Contender Peach

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Grow peaches in regions where temperatures fall well below zero. This exceptionally hardy variety, perfect for northern gardens, consistently yields large crops of sweet, juicy, medium-to-large fruit. Also features lovely pink flowers that bloom and attract bees in spring. Developed in Raleigh, North Carolina, introduced in 1988. Disease-resistant to bacterial spot. Cold-hardy. Freestone. Ripens in August. Self-pollinating.

125% Survival Guarantee!

Since 1816, Stark Bro’s has promised to provide customers with the very best fruit trees and plants. It’s just that simple. If your trees or plants do not survive, please let us know within one year of delivery. We will issue a one-time merchandise credit to your account equaling 125% of the original product purchase price. Read more about our warranty policy.


Bloom Color Pink
Bloom Time Late
Chill Hours 1000
Fruit Color Red
Fruit Size Medium - Large
Pollination Self-Pollinating
Ripens/Harvest August
Shade/Sun Full Sun
Soil Composition Loamy
Soil Moisture Well Drained - Average Moistness
Soil pH Level 6.0 - 7.0
Taste Sweet
Texture Firm
Years to Bear 2 - 4
Zone Range 4 - 8

Zone Compatibility

This Variety's Zone Range 4 - 8
My Hardiness Zone ?
The USDA hardiness zones offer a guide to varieties that will grow well in certain climates. Each zone corresponds to the minimum winter temperatures experienced in a given area. Make sure that your hardiness zone lies within the zone compatability range of this variety before ordering.

Size & Spacing

Mature Size

When your tree matures, it will be approximately 12 - 15' tall x 12 - 15' wide.

Recommended Spacing

We recommend spacing these trees 12 - 15' apart to ensure room for growth.


This variety is self pollinating.

In many cases, you may still want to plant pollinating partners to increase the size of your crops, but with self-pollinating varieties doing so is optional. You'll get fruit with only one plant!

Tools & Supplies

Having the proper tools and supplies when growing your own can make the difference between a good harvest and a great harvest! Here's a list that our experts recommend for this variety.

Planting & Care

Learn all about how to grow peach trees in The Growing Guide. An entire section of our website dedicated to your growing success.

Shipping Information

Estimated Delivery Date

This item is currently out of stock.

Arrives when it's time to plant

Your success is our priority. We work hard to make sure that your order arrives at the ideal time for planting in your location based on your local climate conditions.


We've 'tagged' this item with specific keywords that help you find other products that share features or characteristics with this one. Select a tag below to view all the items that have that particular trait.

