Peach trees can enhance your landscape with their fragrant blossoms and attractive foliage. Many gardeners enjoy gathering and consuming the harvest from their peach trees, while others grow them mainly for their aesthetics, allowing the fruits to remain on the trees for wildlife and birds to eat. Peach trees thrive in warmer areas that experience mild winters. The hard pit in the center of the tasty fruit supplies the opportunity for a new tree to grow and mature, through a series of stages.
Germination and Sprouting
Although the majority of commercial peach trees come from grafted rootstock, these fruit trees reproduce in nature through seeds. Whether the ripe fruit containing the pit falls into a suitable location, or you plant it in a pot of soil, the first stage involves the sprouting of the seed. Germination normally occurs the spring after the seed falls from the tree. A small shoot emerges from the bottom of the seed and begins to form the roots and stem.
Young peach seedlings grow best in sunny areas with protection from intense sunlight. These young trees focus all their energy into forming strong root systems, healthy branches and leaves during the first few years. Peach trees can take five to 10 years to begin blossoming. During this early stage, you can train and shape the growth of a peach tree by pruning crowded and broken branches.
Dormancy allows the peach tree time to rest and conserve energy during cold spells. Peach trees begin entering the dormancy stage in the fall, when leaves begin to yellow and fall from the branches. This period of inactivity lasts until the spring sun warms the soil and encourages renewed growth.
Mature peach trees blossom in the spring. Depending on the climate, soil conditions and variety of peach tree, you may notice a few blossoms on your tree when it reaches about five years of age. As your tree continues to mature, you will notice an increase in the number of blossoms. These blossoms form on the previous year’s growth.
A self-pollinating type of fruit tree, a peach tree does not require other trees to help it reproduce and form fruits. As the blossoms fade and the petals fall from the branches, fruit begins to form in their place, a stage known as fruit set. These small fruits resemble tiny buds along the branches of a peach tree. As the summer passes, the buds enlarge to resemble green fruits. Peach fruits lose their green color and begin turning pinkish-yellow as they ripen. In ideal conditions, the pits contained in these mature fruits may sprout and form new trees.