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Peach Trees: Know Your Chilling Hours

LSU AgCenter

Have you ever eaten a peach? Like really eaten a fresh, local peach directly from the tree it was growing on? Home-grown peaches and grocery store peaches, in my mind, should be considered two different fruits. Peaches from the grocery store are dry and tasteless. A home-grown peach, either from the farmer's market or from your own backyard, is certainly one of the joys of life. Juicy, sweet, and fresh, there's nothing else that compares to a fresh peach.

When selecting your peaches, be sure to consider your chilling hour requirements. There are many schools of thought as to what contitutes a "chilling hour," but the easiest for a home gardener to calculate is the number of hours the temperature is below 45 degrees.

Chilling hours vary from south to north here in Louisiana. In Baton Rouge, selecting a peach with a chilling hour requirement of 400 hours will perform well in our area.

Chilling hours are importanat because they tell the tree when spring is present and therefore when it's safe to open their flowers and leaf buds. Chilling hours that are too low will cause flowering in the winter.