Patented 300 60 Melting
UFSharp 2006 Patented 325 94 Non-Melting
Flordacrest 1988 Not Patented 350 75 Melting
Gulfking 2004 Patented 350 77 Non-Melting
Gulfprince 2002 Patented 400 110 Non-Melting
Gulfcrimson 2009 Patented 400 95 Non-Melting
Gulfsnow 2012 Patented 400 110 Non-Melting
Flordaking 1978 Not Patented 450 65-70 Melting
UFGlo 2009 Patented 450 80-85 Non-Melting
Gulfcrest 2004 Patented 525 70 Non-Melting
All melting flesh peach and nectarine cultivars released from the University of Florida breeding program begin with the prefixes "Florda" and "Sun," respectively, with all non-melting peach and nectarine cultivars sharing the prefix, "UF." Joint releases by the University of Florida, the USDA, and the University of Georgia have the prefix, "Gulf."

Adapted from Florida Peach and Nectarine Varieties

Florida Peach Rootstocks

CultivarDate ReleasedPatent StatusChill Units
MP-29 2012 Patented 750
Flordaguard 1991 Not Patented 300

Florida Nectarine Varieties

CultivarDate ReleasedPatent StatusChill UnitsFruit Development
Flesh Type
Sunbest 2001 Patented 225 83 Melting
Sunraycer 1993 Not Patented 250 85 Melting
UFRoyal 2009 Patented 250 85 Non-melting
UFQueen 1998 Patented 250 78 Non-melting
Sunmist 1994 Patented 275 80 Melting
Suncoast 1995 Not Patented 375 77 Melting

Adapted from Florida Peach and Nectarine Varieties

Florida Plum Varieties

CultivarDate ReleasedPatent StatusChill UnitsFruit Development
Gulfblaze 1997 Patented 250 95
Gulfbeauty 1997 Patented 250 75
Gulfrose 2000 Patented 275 95

Adapted from Growing Plums in Florida (HS895)