If you have recently planted peach trees in your yard, you might not be seeing any fruit on the branches yet. In that case, you may be wondering when peach trees bear fruit, and if there is anything you can do differently to help them along.
So, when does a peach tree bear fruit? A peach tree will produce fruit in mid to late summer, between June and August. A peach tree will produce fruit 2 to 4 years after planting, and dwarf varieties will produce fruit 1 to 3 years after planting.
Of course, depending on the variety you choose, it may take a longer time for your peach tree to start producing fruit. There are other factors like improper pruning, over fertilization, and environmental conditions that can delay the growth of fruit on your peach tree. Let’s take a closer look at peach trees, when they bear fruit, and the factors that can affect your harvest.
When Does A Peach Tree Bear Fruit?
A Prunus persica, or peach tree, may bear fruit as early as June. However, it is more common to harvest ripe peaches later in the summer, in July or August.
Generally, the fruit on a peach tree is ripe 3 to 5 months after flowers are pollinated. The flowers on a peach tree bloom in orange, red, pink, or violet, and have a strong, pleasant fragrance.
Most varieties of peach trees are self-pollinating. However, keep in mind that self-pollination does not mean guaranteed pollination – more on this later.
Do Peach Trees Produce Fruit Every Year?
No, peach trees do not produce fruit every year. Most peach trees will need 2 to 4 years before they grow to maturity and start producing fruit. Dwarf varieties may start producing fruit 1 year sooner than standard height peach trees.
Keep in mind that problems like frost injury, over pruning, and over fertilization can delay fruiting on a peach tree by a year or more.
Also remember that if you plant a seed (stone) harvested from a peach tree, you may end up growing a tree that will never bear fruit. To ensure production on peach trees, buy established trees from nurseries.
Remember that in some cases, you will see what is called “biennial bearing” in your peach trees. This means that they will only flower and produce fruit every other year.
Often, this will happen after a year of very heavy fruit production. Essentially, the tree’s resources are exhausted from using so many nutrients to produce a large harvest. The tree then takes a year to recover its strength and prepare for production the following year.
If you want to avoid biennial bearing, use fruit thinning on your peach trees. Fruit thinning is when you cut off fruit in the early stages, so that there is one peach every 6 inches along a branch. This practice also helps to avoid broken branches on your tree due to the weight of excessive peaches.
Biennial bearing is more common in younger trees, and it may mean that you miss a year of fruit here and there. Of course, there could be other reasons that your peach harvest is poor or nonexistent – more on this later.
For more information, check out this article on time to fruit for trees on the Stark Brothers website.
How Much Fruit Does A Peach Tree Produce?
Generally, a peach tree that has reached maturity can produce 3 to 6 bushels of fruit per year. A dwarf variety can produce 1 to 3 bushels of fruit, and a miniature variety can produce up to 1 bushel of fruit.
A bushel of peaches weighs 50 pounds, so a mature peach tree can produce 150 to 300 pounds of peaches per year! Dwarf varieties may only produce 50 to 150 pounds, and miniature varieties may only produce 50 pounds.
The fruit on a peach tree appears red or yellow on the outside, and the flesh inside is yellow or white. Peach trees can live for 15 to 20 years, and grow to a height of 25 feet (6 feet for dwarf varieties).
Peach trees can yield fruit for at least a decade after they first start producing. Remember that peaches bloom and grow on 2nd year wood (branches that are 1 year old).
What Kind Of Peach Tree Should I Plant?
When selecting a peach tree, make sure to choose one that you can grow in your climate! For more information, check out the USDA Zone Hardiness map to see what zone you are in.
Also remember that there are two basic types of fruit on peach trees: freestone, where the flesh separates easily from the seed (stone) inside, and clingstone, where the flesh tends to hold on to the seed inside.
Here are some different varieties of peach trees that you might want to try.
- RedhavenPeach – this tree grows in Zones 5 to 8, and produces medium red fruit that matures in late July. Bears fruit in 2 to 4 years. For more information, check out the Redhaven Peach on the Stark Brothers website.
Contender Peach – this tree grows in Zones 4 to 8, and produces medium to large red fruit that matures in mid to late August. Bears fruit in 2 to 4 years. For more information, check out the Contender Peach on the Stark Brothers website.
Burbank July Elberta Peach – this tree grows in Zones 5 to 9, and produces medium red fruit that matures in late July. Bears fruit in 2 to 4 years. For more information, check out the Burbank July Elberta Peach on the Stark Brothers website.
Reliance Peach – this tree grows in Zones 4 to 8, and produces medium to large fruit that matures in July. Bears fruit in 2 to 4 years. For more information, check out the Reliance Peach on the Stark Brothers website.
Stark Saturn Peach – this tree grows in Zones 5 to 8, and produces medium to large red fruit that matures in July. Bears fruit in 2 to 4 years. For more information, check out the Stark Saturn Peach on the Stark Brothers website.
