Is anyone having any real success growing peaches in South Miami-Dade or anywhere else in zone 10B?
I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been so busy that I haven’t been able to spend as much time as I’d like to, coupled with the fact that this isn’t the most productive time to grow vegetables in Miami, but now that business has let up a little I find myself longing to spend more time with my edible garden. I’ve trying to devote more time to my fruit trees lately & when I saw a UF Sun peach tree available for sale, I bought it. I remember from my previous research, I felt that this variety would be best suited to our climate in South Miami-Dade and my purposes. After I bought it, I wondered why I hadn’t purchased it sooner, so I looked into it again.
The glaring problem that I saw was while this variety had the lowest (100) chill hours I could find, I found out that our area typically only gets 0-50 chill hours. I knew that while I was visiting a nursery in the lower Keys (while I was on vacation, can you believe it?) I saw a lot of peach trees for sale and they told me they were producing nice harvests of delicious peaches in that zone 11. Now I know that she was trying to sell me one of her highly priced trees, so I took what she said with a grain of salt.
I took this qustion to John McLaughlin at the Miami Dade County Cooperative Extension (305-248-3311 ext. 228), and this is what he replied via email:
None of the current University of Florida low chill peaches are dependable south of Immokalee. Miami-Dade receives 0 – 50 chilling units per year, while UF fruit tree specialists recommend that to be reliable, the peach cultivar chosen should have a chilling unit requirement lower than the number of chilling units expected for a given location. Calculating chilling units is complicated but as a simple guide if the average mean January temperature exceeds the maximum temperature for a given cultivar it will not be productive. For instance the mean average for January in Miami is 68°F, while the maximum temperature for the low chill peach UF Sun (requires 100 chilling units) is 63.3°F. Sufficient chilling is needed to ensure not only flowering but also to permit development of vegetative buds that will produce new stems and leaves. For a tree that requires 100 chilling units there will be the odd year locally when chilling is sufficient (certainly the winters of 2009-2010 and 2010-2011) but overall insufficient chilling will produce erratic fruit crops of often inferior fruit and a decline in tree vigor.
Up until the 1960’s the Ceylon red peach, which is truly tropical, was a popular local backyard fruit tree. Then came the Caribbean fruit fly and interest rapidly waned – that pest is still here and difficult to control.
My question is, “what is your experience with growing peaches?”, specifically in South Miami-Dade county, but also in any part of Miami-Dade, Broward & Monroe counties (or any zone 10B). Any feedback is greatly appreciated and may help me to decide whether or not I want to return this tree.0 thumbs up!Posted 11 months ago | Last edited 11 months ago
I just wanted to let anyone who might be considering growing peaches in zone 10 know that I found several blogs where people in zone 10 said that they had successfully grown peaches for even 5 years. I then went back to the UF IFAS Extension website and read that, “chilling requirement (or chilling hours) refers to the exposure to cool temperatures (between 32° to 55°F) necessary for the resumption of normal spring growth” & “When a peach or nectarine cultivar is grown outside of its recommended area and has insufficient chilling, it may bloom late and not fruit normally”. I also read that the UF Sun can even be grown as far south as Homestead. So I figure we get teperatures in that range some days in winter & based on other people’s recommendations & things I’ve read, I’m going to take a chance and grow this tree. Instead of planting it in the ground, I’m going to plant it in a VERY large pot and see how it does. If things go well, I’ll later plant it in the ground. I’ll keep Folia posted.
0 thumbs up!Posted 10 months ago | Last edited 10 months ago
hi loratika, was wondering how is the peach tree doing? i just brought one home from costco ($24.99) & thought i would put it in the ground this week or should i just bring it back to the store? have you seen a glimmer of hope yet?
0 thumbs up!Posted about 1 month ago
Hi Sofla, I’m happy to say I have a LOT of ripe peaches growing on my tree, but they are pretty small. They taste good, are sweet and juicy, but are only the size of a plum. I’m not sure if it’s because this is the first year they are producing fruit and my tree is still growing in a pot. I picked the UF Sun variety, because it had a minimum chill hours of 100, but I don’t think we had the temperature low enough this winter to give us even 1 chill hour, so I don’t know if that had any affect on the size.
Overall, I’m pleased with this little tree and can’t wait to see how it does when it eventually gets planted in the ground & gets bigger. The price you got it for seems like a steal. Most of the time when I actually find this variety in the stores, it’s about $ 150. When I found one cheaper, I bought it. I don’t remember exactly how much I paid for it but I think it was about double what you paid. So I think you got a really good deal! Do you know the variety that you bought? Let me know what you end up doing, but I say, KEEP IT! ;-)
0 thumbs up!Posted 30 days ago
thanks so much for the quick reply. we got the uf sun, same variety you have. we will put it in the ground this week – so excited!! my husband is originally from georgia so it will be thoroughly tested :-)
1 thumbs up!Posted 29 days ago
Good luck Sofla & be sure to let us know how it goes!
0 thumbs up!Posted 29 days ago
Sofla, I just wanted to let you know that I just ate another peach from my tree & it was noticeably bigger than the others I’ve eaten and it was VERY juicy, with juice dripping all over. It was very tasty too! I think you’ll be very glad you planted your tree!
1 thumbs up!Posted 29 days ago
Hi there! You're reading a conversation in the Southeast Florida Gardening Group group on Folia.
Since South Florida gardeners march to a different beat than most gardeners in the continental US and even North or Central Florida, it’d be nice to have a place where we could come together and share our experiences gardening in this subtropical climate. It would be nice to know what has or hasn’t worked for others in this region and where we find certain plants/seeds/gardening supplies locally or online. Does anyone know about an interesting gardening event coming up or do you have a plant that you’d like to share? What kind of pests are we encountering and where can we get free horse manure?
There’s a lot that we can share with each other, so let’s do it! Let’s encourage and possibly inspire others in our area too!
Even though this is a group geared specifically to Southeast Florida, everyone is welcomed, whether you are in another part of Florida, the US or the world!
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