Peaches ripened on the tree are an experience like no other. Grow your own from our nursery stock, or plan a trip to the orchard to enjoy the many peach varieties we grow. Use the search criteria to the left to select peach varieties by bloom time, ripening period, flesh color or pit type.
Peach and nectarine are both members of the genus and species Prunus persica, and probably differ by only a single gene for skin pubescence (hairs on the fruit surface). One probably originated as a mutation of the other, but we do not know which came first. The species originated in China and was taken by traders from there into Persia, Greece, Italy, and other temperate areas of Europe. Peach and nectarine varieties may have yellow or white flesh. In Virginia different varieties ripen over a wide range of dates, from early June until mid-September. Varieties also differ in fruit size, susceptibility to some diseases and susceptibility to low winter temperatures, chilling requirements, and fruit disorders such as fruit cracking and split-pit.
Non-native invasive, such as Chinese bushclover (Lespedeza cuneata) and Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) present a threat to native and introduced species in the park. These species crowd out desired species, especially those like the demonstration orchard where management is for the appearance and interpretation of a historic context.
A worm fence with a top rail surrounds the peach orchard at Ford’s Farm in 2013.
Peaches can be grown in temperate regions around the world. They require full sun and well-drained soil. They were first introduced to North America from China and continue to serve as an important fruit crop.
Peach trees, members of the Rosaceae family, are deciduous with simple, oval shaped leaves and dark grey/brown bark. Flowers bloom in the spring and are typically bright pink. Height is dependent on the variety (specifically that of the rootstock) and can be from 6 to 25 feet tall.
The Battle of Pea Ridge took place in Benton County of northwestern Arkansas in 1862 during the American Civil War. Union and Confederate troops fought for control State of Missouri, ultimately resulting in a Union victory. Both the Leetown and Elkhorn Tavern battlefields, as well as surrounding areas, are preserved by the National Park Service.
At the time of the battle, the landscape consisted of woodlands, small settlements, and farms. Crop land, pastureland, and orchards supported residents’ needs. Peach trees were cultivated by European settlers as well as Native American tribes, including the Navajo and Pueblo tribes (Monticello) (Wytsalucy, 2019). Peach seeds, commonly referred to as pits, are easily transported. When germinated the variety of peach may not be true to the type due to horticultural practices such as grafting and processes such as cross pollination.
Pea Ridge National Military Park, located in USDA hardiness zone 6b, intends to maintain the existing 46 peach trees. Typical peach tree maintenance involves ground cover management, fertilization, training, and pruning. The intention of the restored Ford Farm orchard is to replicate its historic appearance, not for productivity, so some typical orchard practices do not apply.
Close up of peach tree blossoms located laterally on the branch.
Volunteers and park staff gather to plant peach trees at Pea Ridge National Military Park in November 2008.