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This plant may not thrive in your area
Since 1964, one peach tree has reliably demonstrated its ability to withstand harsh winters and still produce large crops of flavorful peaches '– the Reliance Peach '– (Prunus persica 'Reliance'). We don't throw around the phrase "best peach tree" at random. Our recommendation echoes the words of the University of California, Davis, which rates Reliance Peach as the "best choice for severely cold winters." So if you live outside the sunny South, and you've always wanted to grow your own peaches, you can rely on Reliance Peach! Classic Peaches with a Delicious Taste In a nutshell '– sweet and flavorful, which are the two most important taste qualities of a fresh peach. After more than 50 years, the accolades for Reliance Peach keep pouring in. Sometimes the old classics really are the best, and that's the case with this outstanding peach tree. Graceful Pink Flowers in the Spring That's what your yard will look like in springtime when you plant a Reliance Peach tree. The picture-perfect peach blossoms are such a welcome sight after a cold winter. When trees are in full bloom, they splash the landscape with pinkish hues. And when peach blossoms are on the tree, the peach fruits can't be too far behind! Edible Landscaping This practice has built momentum in recent years as a way to maximize the beauty and functionality of any landscape. It's how you can doubly enhance your landscape by using plants that are typically considered edible crops only and blending them into a comprehensive ornamental landscape design. For example, you can use low-growing vegetables or herbs to edge your flower beds, and you can use Reliance Peach as a flowering tree to add color to your spring landscape. The peaches are the main event, but the flowers are the opening show! Reliance Peach Requires No Pollinator! The science behind growing fruiting plants can sometimes be a little confusing. Some fruits cannot form on plants unless the flowers receive pollen from another plant. But you don't have to worry about any of that because Reliance Peach is a "self-fruitful" tree. This means that it can produce fruit by itself, without any help from another peach tree. Of course, you'll harvest more fruit on each tree if there are other nearby peach trees to increase pollination, but additional trees are not required! A Tasty Snack Packed with Benefits If you're aiming for a healthier diet, you know that adding fresh fruit is always a doctor-recommended step toward this goal. Peaches do not simply taste good; they are also good for your health. A single peach is packed with nutrients, containing Vitamins A and C, iron, potassium, magnesium, and niacin '– just to name a few important dietary contributions. Plus, they're fiber-rich, salt-free, and cholesterol-free '– a winning combination! Save Your Summer Peaches for the Winter by Freezing Them! Peaches freeze very well. You can freeze them in plastic zipper bags or in rigid plastic containers. This is the way to enjoy a bountiful peach harvest even during winter when you crave the flavors of summer. When peaches are exposed to the air, they can turn brown. And even though this color change won't affect their taste, it makes them look unappetizing. The quick and easy trick for preserving their bright color starts with picking up some ascorbic acid the next time you're at the supermarket. You only need to sprinkle 1/8 teaspoon of ascorbic acid over a quart of peaches, coating the fruit. This way, your Reliance Peaches retain their bright, golden color even when they're frozen! This Freestone Fruit Means Easier Pitting Among stone fruits '– those that have large seeds, which are also called pits or stones '– there are two classifications: clingstone and freestone. These designations describe the attachment between the seed and the flesh of the fruit. Clingstone fruits have seeds that don't easily detach from the flesh. Freestone fruits, such as Reliance Peach, have seeds that readily detach from the flesh. This makes easy work of removing the pit, and you won't lose any of the flesh that sticks to the pits the way that clingstone peaches are formed. Take a Look at the Chill Hours To harvest peaches successfully, you have to check the chill-hour requirement of the tree you're considering. Some types of fruiting plants, such as apple and peach trees, have to undergo a certain number of hours below 45 degrees F during each annual cold season so the fruits can form. Reliance Peach trees are winter-hardy in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 4 through 8, but according to the University of California, Davis, they also need 1,050 chill hours to ensure they'll produce fruit. You may not have heard of chill hours, but if you call your local Cooperative Extension Service, they can let you know what this measurement is in your region. The Importance of Elevation for Frost Protection Even though Reliance Peach trees are exceptionally hardy in cold climates, the flower and fruit buds can still be damaged by frosts. One of the simplest ways to provide protection for them is to plant trees, if possible, on a site that is higher than other terrain in your yard or garden. The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension offers a startling statistic to back this up '– the temperature on a hill can be as much as 10 degrees F warmer than the temperature in the valley below! This can make all the difference in flower or fruit buds that suffer cold injury and those that remain unharmed. Easy to Prune! Not at all; in fact, they're remarkably easy to prune ?… plus, we've done all the preliminary work for you! It's important to prune peach trees to keep them healthy and productive '– pruning opens up the tree, which increases the air circulation around branches and therefore helps prevent disease. Pruning a peach tree to an open form also allows sunlight to penetrate the canopy and reach the branches. To perform this simple maintenance task, you only need to spend less than 30 minutes once a year to shape your tree, and you won't need to do any pruning until the second year after you plant your tree. First, you'll remove all the sprouts that may grow around the base of your Reliance Peach tree. And second, in late winter when your tree is dormant, choose three or four of the most vigorous branches that grow off the main trunk and that are widely spaced. Leave these branches on the tree, and prune the others away. Thinning the Fruit Each Reliance Peach tree characteristically sets a heavy crop of fruit, so you'll likely need to thin the fruits each year. If you leave all the fruits on a tree, the weight of the peaches can cause branches to break, and the tree may become weaker because so many fruits deplete the nutrients that are vital for the tree's root system and growth. About 4 to 6 weeks after the bloom time has ended, some of the tiny fruits that form may naturally fall from the trees. This is okay; it's just the tree's way of doing a little thinning on its own. But if you still have loads of fruit that are very close together or that even touch each other, you'll need to take matters (literally) in your own hands. Holding a branch firmly in one hand, use your other hand to twist off enough small peaches so the branch ends up having fruits that are spaced 4 to 6 inches apart. Establishing and Maintaining Your Tree Consider the first two years after you plant your Reliance Peach as the all-important establishment phase, which is important for the life of your tree. You want to plant it on a well-draining site that receives lots of sun '– at least 6 hours each day (8 hours are even better). When rainfall doesn't supply 1 inch of water each week, manually water it to receive this equivalent amount. Don't skimp on watering during the hot months of July and August. The fruits have formed and they're growing, so this time period represents your tree's highest demand for water. Fertilize your tree based on the advice of your local Cooperative Extension Service. They'll walk you through how to take a simple soil sample that they'll evaluate for you. If you guess at how much, and what kind, of fertilizer to apply, you may apply too much and burn the roots. When you apply fertilizer, place it at least 18 inches from the trunk of your tree.
Reliance Peach Trees are self-fertile. You will get fruit with only one plant. However, adding an additional Reliance Peach Tree will drastically increase the size of your crop.