NC Cooperative Extension Resources


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 to 50°F, with the optimal temperature being approximately 45°F. North Carolina typically receives in excess of 1,000 chilling hours annually.

Peach Variety Chilling Hours Required

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 Chilling 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


Extension Horticulture Specialist
Horticultural Science
Horticultural Science

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Publication date: Jan. 1, 1993