Peaches are versatile and delicious. You can eat them fresh, cook with them, or preserve them.
In Wisconsin, their harvest season lasts from July through September. So, you can pick a few varieties with different harvest dates to have fresh peaches for a few months.
What is the best peach tree to grow in Wisconsin? This choice depends on your taste preference, soil type, and how cold it gets where you are.
Most of Wisconsin falls in USDA hardiness zones 4 and 5, with patches of zone 3 in the north of the state. Most peach tree varieties are not cold-hardy enough for zones 3 and 4.
The varieties on this list are hardy and delicious. But some more hardy than others, for example, Reliance is incredibly cold hardy – up to zone 3!
6 Tasty Peach Trees for Everyone in Wisconsin
1. Contender Peach Tree (Prunus persica ‘Contender’)
Contender is an excellent choice as it produces large crops of sweet, juicy medium-to-large fruit. These sweet freestone peaches have firm flesh, ripening in August.
Contender is resistant to bacterial leaf spots, so you can grow it in wetter areas that other peach trees may not tolerate. Though self-pollinating, adding another pollinator nearby may increase the size of your crop.
It will do well in full sun but also tolerates partial shade, so you can grow this variety if you live where summers heat up quickly as they do around Madison, Wisconsin.
This peach tree needs well-drained soil with a loamy texture and average moisture throughout most of the growing season. You can mulch around the roots with compost or aged manure if necessary to help retain moisture near the surface where there are active roots.
Growing Zones: 4 – 8
Average Size at Maturity: 12 – 15 feet tall with equal spread
Harvest Season: August
2. Elberta Peach Tree (Prunus persica ‘Elberta’) – Includes Dwarf
Elberta is quite popular. Like other peach trees, they offer tremendous ornamental value to the landscape during the spring. Elberta displays dark pink to purple flowers.
From there, it produces a large crop of freestone fruit that ripen from late July through early August. The fruit is juicy, with a crimson blush. These peaches are ideal for eating fresh, canning, and freezing.
Elberta is a fast-growing tree and will likely produce fruit within three years of planting. It grows well in full sun and prefers sandy soils. The tree prefers full sun, as well as sandy and well-drained soils.
This variety is better for those living in southern Wisconsin and along the Lake Michigan coast.
Growing Zones: 5 – 9
Average Size at Maturity: 15 – 25 feet tall with a spread of 15 – 20 feet; Dwarf variety 8 – 10 feet tall with a spread of 10 feet
Harvest Season: Late July to early August, on the later side after cold winters
3. Indian Free Peach Tree (Prunus persica ‘Indian Free’) – Includes Dwarf
Indian Free is one of the best-tasting peaches available today, and it is easy to grow! The fruits have a berry-like taste with a hint of plum.
Indian Free is a disease-resistant tree that produces large peaches. The fruits have dark red skin with white flesh. This flesh is marbled with dark, wine-red streaks through the flesh. They make remarkable preserves, or you can store them fresh for up to two weeks.
This variety requires full sun and well-drained soil. For best results, enrich the soil with compost or organic fertilizer before planting it.
Growing Zones: 5 – 9
Average Size at Maturity: 12 – 15 feet tall with a spread of 10 – 12 feet; Dwarf variety 4 – 5 feet tall with equal spread
Harvest Season: Late August to September
4. Madison Peach Tree (Prunus persica ‘Madison’)
Madison is a midseason crop of peaches; fruit ripens in late July. Trees produce an abundant harvest.
Madison’s skin is orange-yellow with a red blush, making it very attractive. The freestone fruits are sweet, incredibly juicy, and tender. It has excellent flavor when eaten fresh and combines well with other fruits in pies or cakes. Madison peaches are rarely seen in grocery stores because of their tenderness. They require careful handling to avoid them getting mushy.
It is essential to prune Madison to allow the tree to develop better quality and larger fruit. This one prefers fertile, loamy, and well-drained soil like other peach trees.
Growing Zones: 5 – 8; can grow with protection in 4b
Average Size at Maturity: 12 – 15 feet tall with similar spread if pruned well; can reach 25 feet tall left unpruned
Harvest Season: Late July
5. Redhaven Peach Tree (Prunus persica ‘Redhaven’) – Includes Dwarf
This popular peach tree produces large, sweet fruits with a creamy-textured yellow flesh and firm texture. It’s also known for its heavy-bearing nature, making it one of the most popular varieties in the Midwest.
Redhaven’s fragrance, pink flowers blossom in the spring, and it flowers early enough to pollinate other trees. The spreading branches make this an appealing choice for smaller gardens or backyard orchards and commercial growers who want to produce more fruit per acre than larger trees.
It has moderate resistance to leaf spot disease, making it an excellent choice for areas where leaf spot is present on other varieties within driving distance of your home orchard.
This self-pollinating fruit tree doesn’t require another variety nearby unless you have limited space available; otherwise, plant near other cultivated species if possible. But the drawback of this is potentially less fruit.
Redhaven is a vigorous grower with a spreading habit. So, it is better to prune and thin it regularly.
Growing Zones: 5 – 8
Average Size at Maturity: 12 – 15 tall and 12 – 15 feet wide for semi-dwarf variety; 8 – 10 feet tall with a similar spread for dwarf variety
Harvest Season: Late July
6. Reliance Peach Tree (Prunus persica ‘Reliance)
Reliance is the cold-hardy of all the peach trees on this list. Which means it will grow well in all of Wisconsin.
The medium-to-large fruit has a soft, juicy texture and a mild to sweet flavor.
This variety produces a heavy crop even after frigid winters. Such makes it an excellent choice for growing in your home garden or a commercial farm.
In addition, Reliance is also resistant to peach leaf curl disease and scab fungus, making it an excellent choice if you want a reliable producer year after year.
Growing Zones: 3 – 8
Average Size at Maturity: 12 – 15 feet tall with a spread of 10 – 12 feet
Harvest Season: July
Growing Peach Trees in Wisconsin
Regarding care, all peach trees have some common traits. They love full sun, meaning at least six hours of direct and unfiltered sunlight each day. Also, they strive in sandy or loamy soils.
Another interesting fact is that all peach trees are self-fertile, meaning they do not need another tree to produce fruit. But, in almost all instances, it is better to have a pollinating partner nearby. Doing so ensures a bountiful harvest each year.
The above are the primary care requirements. But what matters most in Wisconsin is the hardiness zones. At the same time, those in Madison, Green Bay, or Milwaukee can pick up most peach trees and have some success, such as those in Eu Clair and the Northwest. Reliance and Contender are the best peach trees for them.
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Kenique grew up in Florida and currently lives in southern China. Before China, he spent many years in Portugal and the Caribbean. He studied economics and is a teacher, entrepreneur, and writer. Since he was knee-high, he has been gardening and was an active member of FFA (Future Farmers of America). He is his best self in a densely wooded forest or park. Depending on the day, you can find him reading, hiking, traveling, exercising, sipping lots of tea, or eating everything in sight.