Peach (Prunus persica) trees are native to Asia and are a popular fruit tree with cultivars widely grown across temperate climates, including select areas of Utah. Size varies with cultivar and management but trees usually grow about 20 feet wide and 15 feet tall. Most cultivars are hardy to -10 °F with a few hardy to -20 °F. Fruit is harvested in late summer and eaten fresh or preserved by bottling, drying, and freezing. Before planting peach, or any other fruit tree, understand that growing them requires regular maintenance, including pest and disease management, pruning and fruit thinning.
Peach fruit can be cling or freestone. In clingstone types, the pit does not easily separate from the flesh when the peach is cut in half. In freestone types, the pit is easily removed. Freestone types are used for fresh consumption and home canning, with clingstone types mostly used in commercial processing. Peaches are also classified by the color of the flesh: white or yellow. In America, yellow-fleshed peaches are most common while white-fleshed cultivars are favored in Asia. Many white-fleshed cultivars have words such as ‘snow’ or ‘arctic’ in the name denoting flesh color. Finally, consider ripening time. There are early, mid and late season types, with some of the latestripening varieties requiring a longer growing season than is available in most areas of Utah. With careful planning, it is possible to have ripe peaches from mid-summer to fall.
Since the tree will be in this location for many years, it is best to take the time to properly prepare the soil before planting. It is much easier to control perennial weeds, such as field bindweed and crabgrass, before planting. If you are unfamiliar with the soil in your location, a soil test can be very helpful during soil preparation. A basic soil test will tell you the soil texture, pH, salinity and give some nutrient recommendations. For more information on how to test soil, visit the USU Analytical Laboratory. For best success, soil pH should be below 8.0 and the soil should be low in salt. Based on nutrient recommendations from the soil test, incorporate any needed fertilizers before planting. Where secondary water will be used for irrigation, a water test will also be helpful in determining soil amendment needs.
Need Some Useful Tips?
Join thousands of gardeners who have subscribed to USU Extension's free gardening tips directly from our experts.