Anyone growing peaches in Minnesota?

troman1973(4)June 2, 2007

I bought two Contender peach trees from Gurney's last year. No one I asked advice from said they would make it through the winter, but they did to my surprise. The one even had about six blossoms on it and right now I even have one peach starting, now weather it falls off I wont know. It took a week of -40 degree weather in February and a late freeze in April. Now that I have made it through one winter, I really dont know how to prune the tree and when to prune it. I have gotten advice from people who grow them in the south, but it doesnt relate to the North, as the seasons are so different. They are growing in branches now and I know I need to prune some of them, but when and how? I am just hoping there are some people in North Dakota and Minnesota that can help. Thanks Any other tips for growing peaches would be MUCH APPRECIATED!

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dmyers(Z4 MN)

I have the same tree's. I bought four of them. 2 for me, 2 for a friend. All 4 are growing great, though slow, on the 4th year. They also have been fruiting each year.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 1:29PM
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We planted two Reliance peach trees in the spring of 05 and last year they had about 10 peaches on them between the two--the squirrels ate every last one of them before they could mature. This year there must be about 100 to 150 peaches, my husband covered them with netting recently to keep out the birds and squirrels so hopefully we will actually get to taste one this year. My husband found information on pruning and such from doing a search on the web--the university of Wisconsin had a lot of information on pruning etc. Good luck with your peaches!!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 12:48AM
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I am on my third growing season of my contender, but it isn't 'growing'. I have leaves, tree is healthy, but it is not getting any height. I have had no peaches, or flowers or anything yet.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2007 at 12:19PM
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I just thought I would start this topic again here to see how your peach trees are doing. I have posted on other fourums as well, but feel Minnesota winters are closer to mine.

My peach trees are still alive, but still no fruit, they are growing very well. I had some die back this year and assume it is because of the cold spring we had this year. I didnt even get any flowers this year, one of the trees must be ten feet tall and is growing very well.

I am just curious if anyone has set any peaches this year and if you had as cold a spring as we did.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2008 at 4:48PM
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may8(Z4 MN)

I have a wild one since about 2001. Unfortunately, we never got one fruit out of it. Last year, there were a lot of peaches. Even though many had spots (maybe bacterial spots), they were all gone one day. Wish I know how to keep squirrels, rabbits, etc. away. When pruning, it may be a good idea not to cut too close to the trunk. Mine has canker at a pruning cut probably because of that. See photos at:

"This Old House" showed a big tree with a large decaying hole where a branch was pruned flushed to the trunk. They recommended leaving a couple of inches of each branch.

Peach trees are hard to grow, because they are prone to diseases. Since mine came up by itself, I'll keep it for now. It geminated from a seed in the mulch where I planted a blueberry. The blueberry died after one year, but the peach is now over 10 feet tall and the leaves are very healthy.

By the way, I really want blueberries. I tried unsucessfully for several years. What is a good variety that is easy to grow here? Where to get them? Any good sales? Any one has extras to trade? Is fall or spring a better time to plant?

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 3:56AM
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Thanks for the info May, I was beginning to think no one in Minnesota grew peaches! and I know that isnt true.

Since yours grew from seed you dont know what kind of tree it is than I assume. Did you just through a pit out? That is good that you got peaches on the tree, even if you didnt get to taste them. My trees were planted in 2006 and one is over ten feet now.

As far as blueberries, I have been tempted to plant them to , but they need acidic soil and we dont have it here so you would need to prepare you soil and make it acidic if it isnt and I dont believe our soils here are acidic and they will not survive unless you do this.

Good luck and thanks for the peach info.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 9:34AM
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may8(Z4 MN)

Hi troman1973, it is a yellow cling stone. I was hoping for a white freestone, because it is sweeter and hardier. It came from the kitchen refuse buried under the blueberry. I almost pulled it up, but recognized the graceful long slender leaves. It is a good looking tree, even if we did not get any fruits. Next spring should be a high crop year, very beautiful with lots of blooms. I did not know anything about peaches before, but did a lot of research since then. White peaches, originated from northern China, can withstand cold better. If I were to buy a tree, I would choose a white freestone variety.

Yes, I did some research on blueberries too. We need to add sulfur. Just on the news, the University of Minnesota came up with a new hardy variety with large berries. Don't know how sweet and tasty it is. When and where to get it and how expensive.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 4:32PM
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After you talked about canker I looked at the site and I think I have canker too. A deer did some damage to the bark last year and where the wound was I think canker has started. What did you do? Reading the article it sounds like it is to late to prune it out this year because it wont heal. I will prune next spring. I also have seen that glue substance coming out of another tree,could this be the start of canker?

Also does your tree flower every year? I have gotten mine to flower once out of two years.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2008 at 12:05PM
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may8(Z4 MN)

I am not doing much to it now because I am disappointed at not getting any fruits. When I first discovered the problem, I thought it might be peach tree borer and I used moth crystals see:

It seemed to work and have not seen gummy stuff lately. Maybe it has been dry this year. In the past, the gummy stuff was oozing out after heavy rain. I also spray all cuts and splits in the bark with left over latex paint to help prevent disease. Don't know if it is right, but it seems to work.

