Peach trees are ideal for backyard orchards. They will produce lovely, juicy fruits for many years if you give them regular care and attention.
Standard mature peach trees can produce an average of three bushels per harvest. That is around 120 to 150 pounds of fruit.
Peach trees are deciduous plants and live about fifty years. Many trees have an average lifespan of 8 to 15 years. They make effective screens due to their dense, low-branching nature, but since they are dormant during the cold season, they are not particularly attractive in the winter.
Understanding a peach tree’s life cycle can prepare you for challenges that might come while growing it.
Peach seeds are large and spherical, with a woody exterior. If the conditions are favorable, the seed will be able to use all of the genetic material it contains to begin developing a sprout.
A mature embryo, sufficient endosperm, and just enough hormones are required for the process to begin. The process lasts between two weeks and three months, depending on the variety and the growing conditions.
The seed leaves, or cotyledons, are the seedling’s primary leaves. After sprouting, peach seeds produce roots that permeate the soil to draw water and nutrients that are necessary for its growth.
When the thick white rootlets have formed, young seedlings can be transferred to larger containers or planted in the ground. At this stage, the first true leaves should have already developed just above the cotyledon.
The juvenile period for peach trees lasts at least three years. At this stage, the sapling is rapidly growing and focusing its energy on vegetative growth.
Every year, healthy peach trees grow up to 18 inches. A typical young tree will have multi-stemmed trunks that split close to the ground. The branches grow upward to develop a solid crown.
A peach tree will establish a strong, deep taproot from which lateral roots will grow. The leaves are lanceolate with a simple ovular shape and sharp edges. They are smooth with vivid green veins.
Peach trees will often grow as wide as they are tall. When fully mature, a typical tree will reach an average height of 15 to 20 feet. Under ideal conditions, the tree can reach 30 feet in height and width.
The bud enlargement signifies flower initiation. At this time, peach trees stop developing vegetative tissue and begin producing flowers.
Full bloom means most flowers are open and ready for fertilization. Honey bees are generally the most important pollinators.
The majority of peach trees are self-pollinating. As long as the flowers are healthy, they can bear fruit without issue.
Peach flower petals drop from the tree once fertilization is complete. Pollinated flowers will now begin to develop fruit.
Once a flower has been fertilized, it will take 3 to 5 months for the fruit to develop into the fuzzy, white to yellow-orange, sweet, juicy peach we know.
During the first 50 days after fertilization, rapid cell division takes place, focusing on the fleshy areas. At this time, the seed is also growing to its full length and gradually hardening.
The expanding fruit splits the shuck as it grows, and it will eventually fall off as the fruit matures and gets closer to its typical size. In the final six weeks before harvest, the fruit size rapidly grows, accounting for up to 40% of the final size.
Peaches are eaten by both humans and animals after they are fully ripe. The seed often falls to the ground when the fruit is discarded.
When one of the fruit’s seeds falls to the ground, it germinates, and the growth cycle starts again.