Growing Peaches in Northern California

Author: Meera, May 8, 2014



Desert Gold peaches are ready to eat in May

Early bearing Desert Gold peaches are ready to eat in May



What could be more sublime that eating a juicy, ripe peach freshly plucked from the tree? If you have space in your Northern California backyard or garden, consider planting one or more peach trees.




In the Bay Area, peaches are fairly easy to grow. Depending on the cultivar, they are heavy bearing. We planted a classic gold Elberta and some early-bearing Desert Gold peaches two years ago. Already, both trees are loaded with peaches.




Heavy bearing peaches need staking and fruit thinning

Heavy bearing peaches need staking and fruit thinning




I ate a Desert Gold peach off the tree today. It was ripe on one side and still a little crunchy on the other. Another week, and they’ll all be ready for a cobbler. The Elberta peaches will not be ripe until late July or early August.



Peaches are best eaten fresh, in my opinion. But they also freeze well or you can make them into jam, preserve them with spices, or blend up a batch of chutney or baby food. Your best bet is to plant peach trees during bare root season because they are cheaper and more plentiful then. Right now (second week of May), nurseries have replanted their bare root trees into pots.



One of my favorite nurseries in the Bay Area is Alden Lane Nursery in Livermore, California. The nursery carries hundreds of fruit and nut trees and thousands of roses. The oak trees on the property are 300 years old and one has a community of honeybees dwelling in the tree. It’s a great time to visit the nursery. For a list of offers, see




Peaches need a lot of sunshine, high nitrogen fertilizer, and water to perform optimally. They also suffer from peach leaf curl, a fungus that can be easily treated with a fixed-copper spray. Dormant oil will control scale if they get it. The trees will live for 15 to 20 years.




Prolific producers, peaches need fruit thinning early on to yield larger fruit and avoid branch breakage. See the University of California’s Master Gardener program tip sheet for more information at




If you love peaches, it’s not too late to plant a tree in your backyard for a bountiful crop of late spring/summer fruit.



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