Peaches thrive in the same mild climates as grapevines and are often found in the same regions. Cultivating them on warm facades or walls as espalier fruit allows peaches to grow even in cold climates-- of course with a lot of work and enthusiasm!
(lat.: Prununs persica)
Sunny, unshaded south to southwest walls are optimal locations for peach trees; in some cases, southeast walls might work. Peach trees are available with two kinds of grafting bases. On dry, light, sandy soils (wine-growing climate), the peach can be grafted onto a peach rootstock. In heavy, loamy, moist, or very fertile soils- as well as in areas with high precipitation and in harsher climates- peaches must be grafted onto a plum base (e.g. "Brompton" or "Marunke"). Peach trees need a lot of water during their growth -- the soil can never dry after flowering! Peach plants for espalier fruit can be found at regional nurseries or ordered online.
When cultivated on an espalier, peach is treated as a shaped tree. The flower is white, pink, or wine red, and the flowering is very early, which also means that fertilisation could be jeopardized in later frosts. The characteristics of the fruit vary greatly between varieties. The variety should be chosen for the expected maturity time of the varieties. Grown as trellis espalier fruit, peaches will ripen 2 or even 3 weeks earlier than normally expected (on a free-standing tree)-- keep this in mind and don't forget them during vacation time! Peach trees grow mainly at their extremities, and may tend to bald at their base. Peaches are heavily susceptible to leaf curl (there are some resistant varieties available), as well as mildew and aphids. See technical literature (readily available online) for pruning techniques.
The table at the bottom of this page indicates which trellis designs should be used for a peach espalier tree. Choose a trellis in the heavy or massive ranges (for a larger space between the facade and the fruit) or in the medium range, or even in the basic range of trellises. A wooden trellis may also be used.
It is difficult to train peach trees to strictly symmetrical shapes -- they are most often trained to free "fan" shapes, preferably with a fork at the base of the trunk to avoid having only one dominant stem in the center. The wire trellis must anchor the tree to the facade and be stable enough, as well as providing enough space to air the foliage. The trellis should be built as described on the page about shaped trees. The main axes of the trellis should be 35 - 45 cm apart. The peaches may be planted in front of the warming facade with no trellis, but they can damage the building in cases of strong wind.