Questions & Answers

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Browse 28 questions Browse 28 questions and 94 answers
Why did you choose this?
Stark Bro's Store
Wanted to try a new variety and this had favorable ratins
Sharon S on Mar 20, 2021
I have had one of these for about 5 years. It's very cold hardy (-23 F and fruit the next year), and has produced well every year. It is planted on relatively high ground so maybe its in a good spot, but it has done real well here in southeast Wisconsin.
John B on Mar 2, 2021
Wanted to try a new variety and this had favorable ratins
Sharon S on Mar 20, 2021
Information supplied on Stark website.
Steve on Mar 19, 2021
I have had one of these for about 5 years. It's very cold hardy (-23 F and fruit the next year), and has produced well every year. It is planted on relatively high ground so maybe its in a good spot, but it has done real well here in southeast Wisconsin.
John B on Mar 2, 2021
Grows in my climate
raymond k on Jan 30, 2021
Replace a peach tree that did not survive
David M on Jan 26, 2021
Self-pollinating and will hopefully survive the location of our seasonal home!
Lindsay S on Jan 17, 2021
We are in a valley and on the border of climate zones. The Contender had a better resistance to the cold. We lost two other varieties in the past, to our cold climate.
Nickolas F on Jan 14, 2021
To replace the one that die I got last year
John N on Jan 10, 2021
White peach. The family will enjoy the novelty.
Kirk E on Jan 8, 2021
We heard a lot of good news about these trees. We are a fruit farm and thought we would give them a try.
Carol W on Dec 28, 2020
Good for Wisc winters, sweet
Vicki G on Dec 23, 2020
Good in zone 7A
Dennis J on Nov 30, 2020
I want to try a cold hardy peach tree up here in North Idaho. Wish me luck!
User on Oct 9, 2020
Very good tasting peach with higher chilling requirement, which I need for my area.
G D on Mar 4, 2020
Reliable and productive, unlike many of our other fruit trees!
Ken and Sarah D on Feb 27, 2020
It sounds like a very strong, durable well-rounded peach that checks off all the needs of a good peach
Camille H on Feb 25, 2020
I so would love to have a peach tree that did not produce fruit with black spot in E TN! I'm going to hold this tree to its promise.
Gloria C on Feb 22, 2020
Late bloomer and August harvest, so safer from late frosts. Also disease resistant to bacterial spot.
Janet G on Feb 21, 2020
Cold-hardy and later harvest means peaches throughout the summer.
Crystal C on Jan 26, 2020
Chose for late blooming, hoping to get harvests most years once it starts to bear. Freestone is a must. Chose the container plant, since bare rooted trees can be a challenge to get to grow. It is hard on the trees to dig them out of the ground in fall, store over winter, plant in a hot spring week, which can happen more often than we would like. Would have ordered more potted trees if they had been ordered.
M H on Jan 11, 2020
We have been scanning these the last few years. They are so good .
Carol B on Dec 16, 2019
I chose this variety because of its ability to grow in cold zones. I live in Colorado and we have a variety of weather. I was looking for a hearty tree and the description of this tree seemed to fit my needs. -km
Karhryn M on May 18, 2019
Proven best producer for my zone
RANDY R on May 9, 2019
Cold Hardy, Freestone, Disease Resistant
Mark S on May 4, 2019
In our area this peach is becoming the first one of choice, information from orchards in central missouri.
John M on May 3, 2019
cold zone
ELLEN H on Apr 20, 2019
I have a peach tree that produces lots of peaches, although they never get very big. I inherited this tree, and it does need more sun. Anyway, I'm thinking that another peach tree will help it--maybe--and if not, I'll expect good fruit from this tree.
CATHERINE L H on Apr 18, 2019
Reviews and characteristics.
Tracey S on Apr 8, 2019
it's one of two peaches that can survive in our area and produce a crop! Reliance and Contender are the best tasting peaches from my area
timbob on Mar 23, 2019
Cold hardy
John m on Mar 19, 2019
I wanted a dwarf peach that was cold hardy.
Linda L on Mar 15, 2019
cold hardy
Leonard L on Mar 14, 2019
Looking for a dwarf peach tree that would do well in central NC, not far from Raleigh where the peach was developed.
Suzanne S on Mar 12, 2019
Cold hardy peach with great taste.
Richard P on Mar 12, 2019
Self pollinating, disease resistant.
Anonymous on Mar 6, 2019
Because it is cold hardy.
Richard U on Feb 26, 2019
Familiar with this peach from local orchard when I lived in Ohio.
Alan H on Feb 23, 2019
Cold hardy
Maureen S on Feb 22, 2019
We had these peaches from a local orchard and they are delicious.
Wally H on Feb 14, 2019
zone and self-pollination, and neighbor's success with his.
John C on Feb 5, 2019
Cold hardy
James on Feb 3, 2019
Dwarf and self pollinating.
MARSHA W on Jan 29, 2019
MICHAEL L on Jan 9, 2019
It was available at the size i wanted and it worked in our climate.
Mariah M on Dec 20, 2018
I needed something cold hardy for Colorado winters and I wanted a sweet yellow peach.
Alicia A on Aug 15, 2018
Cold hardy and many positive reviews on taste and disease resistance.
TRAVIS K on Jun 18, 2018
The information on your website indicated that this was the best thing for our conditions, desired results and is guaranteed by the company.
Kim C on May 23, 2018
This peach received many positive recommendations
Beaatrice T B on May 12, 2018
Most delicious peaches I have ever tasted
Jeanette K on May 12, 2018
It is cold hardy and had good reviews.
KAY C on May 7, 2018
Information supplied on Stark website.
Steve on Mar 19, 2021
Grows in my climate
raymond k on Jan 30, 2021
What kind of tree would I plant if I want a pollinator even though this self pollinates?
Karen B on May 13, 2016
BEST ANSWER: My Contender peach also did very well in zone 4, high altitude in WY. But just because I love peaches and wanted to try some others too, I planted 4 different varieties. All did very well.
Do you have to spray the contender peaches?
j m on Feb 21, 2017
BEST ANSWER: I have had no trouble that required spraying. However, you might consider preventive treatments on the soil and trunk against peach tree borers.

