Peaches and some other stone fruit trees, especially apricots and Japanese plums, tend to bloom very early in spring, when there's still a strong chance of frosts that could kill open blossoms and developing fruit. Apricots bloom so early that we don't grow them, as a crop can be expected only one year in ten in this area. With peaches, we choose varieties that require the most winter chilling, which is the number of hours with temperatures between 32 F and 45F. (Colder or warmer temperatures don't satisfy the chilling requirement.) Once a variety's chill needs are met, it must accumulate a certain number of heat units above 45F, then buds will start swelling and developing until they bloom.
|Our peach trees are still dormant, but some flower buds have begun to swell.|
|The branch in front shows the rounder flower buds on each side of the branch starting to get plump. Pointed leaf buds, often found between two flower buds, don't swell until later, so peach leaves usually don't emerge until after bloom.|