How do I find the average chilling hours for a planting zone? We want to plant some peach trees on our land in zone 8, which occasionally gets down into the 20's and rarely into the teens overnight during a blue norther.
Here's the official climate data for the parish (county) that we will retire to next year.
"Grant Parish has a semitropical climate. Variations in daily temperature are determined by distance from the Gulf of Mexico and, to a lesser degree, by differences in elevation. The average annual temperature for the state as a whole is 67.4ö. January is the coldest month averaging 50.7ö, and July and August the warmest, averaging 82ö. Grant Parish enjoys a complete seasonal cycle with pleasant spring and fall seasons. Winter months are usually mild with cold spells of short duration. Snowfall is less than 2" per year. The summer months are quite warm, with an average daily maximum temperature in July and August of 93 degrees."
Okay, my question is how to determine the appropriate type of peach tree to plant so that it's chilling hours requirement will be met.
I would first determine exactly which USDA zone you're going to be in, I don't know where Grant parish is, but I'd say you'd be zone 8a or 8b (unless it's in northern La). After you get your exact zone, you can google around and find the chill hours, I would put in something like 'peach tree chill hours Louisiana zone 8a (or 8b or whatever) and see what you come up with. You can also find out the information from the parish ag extension agency, probably by googling.
There is also a very good book by William Welch and I believe the title is 'Growing Fruits and Nuts in the South'.
Depending on where your place will be in the state, you are *probably* looking at between 300 and 700 chill hours.
Here, this should at least get you started in your hunt, good luck!
I would probably contact a state extension agent to ask if they have recommendations for which variety, if any, will work in your location.
Next I would ask nurserymen if they carry a tree variety that will work in your locale.
Last I would either check by word of mouth to see if any growers can be found and what varieties they are using OR check with your state fair to see if they have had any peach entries into fruit competition--the winner or if variety was given. That doesn't mean they are from your immediate area, but you can probably learn more from the grower if you can secure their location.
Outstanding suggestions Ladies. Thank you so much.
I love to read, so I'll try and locate the book you suggested, and then call the extension agent for Grant Parish.
By the way, Grant Parish is almost directly in the center of the state, just north of Alexandria.
Our land is just west of Bentley, La.
My fears on the nursery's was they simply sold what they were sent. However, if they grow their own, they (hopefully) do a little research before making the selections. But you gave me several great questions to ask. Sometimes the tag on the tree doesn't tell the required chilling hours for that variety.
Can't help you with finding the chilling hours but can give a little something else. The La Feliciana has been grown in southern Arkansas and as far south as the Louisiana coast. I think it is one that does well in pretty much any parish in Louisiana .
I think they probably need somewhere in the 300-400 chilled hours if I remember right.
I'm in East Baton Rouge Parish, south of you, and we grow peaches. Don't know the varietal names tho. Rustin is famous for peaches; can you call an extension office over there and ask them what they recommend? ldc
I grow the LaFeliciana that were developed by LSU. They have a very low chill time. My trees have done wonderful. This year my trees are 4 years old, and they must of had 150 peaches each on them if not more. Being where you are, I don't think you could go wrong with them at all.
Dianne the state ag sites had a lot of this for me in AL. Also found that the nurseries (but double check on them!) and even Lowes and Ace had cultivars which will be successful in my area. You might want to do like me and hedge your bets- I got some low low chill hours (which most years will get frostbit and not fruit) and a few up to 400 (200 is about right for me) to do well when too cold for the usual producers. Any excuse to plant seven instead of three...