For me, the real pest of peaches has been ants, harvesting chunks out of fully ripe peaches. The best solution for this is to pick the peaches JUST BEFORE they're fully ripe, and let them ripen indoors.
will a tree grow from the seed of a contender peach tree?
susan m on May 2, 2020
BEST ANSWER: I don't believe you can grow from a seed since the contender sold by stark
Bros is a grafted tree. This means it isn't on its own root stock. I would not recommend
buying from Stark Bros since I purchased 5 trees that all failed and only two survived after the second delivery. I believe my trees had disease from the nursery and will not be purchasing again.
We have about 100 frost-free days in our area. Is that enough for this tree to produce mature fruit?
Mark S on Jan 4, 2020
BEST ANSWER: It depends, do you have frequent cold snaps -20 degree or colder that might damage the tree? Do you have frequent late frosts throughout the bloom months of April and May that will damage blossoms? Do you have a protected space next to a heated area, like the Southside of a house near the fireplace or furnace vent that might mitigate the first two questions? Would you build a mini greenhouse to help protect it? What does your summer look like short though it may be? Is it hot and dry like eastern Washington state or wet and cool like Maine? Peaches can produce in Canada and northern United States if you give them the best chance location wise and a little luck with spring weather. But there is a reason most peaches are grown between New Jersey and Georgia, they don't need to worry about the weather much. You could always consider keeping it in a very large pot on wheels if you have space in a garage, barn or greenhouse. Be sure to pick a dwarf rootstock if you try to pot it.
Splitting of the bark what does that mean?
Roger A on May 19, 2018
BEST ANSWER: The only experience I've had with my 36 Stark fruit trees having split bark is when we have had a very erratic Spring, with severe freezing and thawing
many times. I learned to paint the trees about Thanksgiving in Kentucky
with half water and half white interior flat paint. This helps keep the tree
bark from splitting in severe winters. When the trees experience very low
temperatures, then the next day the sun comes out and melts the ice, it
causes the bark to split. Painting definitely helps prevent splitting from this
freeze - thaw cycle.
How does this peach do in the Minneapolis, MN area?
Clara N on May 5, 2017
BEST ANSWER: Our contender peach trees have survived two winters in our zone for, north central Wisconsin garden. We don't have peaches yet but hope to this summer since the trees look very healthy and are growing well.
My contender peach was five years old. This spring it appeared to have all but a few of the buds damaged as only a few started to grow eventually the tree died. The coldest day was 22 below zero over the winter. Any ideas to why it died?
T O on Nov 29, 2019
BEST ANSWER: Peaches harden off to prepare for winter starting from the smallest branches and working their way to the trunk. If the winter comes on quickly the tree may not have time to prepare: the small branches may be fine, but the trunk may be irreparably damaged. Some buds may open but ultimately the tree will die because it is unable to transport fluids up the trunk to the branches. This may be what happened to your tree. I, too lost an older contender peach this past winter.
Why has my contender tree never bore fruit? I???ve never even seen it flower - ever. It had to have been at least a couple yrs old when we purchased it & that was 3 or 4 years ago.
Christina P on Oct 10, 2019
BEST ANSWER: Hi Christina, Having a fruit tree that won???t bloom or bear fruit is very frustrating. Check out our article titled "Solving Fruit Tree Blooming & Bearing Problems". This article has a lot of tips that might help. Now is the perfect time of year to start preparing for next years potential harvest. If your tree is not flowering it could still be too young/immature. Pruning and fertilizing play a key role in this too. If you have any further questions please don't hesitate to reach back out to us, remember that we're here for you. Have a great day!
How soon will the trees bear fruit?
Christy G on May 20, 2018
BEST ANSWER: You can find the years-to-bear information in the Characteristics section, near the top of the page, underneath the description. This tree takes 2-4 years to bear fruit.
Purchased and planted two contender peach trees this year, noticed the tag says Red leaf, does that mean something? Thank you!
Tasha on May 27, 2016
BEST ANSWER: That is likely the name of the root stock that the cultivar scion was grafted on to. Rutgers Red Leaf root stock offers a measure of disease resistance and dwarfing traits that protect the health of the plant and encourage bearing fruit earlier in the lifespan of the tree.
Does contender come potted, or bare root?
Mark F on Mar 11, 2021
BEST ANSWER: At this time it is listed as a bare root tree.
Alaska is on the continent of North America. Do you ship to Alaska? If so, I will be ordering.
Dan C on Jan 20, 2021
BEST ANSWER: We appreciate you reaching out to us. We do currently ship to Alaska.

