September 1993 (Revised) LEAFLET NO: 327


M.L. Parker, Extension Specialist
D.J. Werner, Professor

Peach trees are deciduous and drop their leaves in the Fall and go into a developmental state known as dormancy. As the winter progresses the trees go into another state known as rest, during which they cannot grow even if environmental conditions are favorable for tree growth. Exposure to chilling temperatures is necessary to overcome this period of rest, after which normal bud break and growth can begin once growing conditions are favorable. The minimal necessary duration of chilling length for any particular variety is known as the chilling requirement for that variety. Temperatures effective in satisfying the chilling requirement normally range from 32 F to 50 F, with the optimal temperature being approximately 45 F. North Carolina typically receives in excess of 1,000 chilling hours annually.

Peach varieties vary greatly in the number of chilling hours required from less than 200 hours to over 1,000 hours. The lower the chilling requirement, the earlier the tree will begin growing once temperatures are warm enough. The dilemma that is faced in North Carolina is the large fluctuation in winter and spring temperatures. For low chilling requirement varieties, the chilling requirement is quickly met during winter. Once the chilling requirement is met any warm period during the remainder of the winter will cause peach trees to prematurely bloom, and the blossoms will be killed by the next freezing temperature. However, for high chilling requirement varieties, if the chilling requirement is not met, trees will bloom very erratically, produce deformed leaves and have little to no fruit set in the spring. The latter scenario of insufficient chilling rarely occurs in North Carolina.

In North Carolina, only varieties with a chilling requirement of 750 hours or greater are recommended to minimize frost/freeze crop losses. Varieties with a chilling requirement less than 750 hours are grown in North Carolina; however they are grown with a high probability of frequent crop loss and are not recommended for large plantings.

Table 1 lists many commercial peach varieties and their chilling requirement. Varietal inclusion in Table 1 is not an endorsement of such variety.

Table 1.  Chilling requirement of selected peach varieties. 
    Values listed are the hours required at or below 45 F.

Variety                                 requirement
Belle of Georgia                           850         
Bicentennial                               750
Biscoe                                     900
Blake                                      750
Bounty                                     800

Brighton                                   750
Camden                                     750
Candor                                     950
Cardinal                                   950
Cary Mac                                   750

Caroline Belle                             750
Clayton                                    950
Contender                                 1050
Coronet                                    700
Correll                                    850

Cresthaven                                 850
Cullinan                                   850
Denman                                     800
Derby                                      750
Dixigem                                    850

Dixiland                                   750
Dixired                                    950
Elberta                                    850
Ellerbe                                    850
Emery                                      900

Encore                                     900
Fairtime                                   750
Fay Elberta                                750
Fayette                                    850
Finale                                     750

Fireprince                                 750
Flavorcrest                                750
Garnet Beauty                              850
Glohaven                                   850
Goldcrest                                  650

Goldprince                                 650
Halehaven                                  850
Hamlet                                     850
Harbelle                                   850
Harbinger                                  850

Harbrite                                   850
Harken                                     850
Harvester                                  750
Havis                                      850
Hiley                                      750

Idlewild                                   550
Jayhaven                                   850
Jefferson                                  850
Jerseyglo                                  850
Jerseyland                                 850

Jerseyqueen                                850
J.H. Hale                                  850
Junegold                                   650
Juneprince                                 650
Kalhaven                                   950

Keystone                                   750
LaFeliciana                                600
LaGold                                     700
LaJewel                                    850
LaPremier                                  900

LaWhite                                    650
Legend                                     950
Loring                                     750
Madison                                    850
Marigold                                   650

Majestic                                   850
Marsun                                     850
Marqueen                                   750
McNeely                                    900
Monroe                                     750

Mountain Gold                              850
Nectar                                    1050
Newhaven                                   950
Norman                                     850
Ouachita Gold                              750

Parade                                     900
Pekin                                      950
Ranger                                     900
Raritan Rose                              1000
Redcap                                     750

Redglobe                                   850
Redhaven                                   950
Redskin                                    750
Regina                                     850
Reliance                                  1000

Richaven                                   950
Rio Oso Gem                                850
Rubired                                    900
Ruston Red                                 850
Scarlet Pearl                              750

Sentinel                                   850
Sentry                                     850
Shippers Late Red                          850
Southland                                  750
Springbrite                                650

Springcrest                                650
Springold                                  850
Starlite                                   650
Summer Pearl                               900
Sunbrite                                   750

Sunhigh                                    750
Sunland                                    750
Sunprince                                  750
Surecrop                                  1000
Sweethaven                                 850

Topaz                                      750
Troy                                       950
Tyler                                      950
Velvet                                     950
Washington                                 950

Winblo                                     800
Whynot                                     950

                          Published by
          North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service

Distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914. Employment and program opportunities are offered to all people regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. North Carolina State University at Raleigh, North Carolina A&T State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating.