The Top 8 Peach Tree Varieties To Grow In Michigan

The Top 8 Peach Tree Varieties To Grow In Michigan

Michigan Peaches

Michigan’s climate is diverse due to its size and proximity to the Great Lakes, which significantly influence local weather patterns. The state experiences four distinct seasons, with cold winters and relatively warm summers. The climate for fruit trees in Michigan can vary depending on the region, but in general, it poses some challenges and opportunities for fruit production.

(Featured Image: Ripened Peaches by D. Sandrigam)

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Can You Successfully Grow Peaches In Michigan?

Peaches can be grown in Michigan’s climate, but their success depends on several factors, including the specific location within Michigan, the choice of cold-hardy peach varieties, and proper care and management.

Michigan’s climate varies across the state, with the southern regions experiencing milder winters and the northern areas facing more severe cold temperatures. In the southern parts of Michigan, where the climate is relatively warmer, peaches can grow more easily. However, even in the northern parts of the state, with careful selection of cold-hardy peach varieties and suitable cultivation practices, successful peach orchards can be established.

Plan Ahead To Prepare For Your Peach Tree

Along with selecting the best type of peach tree for your region, preparing your soil with the best amendments can help set your peach tree up for success. When planting fruit trees in Michigan, these are our top products to use:

  • Espoma Organics Tree Tone Fertilizer – This is hands down THE BEST fertilizer for fruit trees! We love the Espoma Organics line of fertilizers in general, but have had great success with Tree Tone on our fruit trees specifically. This is a granular blend that breaks down into the soil over time, giving consistent yet gradual nutrients to the tree. The best part is you can use this on any type of fruit tree, so a few bags of this can fertilize your homegrown orchard!
  • Fox Farm Potting Soil “Ocean Forest” – This custom soil blend is our favorite because it is pH balanced, meaning you won’t need to test the pH of your soil before planting. Fox Farm uses light and airy ingredients like coco coir, perlite, and peat moss to ensure good drainage and and air flow to the roots.
  • Garden Guru Power Bypass Loppers – I like to keep a pair of loppers on hand that I use exclusively on my fruit trees. Fruit trees need annual pruning but can also be sensitive to fungus and disease, so it is important they are trimmed with clean and sharp shears. Using the same pair of shears for only my fruit trees ensures they will be kept clean and will not transfer bacteria found on other plants. These bypass loppers by Garden Guru are easy to store and can easily cut through large branches.
An opened peach that was freshly harvested from a Michigan peach tree.

Top 8 Peach Varieties To Grow In Michigan

In Michigan’s climate, it’s important to choose peach tree varieties that are cold-hardy and can thrive in the region’s conditions. Here are some of the best peach tree varieties to consider planting in Michigan:

1. Elberta Peach

  • Elberta peaches are a classic and widely grown peach variety in the United States, including Michigan. They are known for their large, golden-yellow fruit with a red blush. Elberta peaches have a sweet and juicy flesh, making them excellent for fresh eating, canning, and baking.
  • These peaches are generally late-season varieties, ripening in mid to late summer. They are self-pollinating, making them suitable for small gardens or orchards where only one tree can be planted. Elberta peaches have good cold hardiness, making them well-adapted to Michigan’s climate.

Click here to view purchasing options for Elberta peach trees!

2. Galaxy Peach

  • Galaxy peaches are a relatively newer variety, but they have gained popularity due to their excellent flavor and cold-hardiness. The fruit is medium to large-sized with a yellow skin that may exhibit a red blush. The flesh is firm, sweet, and aromatic, making them a favorite for eating fresh or using in various culinary applications.
  • These peaches typically ripen in mid to late summer. Galaxy peach trees are partially self-pollinating, but having a pollinator nearby can improve fruit set and yield. Their adaptability to colder climates, including Michigan, makes them an attractive choice for home gardeners and orchardists.

To view purchasing options for Galaxy peach trees, click here!

3. Frost Proof Peach

  • As the name suggests, Frost Proof peach trees are known for their ability to withstand late spring frosts better than many other peach varieties. This makes them particularly suitable for regions like Michigan, where frost events can pose a risk to fruit production.
  • The fruit is medium to large-sized with a red blush over a yellow background. Frost Proof peaches have a sweet and juicy flavor, making them excellent for fresh eating or processing into various peach products.

To view purchasing options for Frost Proof peach trees, click here!

4. June Gold Peach 

  • June Gold peaches are early-season varieties, ripening earlier in the season compared to many other peach varieties. This means they can be harvested in late spring or early summer, making them a good choice for those who want an early peach harvest.
  • The fruit is medium-sized with a yellow skin and a blush of red. June Gold peaches have a sweet and slightly tangy flavor. These peaches are self-pollinating, making them suitable for small gardens or landscapes.

Click here to view purchasing options for June Gold peach trees!

5. Reliance Peach

  • Reliance peaches are well-known for their excellent cold hardiness and ability to withstand late spring frosts, making them an ideal choice for Michigan’s climate. They are prized for their reliable fruit set even in challenging weather conditions.
  • The fruit is medium to large-sized with a golden-yellow skin and a red blush. The flesh is sweet, juicy, and has a delightful flavor. Reliance peaches are freestone, which means the pit easily separates from the flesh, making them convenient for fresh eating, canning, and baking.
  • This variety typically ripens in mid to late summer, offering a delicious harvest during that time.

To view Reliance peach tree purchasing options, click here!

6. Redhaven Peach 

  • Redhaven is one of the most popular and widely planted peach varieties in the United States, including Michigan. It is well-adapted to the state’s climate and is renowned for its delicious fruit.
  • The fruit is medium to large-sized with a vibrant red skin and firm, sweet, and juicy yellow flesh. Redhaven peaches are freestone and have a pleasant balance of sweetness and acidity, making them a favorite for eating fresh, preserving, and baking.
  • Redhaven peaches ripen in mid to late summer, providing an abundant and flavorful harvest during that period.

Click here to view purchasing options for the Redhaven peach tree!

7. Contender Peach

  • Contender peaches are highly regarded for their excellent cold hardiness, which makes them well-suited for regions like Michigan with colder winters. They are known for their ability to produce high-quality fruit even in adverse weather conditions.
  • The fruit is large, juicy, and has a pleasing blend of sweetness and acidity. The skin has a yellow background with a red blush. Contender peaches are freestone, making them suitable for fresh consumption, canning, and baking.
  • This variety usually ripens in mid to late summer, providing a bountiful and delicious peach harvest.

Click here to view purchasing options for Contender peach trees!

8. Bounty Peach

  • Bounty peaches are known for their exceptional flavor and aroma, making them highly sought after by peach enthusiasts. They are decently cold-hardy, making them suitable for Michigan’s climate.
  • The fruit is medium to large-sized with a red blush over a yellow background. The flesh is juicy, sweet, and has a rich, delightful taste. Bounty peaches are freestone, making them easy to enjoy fresh or use in various culinary applications.

To view purchasing options for Bounty peach trees, click here!

Contender peaches hang ripe from a Michigan peach tree. Contender is a cold-hardy peach tree variety that grows well in Michigan due to the high number of chill hours.

Contender Peach Tree

Tips For Success When Growing Peaches In Michigan

To improve the chances of successful peach cultivation in Michigan, consider the following:

  • Variety selection: Choose cold-hardy peach varieties that are specifically bred to tolerate the colder temperatures and late spring frosts that can occur in Michigan.
  • Site selection: Select a planting location with full sun exposure and good air circulation. Avoid low-lying areas that might be prone to frost pockets.
  • Soil preparation: Ensure the soil is well-drained and fertile. Peaches prefer slightly acidic soil with good organic content.
  • Planting and care: Plant peach trees in early spring to allow them to establish roots before winter. Proper care, including regular watering, pruning, and pest management, is crucial for healthy tree growth and fruit production.
  • Frost protection: In areas where late spring frosts are common, consider using protective measures like row covers or frost cloth to shield young peach blossoms.
  • Winter protection: In colder regions, provide winter protection to peach trees by mounding soil around the base or using protective tree wraps to prevent frost damage.

While growing peaches in Michigan requires some extra attention and care compared to warmer climates, it is possible to have a successful peach orchard with the right selection of cold-hardy varieties and appropriate cultivation practices.

Things To Consider When Growing Peach Trees In Michigan

When planting peach trees in Michigan, it’s essential to consider their cold hardiness, disease resistance, and fruit quality. Additionally, choose a suitable planting location with good drainage and full sun exposure for the best results.

Keep in mind that no peach tree is entirely immune to all possible issues, so proper care, including regular pruning and pest management, is essential to maintain a healthy and productive peach orchard.

Grow Your Own Michigan Fruit Tree Orchard 

Michigan has an ideal climate for growing a wide variety of fruit trees! Once well established, many fruit trees perform well in Michigan with very little care. To learn more about growing fruit trees in Michigan, check out these growing guides:

A bushel of freshly harvested peaches in Michigan.