All You Need To Know About Gardening Chill Hours

Have you ever looked to purchase a fruit tree?  Let us take a peach, for example, google peach tree; you get hundreds of sites selling thousands of varieties.  First, you need to know your gardening zone, and what’s this thing about chill hours?

Chill hours are defined as any temperature below 45F.  Depending on who you talk to, some will tell you the temperatures have to be between 45-34F.  Sometimes people make things more complicated than they need to be. 

Why are chill hours critical?  Some plants need a dormant period for producing flowers and fruit.  This dormant period is achieved whenever the plant is subjected to colder temperatures, known as chill hours.  Fruit trees, berries, and nut trees need these dormant periods to help regulate growth.  Without sufficient dormant periods, some plants cannot flower or fruit.

When you begin to look at the fruit trees, you see there are different varieties of high chill and low chill.  Low chill needs less than 300, and high chill requires more than 500 chill hours.  Now there are low chill requirements for many of the most common fruits.  Careful, though, do not be tempted to plant a low chill variety in an area that gets high chill hours.  Although it seems like a gardening hack, you risk the plant breaking dormancy too early.  There is always a catch.  If your plant breaks dormancy too soon, the flowers or blooms will fall off.  No flowers mean no fruit.

Your local agriculture extension agency will have chill hour resources, where you can find out the average amount of chill hours your area receives.  Remember, this is the weather, so it is hard to be exact, but the average will get you started correctly.  Equipped with this knowledge and your gardening zone, you are now ready to venture out to a nursery or website and order a fruit or nut tree or bush.

Remember the motto

JUST GROW IT!

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