My tree has been blooming for several years, initially not many flowers. Last year, it was full of blooms, but this year only a dozen or two with no fruits developed. It is an off year along with late frost kill.

Good luck with your trees!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 1:56AM
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lori251(Z4- Twin Cities)

Hi, I too have peach trees and blueberries. As far as the peaches go I bought a reliance from home depot and it had alot of die back this spring, so no peaches. I ordered a contender from gurneys this spring and so far it looks good, but very small. Do you ever cover them in the winter to prevent die back or do anything to prevent die back? Do you think this last spring was just really hard on peach trees or was it normal compared to other years? I read not to prune until winter so that they will go dormant sooner. I'm not sure if this is true. As far as the blueberries go I have Jersey, Northblue, Bluecrop and St. Cloud. I would definately recommend St. Cloud which is sweet and not tart like the others. You can also find extension website post recommended varieties and rate the sweetness. I put a large percentage of peat moss around the roots and some soil sulfur. I read not to use aluminum sulfate because it will burn the roots and soil sulfur doesn't do that. Mine have been doing well for a few years now with not alot of maintenance beside Miracid a couple times a year. Another route is to plant a serviceberry/ juneberry or saskatoon (they go by several names) , which you can order though a mail catalog. I have a couple of those too. They don't have the acid requirement, but can get quite large, and taste like a blueberry. A couple recommended varieties I've read about are smokey, theissen and regent. I bought mine from Gurneys, they call it a Blueberry Saskatoon and they couldn't tell me the variety. Although they grew well they have quite small berries, so I plan to replace them. Hope this all helps : )

Here is a link that might be useful: University MN- Juneberries

    Bookmark   September 8, 2008 at 9:02PM
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may8(Z4 MN)

Lori, thanks for the link. I'll take a good look at other shrubs later. For the juneberry, it said that "Fruits are edible, but quite bland and normally taken by birds." Yours are sweet like blueberries, right? How long does it take to get fruits?

As for the peach tree, the first few years, I put a 2-3 feet high fence around the base of the tree, about 3-4 feet in diameter. Then filled it up with leaves. In the spring, I took the fence off and raked the leaves away from the trunk, but left them for mulching. Last year, I was too busy and did not do anything. There was no die back, maybe it is more tough after spending 8 winters. Last year may be one of the coldest years in its life. Come to think about it, it never had any die back. Don't know if just protecting the base makes any difference.

I believe spring is better for pruning. Check on some of the websites.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2008 at 1:20AM
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I too believe spring is a better time to prune, I think they can become harmed by winter because they dont have a chance to heal.

I also had more dieback this year on my peach tree than the other two years. I really believe it was the cold spring, I am glad to here I am not the only one. I am still hoping since i had flowers that first year I will get peaches someday.

For winter I put mulch around them and put a protector around the trunk, but I dont do anything else. I think the snow will insulate them also. Last year we had very little snow, so I am thinking that is why they were stunted too.

Thanks all for the info.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2008 at 9:11AM
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lori251(Z4- Twin Cities)

It is very reassuring to hear that others had dieback to. I did enclose the tree with wire and filled that with leaves and threw extra snow most of the way up the trunk. I then also enclosed it with clear landscape wrap to keep the deer from eating it and in hopes to keep the wind from causing dieback. It didn't seem to work as all the branches were dead in the spring, but the tree grew all new ones and it looks great now. Can anyone find something else I should have done? Does anybody have both a Contender and a Reliance to say as to which is hardier? I have heard some say Reliance is harder and then others say the contender is.
May8 as far as the serviceberries go, I think it is a couple years before they produce berries. I got mine from Gurneys and it flowered as soon as I planted it. As for the flavor they are definately worth eating. In Canada they sell them in the groceries stores and grow them as crops like we do in the US with blueberries. It is odd the different culuture, but they are as foreign to blueberries up there as we are to Serviceberries here
I will put a couple links with some charts I have found helpful that rate the flavor, disease resistance, etc. for both serviceberries and blueberries.


Other links:

Here is a link that might be useful: Saskatoon/ Service Berry Chart

    Bookmark   September 13, 2008 at 12:56PM
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I have a hybrid Peach Tree call PF-24 cold hardy. This winter2010-2011, will be it's 3 winter. Having grown up in California--Peach Trees are pruned in the fall--Nov-Jan, They are pruned in a vase shape. Here in Minnesota, I would prune them in early February.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2011 at 6:41PM
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dandy_line(3B (Brainerd, Mn))

I had a peach tree in the back yard when
i lived in St Louis, Mo. The thing produced lots of fruit each year but the worms totally destroyed them. Me thinks it easier to buy them in the store.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2011 at 6:30PM
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Jim, your pruning timeframe in Minnesota is about a month off. In early February in all parts of Minnesota, it's too cold and impractical to be doing any fruit tree pruning. In southern Minnesota, wait until mid to late March, and in northernmost counties (peaches wouldn't survive there, but) in April.