If you have any further questions please don't hesitate to reach back out to us. Have a great day!
Do I have to plant in the spring? Zone 7.
Nina J on Oct 7, 2020
BEST ANSWER: We appreciate you reaching out to us. Because weather and soil conditions vary so much from year to year and even within your zone, it's best to think of your planting time as a range of favorable conditions instead of an exact time.

You can plant new plants and trees:
1) when the ground is not frozen.
2) when daytime temperatures are above freezing (32??F) and below 90??F.
3) when extreme weather (blizzard, hail, torrential rain, etc.) is not in the forecast. Be sure to keep plants watered if you're transplanting in warm and/or dry weather.

If you have any further questions please don't hesitate to reach back out to us. Have a great day!
I am interested in Peach and Persimmon trees that are cold hardy that semi
draft. I live in Northern Virginia.Zip Code 20191. Please let me when it available?
Pichuswami V on Jun 4, 2020
BEST ANSWER: We appreciate you reaching out to us. We do not have a guaranteed ETA on when more will become available. We are very sorry for this inconvenience and completely understand your disappointment. Rest assured, that if you sign up for a notification, you'll be one of the first to be notified when it becomes available again.

If you have any further questions please don't hesitate to reach back out to us, remember that we're here for you. Have a great day!

I've got a Contender Peach that was planted early last May. I noticed a few weeks ago that it had started to leaf out. Then we got a cold snap. It has warmed back up, but I'm still not seeing any more leafing progress. Is it typical that there may only be a few leaves at this time of year? I'm in zone 4- SE Minnesota.
Colleen A on May 19, 2020
BEST ANSWER: We appreciate you reaching out to us. Yes it is normal as the cold snap caused this tree to think it should be dormant again. I advise pruning 2-3 inches off the top and fertilizing this should stimulate the tree.

If you have any further questions please don't hesitate to reach back out to us. Have a great day!
I have two 2nd year Contender Peaches on my lawn in SW Mn. both are partially leafed out expecting temps to drop to 32 degrees for two or more mornings Should I be protecting them? What low temp will they tolerate without damage?
Ralph P on May 5, 2020
BEST ANSWER: From my experience as long as the temp doesn't drop to the mid or low twenties Contender blossoms seem to mostly survive and the leaves are usually even hardier
Will this peach stay firm if used for canning?
Pam W on May 3, 2019
BEST ANSWER: It is an excellent freezing or canning peach. Its firm yellow flesh resists browning.
Do I want standard or dawf contends for fruit production?
Eddiep on Apr 3, 2019
BEST ANSWER: Of course, a standard tree will give you quite a bit more fruit than a dwarf tree, based on sheer size. A dwarf tree will give you less fruit, but it will be full-sized. A dwarf tree will give you: 1???3 bushels; a standard tree will produce 3???6 bushels.
I???ve been looking for the Bounty peach tree. It???s my favorite peach. I was wondering how the Contender peach compares?
Mandy on Jan 18, 2019
BEST ANSWER: They are very comparable in terms of cold-hardiness, sweetness, firmness, disease-resistance and versatiity - they're both good canning/freezing peaches. This is probably the closest you can get to Bounty.
Is this a yellow or white peach?
Donna D on Apr 7, 2018
BEST ANSWER: Contender has yellow flesh.
In spring how much fruit is removed to insure a healthy crop?
Michael W S on Dec 12, 2017
BEST ANSWER: For peaches and nectarines -- break up any fruit clusters and fruit ???twins??? that may develop. Leave at least 6 inches of space between remaining fruit and you will have lovely, large peaches.
Can the trees grow indooors?
Carmen H on Dec 10, 2017
BEST ANSWER: Peach trees need a certain number of chill hours before 45?? so they can complete the fruiting cycle. If they are kept in an environment that is consistently room temperature, they won't go dormant and will therefore not produce any fruit.
Have a peach tree with lots of green peaches, will it turn yet???
Marcus S on Jul 20, 2017
BEST ANSWER: Depending upon where you are, they should start ripening in about a week, with a 15-day or so window to pick them.
How many chill hours?
Zachboy222 on Feb 5, 2017
BEST ANSWER: Contender Peach requires 1050 chill hours below 45??.
Does the contender Peachtree bear fruit yearly?
Tikki on Jul 24, 2016
BEST ANSWER: Thank you for your question. Contender will take 2-4 years to bear, but with proper care and barring any extreme weather conditions/bud-kill due to a frost, it will bear fruit annually.

