A favorite of many home growers, the Sam Houston Peach Tree was developed at the Texas A&M University, and has a low chill requirement. This makes the Sam Houston Peach Tree a great choice for those in areas with warm winters. Sam Houston Peaches are freestone, incredibly sweet, and have a low acidity. As such they are perfect for desserts, preserves, canning, and eating fresh.
Sam Houston Peach Trees are self-fertile so you only need one tree to grow a crop of nutritious peaches in your own back yard. They will begin to grow fruit as soon as their third year in the ground. Sam Houston Peach Trees can be grown outdoors in USDA Zones 5 to 8. A mature Sam Houston Peach Tree in ideal conditions will reach heights of 18 to 20 feet tall, and widths of about 20 feet. They like full sun, sandy soil, weekly or less watering, and periodic fertilization.
Peach Tree Care
Fertilization is an important part of producing a vibrant crop of peaches from your own tree. When planting a new tree, allow it to grow for at least 3 months before fertilizing the first time. Once the young tree is acclimated and growing, fertilize it according to the tree’s size as per the fertilizer instructions. Feed your Sam Houston Peach Tree once in early spring, then again in early or mid summer. Continue to fertilize in this way for the first three years. After the third year, fertilizing can be reduced to once per year in the early spring before blooms appear.
Prune your Sam Houston Peach Trees in late winter. The best shape for a Sam Houston Peach Tree is a funnel shape with the widest spread between branches at the highest part of the canopy. Cut away any dead or damaged limbs and cut leading branches back anywhere from 10 inches up to a few feet. Keep the ground under your Sam Houston Peach Tree mulched, but don’t allow pruned or fallen branches to litter the area near the tree.
Fruit & Harvesting
As the Sam Houston Peach Tree grows a crop of fruit, not all fruit will become ripe at the same time. Some fruit that set earlier will ripen sooner. Therefore, when some fruits begin to approach maturity, there will be other peaches that are a few weeks behind. Ripe Sam Houston Peaches will have a considerable red blush, and the flesh will be juicy and sweet.
Pick one or two that look ready, and try them. After you spot a few that turn out to be ripe, you will quickly learn to distinguish the ripe fruits from those that aren’t quite fully matured. At the end of the fruiting season, be sure to remove any remaining peaches. This allows the tree to reset and begin the cycle again, so you have another great crop the following year.
Watering is an important part of growing a healthy Sam Houston Peach Tree. Check the soil, and water when the top 2 to 4 inches of soil is dry. Sandy soil allows for proper drainage, and is important for healthy roots and tree trunks. Mature trees may only need rainfall and watering when periods of drought or extended dry weather occur. In dry areas, younger trees require weekly watering for the first year. Peach trees benefit from long, slow, deep irrigation as opposed to fast heavy watering.
In addition to the thrill of picking your own peaches, a peach tree also gives you another benefit. Peach wood is great for cooking and smoking foods. When you prune your Sam Houston Peach Tree, trim limbs into manageable sizes, remove the small sticks and twigs, and store the cut branches in a dry location. Allow the peach wood to dry for between 3 and 6 months. Once dried, you can use it in your grill, smoker, or open barbecue pit for a unique, mild smoke flavor.
How big will a Sam Houston Peach Tree get?
Healthy Sam Houston Peach Trees can reach heights and widths of up to 20 feet.
Do Sam Houston Peach Trees need a pollinator?
No. Sam Houston Peach Trees are self-fertile so a single tree will produce fruit.
Can you grow a Sam Houston Peach Tree in a pot?
You can grow a Sam Houston Peach Tree in a pot as long as the container has drainage holes and the tree gets ample sun or light for 6 or more hours per day.
How do Sam Houston Peaches taste?
Sam Houston Peaches are super-sweet freestone peaches with low acidity and juicy flesh. They are considered to be of the highest quality.