Peach Blossoms

2024 May 19

The state of Michigan is renowned for its peaches[1], in fact, some might go so far as to call it the Peach Tree State[2], and so we thought we should get in on some of this peachy goodness and plant a peach tree.

So we planted this one last summer, and now it has successfully made it through the winter and started blooming around May 15, 2024. Peach trees are savagely invasive, and our climate is so perfectly suited for them that they must be kept caged at all times lest they escape[3]

The blossoms are a beautiful pink (actually, dare I say, “peach-colored”?) and the tree is blooming quite profusely.

The question now is, how well will it get pollinated and set fruit? The blossoms certainly look like they try hard in the pollen production department, just look at all the anthers it has:

If this tree does well, we will probably plant more. I understand that peaches are a fairly short-lived tree that only live 10-20 years (unlike apples, which can live over a century), and so it is useful to continuously have new ones “coming up the pipeline” to replace the ones that die of old age.

[1] Well, OK, that’s actually a lie. Growing peaches in Michigan is mainly known as being a marginal enterprise at best, and to the extent that it is successful, is mostly done in the lower peninsula. The upper peninsula has historically been pretty much peach-free. The only reason we are able to maybe make a shot at this one, is that the peach breeders have been developing more cold-hardy strains. This particular one is Melocotonero Redskin peach, which are supposed to be cold-tolerant down to USDA Zone 4. The USDA Zone Map currently shows us in Zone 5B, which should give us a bit of margin of error, so with any luck this will work out. Just last year, we saw some people up in Hancock near the fairgrounds that had a tree that I think is the same variety as this one, and it was about 8 feet tall with a few dozen peaches on it, so there is reason to think this will work out. One thing that I read is that, contrary to what one might expect, it is not a good idea to plant peach trees in warm, sheltered areas. That just makes them bud out too early, and makes them more likely to be taken out by a late frost. Instead, they should be planted fully exposed so that by they time they decide that it is warm enough to start budding out, the danger of late frost is past.

[2] There are some commercial peach growers in Michigan, mostly down in the southwest corner of the state along the Lake Michigan shoreline, between Grand Rapids and the Indiana border. But nobody in their right mind would call Michigan the “Peach Tree State”. So yeah, that was a lie, too.

[3] OK, this one isn’t true either. The fence is to keep the deer from chewing off all the young shoots. They have a talent for sorting out through aaaaaall the trees and fresh, lush grass growing in profusion, and narrowing in specifically on the fruit trees that we just planted. And then they annhilate them. A fence keeps them out pretty effectively.

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