Nectarines, known botanically as persica nucipersica, are essentially peaches minus the white velvety skin covering. Nectarines mature for harvest in the summer and range in hue from coral orange to ruby red to yellow or white. Nectarine trees thrive and produce abundant fruit harvests when grown in nutrient-rich, easy draining soil with plenty of water, nitrogen balanced fertilizer and seasonal thinning of developing fruit.
Provide a nutrient-rich and well-drained growing soil by amending the soil at planting time or topdressing the soil each year with several pounds of compost and well-aged manure. Till the amendments into the planting hole or scratch into the soil surface after planting.
Thin the young, immature nectarine fruits in the late spring or very early summer when they are green and the size of marbles to olives. Pluck or cut off the nascent nectarines, leaving only one for every 6 inches of branching. Thinning will increase the size and quality of the remaining nectarines.
Feed your nectarine tree once per month with a complete 10-10-10 granular fertilizer from early spring through late summer or very early fall, immediately following the fruit harvest. Apply the fertilizer according to label directions, placing it in a doughnut formation 12 inches out from the trunk extending to a foot beyond the edge of the tree canopy.
Water your nectarine trees generously throughout the spring and particularly in the summer as the fruit are ripening. Water deeply once every two to three weeks or use drip or soaker hose irrigation daily.