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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 mid to late August. Self-pollinating.


Bloom Color Pink
Fruit Color Red
Fruit Size Medium - Large
Pollination Self-pollinating
Ripens/Harvest Mid-late 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

The mature size of this variety depends on the version you choose to plant:
Standard 12 - 15' Tall X 12 - 15' Wide
Dwarf 8 - 10' Tall X 8 - 10' Wide

Recommended Spacing

The space needed for this variety to grow depends on the size you plant:
Standard 12 - 15'
Dwarf 8 - 10'

Recommended Pollinators

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

You don't pay until it ships.

We work hard to make sure that your order arrives at the ideal time for planting in your location. That's why we only ship living products during certain times of the year. Order now and your credit card won't be charged until your climate is suitable for planting success and your order is shipped.

Our Promise of Satisfaction

1 Year Warranty

Every order comes with our promise of satisfaction. If you aren't completely satisfied with your order, let us know within one year for a free one-time replacement or refund.


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Questions & Answers

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Browse 13 questions Browse 13 questions and 41 answers
Why did you choose this?
Stark Bro's Store
highly recommended for my area by MO Agricultural Extension
ELLEN L on Oct 26, 2017
We wanted good peaches to eat fresh as well as for baking and canning. This promises to be just what we need.
R K on May 10, 2017
highly recommended for my area by MO Agricultural Extension
ELLEN L on Oct 26, 2017
Neighbors brought over delicious peaches last night.
Suzanne M on Sep 3, 2017
We wanted good peaches to eat fresh as well as for baking and canning. This promises to be just what we need.
R K on May 10, 2017
A little earlier than Reliance. Excellent peach for my area!
Marla H on Mar 28, 2017
I did extensive research and it seems as if this peach has the best taste for my climate 5B.
John R on Mar 19, 2017
I love freestone large and sweet peaches,self pollinating, the description fits the bill and compact enough to fit my backyard. Its going to be great.
Michael G on Mar 8, 2017
Disease resistant, cold hardy, ripening time, and description
Richard N on Mar 4, 2017
In order to counter late spring frosts in my zone.
JAMES B on Jan 30, 2017
I choose this variety because of its cold hardiness and after doing some on-line research, i found this variety is already grown by small local farmers. Reports are that it does very well in Southern New Jersey. I also discovered SNJ is the 4th largest producers of Peaches in the USA.
GARY R. Y on Jan 15, 2017
I bought one from Stark Bros three years ago. This summer of 2016 I have had the best and most peaches I've ever had on any tree. Very little pears or apples in my area due to frost but these peaches made up for it. Freestone and so sweet ! I will be ordering more trees as I'm planning an orchard for my daughter.
Thelma R on Jan 13, 2017
It is agreeable to my zone, is prolific producer that is also freestone and self pollinating.
Edward E on Oct 26, 2016
Ordered in Spring of 2015, leafed out the first summer. Spring of 2016 it blossomed, and this summer I got 24 beautiful perfect peaches on that little spindly tree.
MARGARET L F on Sep 19, 2016
Because it was real cold hardy
CARLIE F on Sep 17, 2016
I am in hopes that Contender peach will not succumb to late frosts in our area and that we can grow peaches here. Others grow peaches here but they are very sporadic. Contender and Intrepid seemed to be worth a try.
Henry N on Aug 24, 2016
For my daughter.
GARY O on May 15, 2016
I chose this because it's a cold weather variety, and I live in Iowa; I don't want any chance of losing a whole year's crop from one late frost.
DARRYL V on May 7, 2016
I purchased this tree for my brother based on my own experience with the Contender Peach tree. This tree looks very healthy, pruned nicely, with good roots and better than 5/8" diameter. Very pleased with the purchase. Thanks, Stark Bros.
Ruth C on Mar 31, 2016
I have one of these trees already and had my first peaches last year. They taste amazing! So I had to get a second tree this year.
MARCY T on Mar 5, 2016
I live in Maine and I wanted a hardy peach tree. I have had great luck with Reliance peach trees but wanted to try a different variety.
Wendy W on Feb 23, 2016
Cold hardy
Michael M on Feb 21, 2016
supposed to be hardy in zone 4
Jessica P on Feb 20, 2016
Extension office recommendation for Arkansas
Kevin M on Feb 17, 2016
Neighbors brought over delicious peaches last night.
Suzanne M on Sep 3, 2017
A little earlier than Reliance. Excellent peach for my area!
Marla H on Mar 28, 2017
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.
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.
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.
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.
Will the contender peach tree pollinate with a July Elberta?
Jordan on Nov 29, 2017
BEST ANSWER: They are both self-pollinating, but if planted within 50' or so of one another, there is enough overlap in the bloom time for there to be a "pollination boost."
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

4.2 / 5.0
54 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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
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 2 years ago
Excellent Eating
We have enjoyed many fresh peaches and frozen peaches from these two trees.
May 8, 2016
1 year 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 2 years ago
Great Tree!
Live in ND, planted last year, had fruit this year!
August 29, 2016
over 2 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 3 years ago
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