How Weather Impacts Peach Crops

(Last Updated On: July 12, 2011)

“This article was authored exclusively for Eat Like No One Else by Pearson Farm, a fifth-generation family farm producing the best Georgia peaches that are shipped directly from our orchard to your front door.”

While peaches can be grown in many climates (from North Florida to Michigan), warm weather, plenty of water and good soil are the ideal climate for growing quality peaches. Georgia is the perfect mix of these weather factors, thus allowing the ability to grow more than 30 different varieties of peaches.

As any peach farmer can tell you, producing sweet peaches is a delicate task. All of the stars must align, weather must be to the crop’s liking and a little luck included.

Georgia’s soil is a beneficial resource to have available when trying to grow peaches, but is only half of the battle; weather conditions have the most direct impact on growing healthy peaches. The better tasting and bigger sized peaches require a certain number of “chill” hours – temps under 45 F during the winter months. The number of chill hours required varies according to variety of peach – some need as few as 400 hours and others as many as 800-900.

Once the chill requirement has been met then the fruit tree is getting ready to come into bloom. Peach trees bloom when they are exposed to a certain amount of warmth, generally associated with the onset of summer. When there is a mild spring, and winter turns into summer overnight, peach crops can be devastated.

Additionally, water helps to nurture each peach as it comes to maturity. More water, in the form of rain or crop irrigation, will typically lead to larger peach. Hot temperatures and dry conditions will produce smaller peaches, but the sugars contained in them will be more concentrated, making a sweeter peach.

When temperatures begin to warm in the spring time, peach trees will bloom. The trees get used to the sunshine and water from spring showers. If a cold front moves in and causes a freeze, after the peach trees have started to bloom, it can severely harm the trees and cause the crop to be lost.