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A Guide to Frost-Proof Peach Trees

Get fresh peaches without the hassle of frost and peach leaf curl with a frost proof peach tree. In this guide, we discuss what the tree looks like, how to grow it, and what diseases and wildlife can affect it.

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Frost proof peach trees, known more commonly as frost peach trees, produce juicy and sweet peaches (Prunus persica), like other peach varieties. However, this tree differs from other peach tree varieties because it’s resistant to frost and peach leaf curl, two of the most common destroyers of peach trees.

If you live in a state with a warm or moderate climate, read our guide to learn how to properly plant and care for a frost proof peach tree.

Frost Peach Tree Overview

Fruit size 2–3 inches in diameter
Fruit size 2–3 inches in diameter
Fruit uses Eat raw or in a recipe like peach cobbler
Fruit color Red and yellow blush skin; yellow flesh
Fruit texture and flavor Fuzzy and juicy texture; sweet flavor
Region South, West Coast
Hardiness zone 5–9
Growing season Blooms in early spring; pick in July or August
Resistance Peach leaf curl, frost
Susceptibility Brown rot, scab disease

What Does a Frost Peach Tree Look Like?

Peach trees can reach a height and width of 25 feet. The tree has green leaves and pink flowers that the peaches grow out of. Peaches are typically two to three inches in diameter. The skin of the peach is red blush over a yellow skin and the peach has yellow flesh and is considered a freestone fruit, meaning that the pit easily pulls away from the flesh.

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Growing Conditions for a Frost Peach Tree

Here are the optimal growing conditions for frost proof peach trees.

Sun and Shade

Frost peach trees require lots of sun, so be sure to plant it where it can get direct sunlight. The most successful trees get full sun, but they can still survive in partial sunlight.

Soil

Peach trees have specific soil preferences and grow best in well-drained soil that’s sandy and loamy. with a slightly acidic pH of 6.0 to 6.5.

Fertilizer

To keep the soil healthy, you should maintain a regular fertilizer schedule. One week after planting your tree, sprinkle eight ounces of fertilizer in a circle eight inches from the base of the tree. In the second and third years of its life, sprinkle 12 ounces of fertilizer around the tree in early and late spring. For mature trees ages four and up, sprinkle 16 ounces of fertilizer around the tree in early and late spring.

The best fertilizer to use is one that has an even balance of the three main ingredients—nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. This could be 10-10-10, which is 10% nitrogen, 10% phosphorus, and 10% potassium, 12-12-12, or 20-20-20. A fertilizer with an even amount of all three can improve the overall health of the plant.

Watering

During the first growing season, apply an inch of water to the tree per week. After that, make sure the tree gets 30 inches of water per year, or one inch of water every 10 days, either from precipitation or irrigation.

Ideal Hardiness Zones

The frost proof peach tree can be grown in zones 5–9, which make up the majority of the country, minus cold states along the Canadian border and warmer parts of Florida, California, and Hawaii.

How to Plant a Frost Peach Tree

The best time to plant a frost proof tree is in the spring when the tree is dormant and the ground is defrosted. The easiest peach tree to plant is a bare root tree—this tree would have been grown elsewhere for about a year, dug up, shaken clean of extra soil, and placed in a moist material for easy travel.

  1. Prior to planting, choose a planting site that will get direct sunlight and that doesn’t have grass or weeds.
  2. Dig a hole a few inches wider and deeper than the root spread.
  3. Place the roots on a mound of soil in the hole.
  4. Fill the hole back up with soil.
  5. After planting the tree, apply a mulch layer of four to five inches to prevent weeds in the future and soak the soil around the tree with water.

It will take three to four years for the tree to bear its first peaches. After that, flowers should bloom in early spring and the peaches should be ready to pick in July or August.

The typical peach tree lives for a maximum of 15–20 years before dying. However, if you don’t care for your tree properly, it could die seven years after being planted.

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Tolerance and Susceptibility

Peach trees are susceptible to peach leaf curl, a fungal disease that causes peach tree leaves to curl down and turn light green, red, or purple. A few varieties of peach trees, including the frost peach tree, are resistant to this disease.

Brown rot and scab disease are common fungal diseases that affect peaches along with other fruit trees. Brown rot creates gray, fuzzy spots, while scab disease creates olive green or brown spots. These spots affect the leaves, fruits, branches, and blossoms.

The defining feature of a frost proof peach three is its frost-resistant quality. Peach trees typically can’t grow in cold weather, but a frost peach tree can tolerate cooler climates.

Wildlife Threats

A variety of bugs will attack your tree, including grubs, stink bugs, oriental fruit moths, and borers. Some animals, including squirrels, deer, raccoons, rats, and opossums, might take the fruit from your tree for food. While this won’t damage your tree in the same way that pests and disease might, it can be frustrating to care for the tree and not get to reap the benefits.

Final Thoughts

The typical peach tree is fussy with specific growing instructions. However, the frost proof peach tree is more resilient against frost and is disease-resistant against peach leaf curl, making it a good option if you live in a cooler state or want to try growing a peach tree for the first time.

Frequently Asked Questions About Frost Proof Peach Trees

When should I prune my frost peach tree?

Prune your newly planted tree down to 2–2.5 feet above the ground into a V shape during the late winter or early spring. Maintain that V shape and cut off 50% of the previous year’s fruiting wood every late winter or early spring after that.

How do you prevent peach leaf curl?

Peach leaf curl can be controlled by spraying the tree with a sulfur- or copper-based fungicide labeled for peach and nectarine trees. You should spray the entire tree after 90% of the leaves have dropped in the fall and again in early spring before the tree buds. While the frost peach tree is a more resistant variety to peach leaf curl than other types of peach trees, it can still get it, so spraying the tree with fungicide is best practice.

Does peach leaf curl kill the tree?

Peach leaf curl won’t always kill a tree, but it can weaken it, causing it to produce fewer peaches and misshapen ones at that. If the disease takes over most of the tree, you may have to remove the tree yourself.

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