Reliance Peach

Prunus persica ‘Reliance’

Description & Overview

Reliance peach is an extremely cold hardy peach that was bred for northern climates. Considered to be one of the hardiest peach varieties, Reliance Peach fruit is typically ready for picking in mid-August in Southeast Wisconsin. The fruit is soft, sweet and very juicy. Not suitable for shipping as it bruises easily but an excellent peach for the home grower in colder growing regions where other peach varieties fail to survive. Medium sized fruits. Great for canning, cooking and fresh use.

Core Characteristics

Mature Height: 15 feet
Mature Spread: 15 feet
Growth Rate: Very Fast
Growth Form: Tree
Light Requirements: Full Sun
Site Requirements: Well-drained site
Flower: Pink and very ornamental
Bloom Period: Late April-early May
Foliage: Green
Fall Color: N/A
Fruit Notes: All peach varieties tend to overbear. Fruit must be thinned to 12″ apart mid-late June to get good sized fruit.

Suggested Uses:

Peaches tend to be flower bud hardy to zero degrees and tissue hardy to -18. The best success with peaches in Wisconsin will be with planting only extremely cold hardy varieties and growing them in sites that are somewhat protected or have a micro-climate. Sheltered sites in courtyards or on SE side of a building will be better than an open exposed site. Best areas for peaches in Wisconsin will be in S.E. Wisconsin, counties along the west side of Lake Michigan or wherever a protected site can be found. Peaches are not a foolproof crop due to our cold climate but nothing is better than the taste of sweet, tree ripened peaches. They can and are being successfully grown in Wisconsin. Peach trees grow fast but tend to be short lived. Commercially they average about 10-12 years and then decline.

Fruits maturing progression pictures taken late June.

Pictures taken late July. Some early ripening fruit while others continue to mature.

Wildlife Value:

Loved by squirrels, raccoons and rabbits (windfalls only)

Maintenance Tips:

Peaches bear fruit on 1 year old wood. They are usually vase (open center) pruned to allow more light into the canopy for best fruit color. Our peach trees are sold on standard rootstocks as no decent dwarfing rootstock exists for peaches. They can easily be kept to 8′-15′ tall with proper pruning.


Peaches seem have fewer insect/disease issues than apples in SE Wisconsin. The main disease is peach leaf curl which can be prevented by spraying one application of liquid copper or a fungicide containing chlorthalonil in late winter-early spring before the leaf buds swell and the bud scales crack. Once the leaves are out, this disease cannot be prevented/eradicated with a fungicide spray. The only major insect issue in S.E. WI seems to be plum curculio which normally is a problem just the first few weeks in June. Spray an insecticide to control if needed.

Leaf Lore:

Reliance peach was developed by Dr. Elwyn Meader of New Hampshire in 1964.

Companion Plants:

Peaches are self-fertile, so they will bear fruit with just one tree.

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