What are ‘chill hours’, and why are they important to growing peaches?
‘Chill hours’ are the amount of cold weather time fruit trees log (pun intended) to regulate growing seasons. During cold weather, the trees are resting, storing up energy and waiting for the air temps to warm up signaling spring. Chill hours are like REM sleep for the tree, and most peach varieties need around 800-1000 chill hours to wake up refreshed and ready to work.
During the cold winter months, peach trees love a sweet-spot just between 32 and 45 degrees, storing up energy and getting ready to bud. When the appropriate temperatures and chill hours are reached, the tree knows to switch from the dormant season to the growing season.
Why are ‘chill hours’ important?
‘Chill hours’ (or vernalization for our greenthumb friends) are needed to protect the tree during the winter. With enough ‘chill hours’ under its belt, a peach tree can wake up at the right time with the energy needed to start producing buds. Too few hours mean the tree might bloom late or not at all. The tree may also start budding during an early warm spell but then be at risk for frost damage.
What is the outlook for the 2022 Georgia peach season?
The forecast calls for deliciousness! The trees your peaches are grown on have already reached around 900 hours, perfect for health and energetic buds, flowers, and fruit this summer. According to Pearson Farm, things are looking fantastic so far for a great crop of sweet Georgia peaches.
We can’t wait!