Intrepid Peach Care – How To Grow An Intrepid Peach Tree Variety

By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist

The scent and flavor of a ripe peachare unparalleled summer treats. Whether you like them eaten out of hand, slicedover a bowl of ice cream or baked into a cobbler, Intrepid peaches will provideyou with a glorious fruit. What is an Intrepid peach? It has been around a fewdecades and is characterized by its ability to retain flower buds even in coldsnaps. The fruit is the real showstopper, with large peach crops and sweetflavor.

What is an Intrepid Peach?

Merriam Webster defines the word intrepid as, “characterizedby resolute fearlessness, fortitude and endurance.” That surely describesIntrepid peach trees. The Intrepid peach tree variety not only has stoicblossoms in the face of cold temperatures but also has resistance to bacterialspot. It’s a really great patented variety of peach for most suitable regions.

The Intrepid peach tree variety was introduced in 2002 outof North Carolina State University. The tree is hardy to -20 degrees Fahrenheit(-29 C.). The fruit is freestoneand requires up to 1,050 chillhours, so the tree is suited for the cooler USDA zones 4 to7.

The peaches are large and reddish pink when ripe with yellowflesh, very juicy and sweet. They are recommended for canning, cooking andfreezing, as well as fresh eating. The pink flowers appear in late spring butcan withstand any surprise freezes without aborting blooms.

Growing Intrepid Peaches

Intrepid peach trees need a full sun location in loose,loamy soil. The tree is self-fruiting and does not need a pollinator. If youare planting multiple plants, space standard trees at least 15 feet (4.5 m.)and dwarf plants 10 feet (3 m.) apart.

If purchased plants already exhibit greening, harden themoff for a week before planting outdoors. Bare root plants should have the rootssoaked for up to two hours. Dig the hole twice as wide and deep as the rootsand spread these out at the bottom. Make sure the graft scar is above the soil.Back fill completely, wateringin well to pack soil.

Intrepid Peach Care

Growing Intrepid peaches is a breeze compared to some fruittrees. Use an organic mulch around the root zone to prevent weeds and conservemoisture.

Begin a fertilizing program as soon as trees begin to bearfruit, between 2 and 4 years of age. Apply a high nitrogen fertilizer in springand a balanced food up until the first of July.

Water the tree deeply and consistently but don’t keep soilsoggy. Train the tree to an open shape with annual light pruning. This willhelp prevent fungal issues and allow light to penetrate into the canopy and assistproduction and ripening.

Pickpeaches when they have a bright red blush on them and just a touchof give.

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Read more about Peach Trees

Reliance vs. Contender Peach

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Selecting the right fruit tree variety for your climate and local conditions is essential if you want an attractive and productive addition to your garden. Reliance (Prunus persica "Reliance") and Contender (Prunus persica "Contender") are two popular cultivars known for their attractive flowers and resistance to harsh weather conditions. Their high chill requirements make them unreliable fruit trees in warm climates, though they can still be grown as ornamentals.


A peach trial with 20 cultivars was established at New Mexico State University's Sustainable Agriculture Science Center at Alcalde in 2001 with a perpendicular V training system at 6 x 15 ft spacing. Trees were threatened by late frosts each spring around blooming time and fruitlet period. Peach flowers were all killed with a temperature of -11.9°F on February 3, 2011, but vegetative buds were undamaged. 'Sureprince', 'Challenger', and 'Saturn' were the earliest to bloom, while 'China Pearl', 'Encore', 'Intrepid', and 'Risingstar' were the late bloomers among the 20 cultivars tested. 'Blushingstar', 'Surecrop', 'Blazingstar', 'Challenger', 'Nectar', 'Contender', 'Coralstar', 'China Pearl', 'PF-27A', 'Encore', and 'Crimson Rocket' all produced well in 2012. Peach twig borer and peach tree borer are the two major pests in northern New Mexico. Peach twig borer could be managed by summer oil and spinosad sprays, and Isomate DUO PTB was promising in controlling peach tree borer. Overall, 'PF-1', 'Surecrop', 'Blazingstar', 'Intrepid', 'Contender', 'Blushingstar', 'China Pearl', and 'Encore' are recommended for northern New Mexico. Frost protection equipment is necessary for a reliable peach crop in northern New Mexico.


Japanese plums flower about the same time as apricots, but young fruits are a little more cold-tolerant, and production is more reliable in southern areas of the state. It is hard to get a crop of Japanese plums in northern New Mexico. Most varieties need cross pollination (two different varieties need to be planted). 'Methley' is self-fruiting (can pollinate itself) and more frost-tolerant than most varieties. Other tolerant varieties are 'Santa Rosa' and 'Satsuma'. Two hybrids that are reliable are 'Gold' and 'Sepa'. Japanese plums are short-lived and frequently chlorotic (iron deficient) in New Mexico because of high soil pH.

European plums (the blue/purple ones in general Figure 1) flower later than Japanese types and more frequently escape frost injury. They are recommended for northern New Mexico and high elevations. Recommended varieties are 'Early Blue', 'Castleton', and 'Stanley'. In general, their performance has been poor in southern New Mexico.

Pluots, plumcots, apriplums, and apriums are all hybrids of apricots and plums. Apriums and apriplums taste more like apricots, while pluots and plumcots taste like plums. They all have intense sweetness. The trees are also similar to apricots/plums, and are still vulnerable to late frosts.

Figure 1. European plum fruits.


Pollination Factors

Bloom group:
Is it self-fertile? Y
Is it fertile? Y
Ploidy: Triploid
Rootstock size class: Standard (100% Size)

Pollination Partners

This table shows the first few results from a full search for pollenizers of Intrepid Peach on Guardian®. Please see our Pollenizer Search to run other queries and read how the application uses various factors. Also read more about fruit tree pollination.

Watch the video: How I plant a peach tree in the desert and get it huge!

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