Hardiness of peach trees in southern Minnesota is one thing. The plant may survive but peach tree flower buds (that are initiated by the end of fall the previous year) are hardy only to about -15 F at most. So, the tree might survive, but chances are a vast majority of buds are killed (dessication) and thus fruiting diminished or prevented. This is the same issue that peach growers in Maine, Vermont and Quebec have to deal with.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2011 at 11:40PM
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gusolie stated that peaches will only grow in southern minnesota. has anyone grown them north of fargo moorhead area? if so, what variety? am thinking about purchasing the contender for my parents.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2011 at 3:56PM
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I purchased a reliance peach tree from the friends plant sale last year, and it's survived it's first winter. In fact it has over 75 blooms on it right now. It did have an almost canker spot (a u of m horticulturalist said that it was in between being a wound and a canker, but on it's way to canker), and I applied some Doc Farwells Heal and Seal to it, and it has completely closed up. Other than that I noticed about one centimeter of die back on each branch, but I think that may have to do more with the cold spring than the winter. But for the moment all is well with the peach tree. I'll post another update if any of the blooms turn into peaches this year.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 12:10AM
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I have 3 contenders , moose lake minnesota their growing no fruite yet but I have fifty other fruite trees to so if not on one well mabe the others.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 1:08PM
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nick_b79(4/5 Southeast MN)

I tried a Reliance from Gurney's about 6 years ago about 30 miles north of St. Cloud, and it didn't make it through the winter despite being in a sheltered location (tucked into a grove of evergreens on the leeward side of a mature windbreak).

That said, I'm going to try another one in the next year or two now that I live 30 miles south of St. Paul. According to the new Arbor Day map, we're almost into zone 5 down here. I've gotten medlars, persimmons and pawpaws to survive down here, and all of those aren't supposed to be any hardier than peaches.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 3:28PM
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In 1999 I planted one dwarf Reliance peach from Miller. Now it is twelve years old. The root system won't hold it upright, so it is supported with 4 T-posts and ropes. It is pruned to keep the top small. The fruit tends to be smallish (needs to be thinned earlier and more heavily), gold blushed with red, juicy, sweet and delicious. This year it wasn't so sweet. I do spray for disease & bugs.
I buried the pits, resulting in several trees. One young tree this year was about 9' tall and bore a heavy crop of fruit identical to the mother tree. Its root system is strong.
In spring when trees are in bloom and there is morning frost I spray the trees with water to dissipate the frost until the sun hits the area.
Several years ago chipmunks were climbing the tree and taking a bite or two out of each peach. Finally I ordered a "Rat Zapper" online. That summer I caught 54 chipmunks. Each succeeding year I have caught fewer. I also catch mice, voles, a squirrel and a pocket gopher. I do live in the city. Love that Rat Zapper!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 12:32PM
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may8(Z4 MN)

You had better luck than me. My peach tree seemed dead last year. Only small shoots came back from the bottom and they also dried up. Hope it comes back in the spring. I've never gotten a peach from it. The animals got them first.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2012 at 11:53PM
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The biggest limiting factor in MN for actual peach fruit development is that peach trees only have a -15 F threshold for their flower buds to survive the winter.

Your tree may survive a MN winter, but sustained temperatures at or below -15 F will kill all extant flower buds resting dormant. Once the buds are killed, no flowers that following spring and no chance for fruits for you, bugs, squirrels or the robber.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 10:47PM
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I have had really good crops of peaches from my Contender peach here in Southern WI, zone 5. Even after 3 to 5 days of frost on the buds. (canned 55 courts last year) I ordered a TruGold peach from Gurneys this spring, it's supposed to be more cold hardy then Contender. We'll see, then I also found Flamin'Fury PF-24C-Cold Hardy Peach on a web page from Grandpa's Orchard, which I think I might try, They are claiming it to be one of the most cold hearty peaches to date. It seams to be a relatively new variety, so wonder if anyone has tried it?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 6:51AM
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Check out the Polly White Peach. It was developed in Iowa and is hardy to -20F. We live 5 miles north of St Paul, MN, and last June I planted one. It was a second year container tree that almost doubled in size over the summer after planting. (from 4 to 7 feet) I watered it until Oct, and put a white plastic cover over the trunk. I also planted it near our driveway so I could easily shovel snow around the base for some extra insulation. (we never use salt on our drive) Our winter was so incredibly mild, and the temp never went below -9F in our area. This spring, the tree is looking fantastic! The trunk looks good, zero dieback, and it easily has 40 to 50 flower buds. I've decided to take full advantage of this...if fruit develops, I will let the tree fully fruit, and only thin to prevent branch breakage. Who knows when we'll get another mild winter like this last one. I'm hoping for some good peaches.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 11:19PM
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