Peach Trees Information

The peach is a deciduous tree (it loses its leaves seasonally) and can reach up to 7.6 m (25 ft) of height if left unpruned. It belongs to the Rosaceae family, the genus Prunus, which also includes almond, cherry, and other popular trees, and in the same species Prunus persica as nectarines.

The peach tree has lanceolate leaves of an average length of 7-16 cm (2.8-6.3 inches). During early spring, it blooms, producing beautiful pink flowers with five petals, either single or in pairs. The flowers emerge from the flower buds and develop in leaf axils before the tree’s foliage. The fruits are usually ripe from the end of spring until mid-summer and botanically are called drupes. The peach fruit has a sweet, aromatic, yellow to reddish flesh. The fruit’s skin can be white-pinky, yellow, orange, or red, with or without fuzz. Peach and nectarine are actually the same species. What distinguishes these two is the absence of fuzz on the skin in nectarines. The fruit contains a single seed inside a woody husk known as a stone.

The average peach tree enters a productive period from the 2nd to 4th year, but satisfactory yields can usually be obtained after the 5th year of establishment. Its productive expectancy is estimated at around 10-15 years or even more. A grower has to be patient and, of course, proactive to carry the costs of the first years without expecting remarkable income (e.g., one idea is to have more than one crop in the field along with the young peach trees).  

Variety selection and Environmental requirements of peach trees

There are hundreds of different peach varieties available in the market (plant nurseries), which are grouped mainly into two types: 

  • Freestones: In the case of these varieties, the flesh separates easily from the stone/pit, has a darker color, and is preferred for raw consumption or freezing.
  • Clingstones: The separation of the flesh from the pit is harder, and peaches of this type are generally used in the processing industry (canning).

It is crucial to choose the peach varieties that thrive in your area and best serve your target- market quality requirements. Secondly, you should think of the training method for your trees. This procedure is critical because different varieties and shapes give different yields and quality. The most popular varieties of freestone are the fresh yellow varieties. Some varieties that prevail in the market are the Red Heaven, Elegant Lady, Improved Elderta, Madison, Contender, Creastheaven, Glohaven, and the O-Henry. Most peach commercial varieties are self-fruitful, meaning that they do not need cross pollination from another variety in order to be fertilized and produce fruits. However, there are references mentioning that higher yields were achieved when more than one (compatible) peach variety were planted in a field. 

Most peach trees are grafted into rootstocks. Lovell and Halford are commonly used in mid-Atlantic regions. Dwarf varieties are not generally preferred because they give trees with shorter life spans. Cadaman, Atlas, Viking, and Bright’s Hybrid 5 rootstocks are preferred in fields with alkaline soils. Finally, Bailey seedling rootstocks are preferred to boost the main variety’s winter hardiness.

The restrictive factor when growing peaches is the climate. The plant thrives in areas characterized by cold winters and warm, dry summers. However, the peach tree is the stone fruit tree with the least tolerance for low temperatures and cold weather. It can grow successfully in the area of USDA Zones 4 to 9, but it thrives in Zones 6 and 7. Regions with very low temperatures during winter or with high relative humidity during summer (tropical areas) should be avoided since the trees will probably suffer from frost damage (bud kill) and fungal infections, respectively. Some of the major peach producer countries nowadays are China (the country of origin of the crop), Italy, Spain, Greece, and the USA (mainly California).

Like other fruit trees, peaches have specific chilling requirements for the break of dormancy. To have an increased flowering and yield, peach trees need to be exposed to 250-1,000 hours of temperatures below 7 °C (45 °F), with the most effective temperature ranging between 0-10 °C (32-50 °F). If these needs are not satisfied, the tree’s flower buds will die, causing huge production losses. Furthermore, depending on the cultivar, the plant can tolerate low winter temperatures when dormant. Still, the flower buds will present significant damage at -2 to -3 °C (27 °F) and be killed if temperatures below -4 °C (24 °F) prevail for more than 30 minutes. However, some relatively cold hardy varieties can survive and grow in hardiness zones 3 and 4, like Reliance, Contender, and Intrepid, while others, like Scout, Veteran, Redheaven, and Westcot, have relatively good performance in such climates.

On the other hand, peaches can be damaged when the summer temperatures rise above 35 °C (95 °F). Equally crucial for a peach tree is to have unblocked access to direct sunlight for at least 8 hours daily. Lack of sun exposure will reduce the qualitative characteristics of the fruits. Frequent rainfalls and cold weather during the flowering deteriorate the cross-pollination activity of bees. This results in decreased fruit set and production


Lockwood, D. W., & Coston, D. C. (2005). Peach tree physiology. Southeastern Peach Growers Handbook, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Georgia. Athens, Georgia, US, 5-7.


Peaches Facts, Uses, Nutritional Value and Health Benefits

Peach Tree Information, Variety Selection, and Environmental Requirements

How to Grow Peaches from Seed (Stone)

Growing Peach Trees for Profit – Peach Farming Guide

Peach Tree Soil Requirements, Soil Preparation, and Planting

Propagation and Pollination of Peach trees

How to Train and Prune Peach Trees

Irrigating Peach Trees – How much Water do Peach Trees need?

Peach Tree Fertilizer Requirements

Peach yield per hectare, Harvesting methods, and Storage

Peach Pests and Diseases

Peach Wholesale Prices


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