Customer Reviews

4.3 / 5.0
76 Reviews
5 Stars
4 Stars
3 Stars
2 Stars
1 Star
Best zone 4 extreme cold peach, massive fruit production
I love the contender peach. I have planted it instead of the reliance peach at all of my rental properties and my remote mountaintop cabin, 5 trees total. It has withstood zone 4 winters year after year, extreme winds, 5 foot snows in a ski resort area, and bare bitter cold ground in January. Every spring it's covered with beautiful pink blossoms and in the summer or even the first season a little stick of a tree has 10 or 15 peaches. My 4 year old tree had hundreds of peaches. Tastes great when sun ripened and right as they hit the ground. It's my most heavy producing and fastest turnaround fruit tree in any of my permaculture zone 4 plantings.
May 6, 2016
over 6 years ago
Contender Peach Review
I received the bare root dwarf peach tree in May 2014. I was not impressed as the tree was a single stalk approximately 1/2" diameter by 36" tall when planted. There were no protruding branches, just a straight stick.
I followed the planting instructions utilizing a generous sized hole, top soil mixed with composted manure and peat moss mulch. The tree liked that combination as it sprouted several branches and grew to approximately 5 ft that summer.
The tree wintered well and grew to approximately 12 ft the summer of 2015.
I did nothing for protection the winter of 2015-16 other than fencing to prevent deer damage.
This May (2016) the tree has in excess of 80 blossoms and looking healthy. I'm hoping for peaches this summer but question how well the pollination went due to the lack of bees. I tried pollinating several blossoms using an artist's brush. Only time will tell.
I have recommended the contender peach to several of my friends as the results so far have been impressive. Its hard to believe that it grew from a twig to a 12' tree in only 2 years.
May 4, 2016
over 6 years ago
Third year fruit
The severe winter of 2013/14 killed all my Zone 5 peach trees here in southern Wisconsin. So in the spring of 2014 I replanted 2 each of Contender and Reliance to have an extended harvest period as there was *nothing* in my garden better than tree-ripened peaches. These had a few blossoms in the spring of 2015 which I removed. This spring all the trees are covered with blossoms so I will have to thin them. The Contender trees are now double the size of the Reliance.
May 9, 2016
over 6 years ago
Contender Peach
I've tried Intrepid, Red Haven and Contender peach here in Southern Coastal Maine. They all thrive but as of now I prefer Contender.
May 23, 2016
over 5 years ago
Mike C
Delicious peaches. I planted two of these trees three years ago. This year I picked 40-50 delicious peaches. Juicy and full of flavor. You will not be disappointed in buying this variety.
September 7, 2016
Great Tree!
Live in ND, planted last year, had fruit this year!
August 29, 2016
over 5 years ago
Should have bought Extra
Loved them so much, I realize I should have bought more of them. Also, buy the standard size, you'll kick yourself later that you didn't make the room for a larger tree that makes such excellent fruit. A sure backyard pleasure!
May 9, 2016
over 6 years ago
A real Contender!
The contender Peach I purchased in the Spring of 2014 is now producing so many fruits that I have recently taken about 30 for fear that the branches would not hold up to the weight. Good problem to have so soon. Hopefully, next time the tree produces, I can leave more fruit on the tree to ripen. Very happy!
June 1, 2016
over 6 years ago
Contender Peach
The Contender Beach we purchased from you survived our brutal winter here on the south shore of lake superior and looks happy and healthy! THANKS!
June 2, 2016
over 5 years ago
Excellent Eating
We have enjoyed many fresh peaches and frozen peaches from these two trees.
May 8, 2016
over 5 years ago