Fruit for a Healthy Future.

Season Timeline For California Peaches, Plums and Nectarines

Growing California peaches, plums and nectarines is a year-round effort. Discover what happens at each stage of the season to bring California peaches, plums and nectarines from the tree to the table.

Tree Fruit Interactive Season Timeline

Winter: Late November through January

Even though there’s no fruit on the trees in winter, growers are still busy tending their orchards. Pruning strengthens and prepares the trees for bearing larger, sweeter, more colorful fruit in the spring. Trees in some orchards are grafted, resulting in new varieties in two to four years. Finally, growers measure how many hours the temperature is below 45 degrees. Ideally, trees will experience 800 to 850 “chill hours” which allow the necessary “rest” they need in order to prepare for the spring crop.

Spring: February – May

In early spring, trees enter the bud and bloom stage – white blossoms on plum trees, pink blossoms on peach and nectarine trees. Once the trees bloom, pollination takes place and the blossoms start growing fruit. When the fruit is about the size of a fingertip, growers thin the crop, removing all but the strongest pieces in order to grow the best-sized and sweetest-tasting fruit. Harvest begins during spring.

Summer: June – September

Now the orchards are humming with activity, with irrigation, pest control and pruning all helping the fruit grow to maturity during this peak harvest time. When the proper color, size and maturity are reached, the fruit is carefully harvested by hand, piece by piece, and taken to the packing facility to be prepared for shipping. Each of California’s 600 varieties of peaches, plums and nectarines has its own specific harvest time, and will often undergo at least three pickings over the course of ten days to make sure the fruit is harvested at just the right time.

Fall: October – November

In this period, late varieties of peaches, plums and nectarines are still being harvested. As the harvest begins to wind down, growers begin to evaluate their crop performance and start on autumn tasks, including controlling weeds, cleaning orchards and repairing irrigation systems.