Best grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun. Self pollinating. Benefits from regular watering, fertilization and pruning. Plant in full sun in a site where periodic chemical spraying will not pose any problems to adjacent sites. Avoid planting peach trees in the same soil where other stone fruits have recently grown.
Peach trees sold in commerce today are grafted to rootstocks which, inter alia, control the size of the tree. The 'Reliance' tree growing at the Kemper Center was grafted to a dwarf rootstock which results in a very small tree typically growing to only 8-10' tall. Soft pink blossoms in early spring are followed by medium to large freestone peaches with bright yellow flesh and yellow skin blushed with red. Fruit ripens in early to mid August (USDA Zone 5). Dwarf trees produce standard-sized fruit, but have the obvious advantages of fitting into smaller sites and being more manageable (i.e., easier pruning, spraying and harvesting). 'Reliance' is also available in commerce as a standard-sized tree (grafted to a standard rootstock) which typically grows 12-15' tall.
Peaches are susceptible to a large number of serious pest problems. A regular regimen of chemical spraying is needed in order to insure harvesting a good crop. Potential disease problems include peach leaf curl, brown rot, bacterial leaf spot and canker. Potential insect problems include peach tree borer, plum curculio, oriental fruit moth, root nematodes, mites and aphids. Very cold winter temperatures and late spring frosts often cause significant damage to the buds/flowers of peaches. 'Reliance' is noted for its cold hardiness, however, and reportedly has produced crops after enduring winter temperatures as low as -25F.
This dwarf tree is grown almost exclusively for its fruit crop. It fits into small places and is ideal for a sunny spot in the back yard. Attractive early spring bloom is a nice bonus.