From Pollen to Patent, We Take The Time to Get it Right

Breeding the best trees takes patience, persistence, and a whole lot of pollen. We’re talking 10,000 crosses done by hand each year at Burchell Nursery. But that’s what it takes to develop the varieties you want with the exact characteristics you need. That, and time.

Burchell Nursery spends up to twice as long—six to eight years—
as other breeders to develop a newly patented variety.

To us, it’s worth it. Because if you’re looking for a late-ripening apricot or a heat-resistant apple, or a more flavorful but early-ripening peach, we want to ensure you get just that from a Burchell-bred tree.

That’s why we worked for many decades evaluating and developing varieties with respected California breeders Fred Anderson and Grant Merrill. Our work resulted in many well-known and valued varieties, including O’Henry, Elegant Lady and Summer Lady peaches, among others. And it was the start of our breeding program that formally began in 1989.

The starting point for a low-chill peach just might be Chile

We search the world to find the most desirable varieties to incorporate into our efforts, from Europe and Canada to Australia, Argentina and South Africa. Our associate nursery in Chile collects seed, while we collect pollen in our own Central Valley of California. This makes it possible for us to cross-pollinate twice each year.

It pays to be choosey

This aggressive approach suits our process, because at Burchell, we’re very choosey. We keep only the top ten percent or so of the seeds that result from our crosses. And then we go another cycle and evaluate again. And then we work with growers throughout a test phase that can also take as much as six years before we deem the variety up to our standards.

Then there’s the patent process

Burchell Nursery carefully catalogs every minute detail of the tree and fruit to submit to the U.S. Patent Office. We want to facilitate the review process, which can take nine months to a year. Once the patent is issued, we sometimes feel it’s akin to a birth certificate for our newest baby. Okay, so we’re just a little proud. Proud to bring you another high quality option.

More than 80 patents in all

All of our work has resulted in 45 patents granted for varieties that we’ve developed from start to finish—22 peaches and 23 nectarines. And 36 others came from an interesting new find brought to us from our growers that we took through the evaluation and patenting cycle. These have included peach and nectarine varieties, plus walnut, almond, plum, apricot and apple stock.

At Burchell Nursery, we’re always striving to bring you the high quality trees you need for your business. From patented and commercially successful peaches to virus-free almonds to container trees that you can plant whenever you choose. We’ll spend whatever time it takes to give you our best. Look for this icon on varieties that are Burchell exclusives.