Blushingstar Peach – this tree grows in Zones 4 to 8, and produces large red fruit that matures in mid-August. Bears fruit in 2 to 4 years. For more information, check out the Blushingstar Peach on the Stark Brothers website.
Stark Early White Giant Peach – this tree grows in Zones 5 to 8, and produces extra-large red fruit that matures in June. Bears fruit in 2 to 4 years. For more information, check out the Stark Early White Giant Peach on the Stark Brothers website.
All of the peach trees listed here are self-pollinating (more on this below).
Do You Need Two Peach Trees To Produce Fruit?
No, you only need one peach tree to produce fruit, since most peach trees are self-pollinating. On a self-pollinating tree, each flower contains both a male and a female part.
Under the right conditions, the male part of the flower will release pollen onto the female part of the flower. However, self-pollination does not mean guaranteed pollination.
The flowers still require some sort of stimulus, such as a bee’s buzzing wings or the wind, to pollinate properly. You can provide this stimulus with an electric toothbrush if there are not many bees in your area.
For more information, check out this article on peaches from Wikipedia.
What Other Factors Affect Fruit On Peach Trees?
The quality of care that you give your peach trees will determine how much fruit you get each year. Some of the most important factors are temperature, watering, fertilizing, and pruning.
Many varieties of peach trees do well in warmer climates – the phrase “Georgia Peach” comes to mind. However, there are some varieties that can survive winters up to Zone 4.
Temperatures below 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celsius) can spell trouble for some peach trees. Temperatures below -10 degrees Fahrenheit (-23 degrees Celsius) can damage the wood of peach trees.
On the other hand, mild winters are another situation that can prevent peach trees from producing fruit. The reason is that a peach tree needs a certain number of chilling hours each winter. A chilling hour is an hour between 32 and 45 degrees Fahrenheit (0 to 7 degrees Celsius).
Most peach trees need between 350 to 750 chilling hours each winter, or else they will not break dormancy in the spring. This will lead to a complete lack of flowers and fruit that year.
One other hazard to your peach harvest is a late spring frost. A cold snap after a peach tree breaks dormancy in the spring can kill all of the flowers on the tree. In fact, this happened to my family a few years ago.
This may be frustrating if you live in a warm area, but it is nature’s way of protecting the tree. If the tree flowers too early during a mild winter, a late spring frost can kill all of the flowers and destroy any chance of a peach harvest that year.
Before purchasing peach trees online, make sure that your climate gets enough chilling hours in the winter to produce fruit, while also staying warm enough to keep the tree alive.
For more information, check out this article on chilling hours from the University of California.
Avoid letting the soil get too dry for too long if you have young peach trees. If you have a problem with dry soil, check out my article on preventing dry soil.
On the other hand, over watering can spell death for your peach tree, due to root rot or fungal diseases. For more information, check out my article on over watering.
For older peach trees, give them deep, infrequent waterings. This stimulates the root system to grow deeper and wider, rather than remaining shallow and staying near the surface of the soil. This will help the tree to survive periods of drought or neglect.
Before you plant a peach tree or stone, add some compost to your soil. It will provide organic material and nutrients for your tree as it grows. The best part is that you can make compost yourself from ordinary yard and kitchen waste!
For more information, check out my article on how to make your own compost.
It may be necessary to use fertilizers as a supplement to compost, in order to provide extra nutrients if you soil is lacking. The best way to tell if you need fertilizer is with a soil test.
For more information, check out my article on soil testing.
Finally, remember that it is possible to harm or kill your peach trees by over fertilizing them. For example, too much nitrogen can prevent your peach tree from producing any fruit.
Regular pruning is recommended for peach trees. Fruit thinning can help to prevent broken branches or biennial bearing (fruit every other year).
Light pruning can be done any time of year. Heavy pruning should be done in late fall to late winter, before the peach tree breaks dormancy.
When you prune a peach tree, first remove branches that no longer produce. Remember that a peach tree only produces fruit on 2nd year growth (branches that are 1 year old).
Then, trim any branches you are keeping to 2/3 of their original length. This will stimulate the growth of new wood lower on the tree, where you can reach the fruit.
Another interesting option is to grow the tree against the side of your house, training and pruning it espalier style.
For more information, check out this article on pruning peach trees from the Penn State University Extension.
By now, you have a good idea of when peach trees are mature enough to produce fruit, and what time of year to expect fruit (mid to late summer). You also know a bit more about how to take care of peach trees and how to avoid the problems that can affect your harvest.
I hope you found this article helpful – if so, please share it with someone who can use the information. If you have any questions or advice about peach trees, please leave a comment below.
If you have other types of fruit trees, you might want to check out my article on when a pear tree bears fruit, my article on when a cherry tree bears fruit, and my article on when a fig tree bears fruit.