Challenging trees with rich rewards!

Peaches are among the most challenging and rewarding fruits to grow.  They are self-fertile and do not require a second variety for pollination, but they do require a fixed number of chilling hours to set fruit.

It takes 4 years for a peach tree to mature and produce a significant harvest. Do not allow the tree to produce heavily before then – remove excess fruit.

Dr. Larry Stein of the Texas Cooperative Extension says “If you can get 15 years from a peach tree, you are doing well,” so it pays to prepare the soil correctly and pamper peach trees from the start.  Consult our page on Fruits, Pecans, and Berries for further instructions.

In a commercial orchard, optimal tree health will give an 18 foot wide canopy, and the trees will be spaced at that distance.  For the home grower, space limits and desire for other fruit trees in the same environment may take higher priority.  It will be important to remember that close spacing of trees will create a demand for resources such as water and nutrients, and can increase disease and pest pressures.  This should not discourage denser plantings; it simply will require more attention to the trees to ensure they are getting what they need to be successful.

Chilling Hours – Considering the unpredictability of Texas weather, it may increase the chances of a good harvest by having two trees with different ranges for chilling hours.  For example, if the area averages 600 chilling hours, planting a tree that needs 450-500 chilling hours and one that needs 600-700 hours increases the chance of successful fruit set even with unpredictable winter weather.  See Chilling Hours.

Clingstone or Freestone? – Clingstone peaches are great for canning, pickling, and fresh eating, but not typically for freezing or cooking. Freestone varieties readily separate from the pit, making them much easier to clean for recipes. Peaches harvested later in the season are higher in natural sugars. Choose a variety with high to very high firmness for cooking. The firmer late season peaches tend to have higher pectin levels, useful in preparation of jams, jellies, and fruit preserves.


  • 750 Chilling Hours
  • Freestone
  • Large fruit ripens mid-late July
  • Juicy, yellow flesh, red blushed skin, and great flavor


  • 350 Chilling Hours
  • Semi-clingstone
  • Small-medium fruit ripens mid-May
  • Melting, yellow flesh and red blushed skin


  • 450 Chilling Hours
  • Clingstone
  • Large fruit ripens mid-May
  • Firm, golden yellow, very sweet flesh and red blushed skin


  • 750 Chilling Hours
  • Freestone
  • Medium-large fruit ripens mid-late June
  • Firm, finely-textured yellow flesh, acidic, excellent flavor and fiery red skin
  • Resistant to bacterial leaf spot
  • Fruit tends to ripen uniformly

June Gold

  • 650 Chilling Hours
  • Clingstone
  • Large fruit ripens late May-early June
  • Melting texture, yellow flesh, and a heavy red blushed skin
  • Great for canning

La Feliciana

  • 550-600 Chilling Hours
  • Freestone
  • Large fruit ripens late June-early July
  • Firm, yellow flesh with sweet tangy flavor, great texture and red blushed skin
  • Very heavy producer
  • Tolerant of bacteriosis
Bloom from a Red Baron peach tree.

Red Baron

  • 250 Chilling Hours
  • Freestone
  • Large red and yellow skinned fruit with delicious flavor
  • Double dark reddish-pink blooms in spring


  • 750 Chilling Hours
  • Freestone
  • Large fruit ripens mid-July
  • Firm, yellow flesh, great flavor, and solid red skin
  • Excellent fresh with good shipping and canning qualities
  • Resistant to bacteriosis


  • 450 Chilling Hours
  • Clingstone
  • Large fruit ripens early to mid-May
  • Firm, sweet, rich, slightly acidic yellow flesh and attractive yellow skin with red blush
  • Moderately resistant to bacterial leaf spot


  • 550 Chilling Hours
  • Freestone
  • Large fruit ripens late May
  • Tangy-sweet yellow flesh and attractive yellow-orange skin with red blush
  • Moderately resistant to bacterial leaf spot


  • 450 Chilling Hours
  • Semi-freestone
  • Medium fruit ripens late May-early June
  • Firm and flavorful fruit, yellow skin with slight blush

Use open center method

At Planting: Cut main stem back to a height of 24” to 30”.  Allow tree to grow freely the first year.

1st Winter:  In January to mid-February while the tree is dormant, select 3-4 evenly-spaced scaffold branches.  Prune the tips of these to 24” from the trunk.  Remove any growth arising on the scaffold branches within 6” of the trunk.  All branches on the trunk above or below the scaffold branches should be removed.  Remove all branches growing down, towards the center, vertically, or at narrow angles. 

Subsequent Winters: Long, slender branches should be headed back each winter to induce further branching. Continue removing branches growing down, towards the center, or at narrow angles. Consult a reputable, current book or university website for more complete pruning information.


Harvest time ranges from mid May to late July, depending on the variety.  When the tree is of bearing age, before the peaches reach 1/2” in diameter, thin the fruit so that they are 6” apart. This is essential for the health of the tree.  Proper thinning often removes 70-80% of the fruit.  Neglecting to thin the fruit can break branches, reduce or eliminate the next season’s production, or even kill the tree.