Actively growing shoots of peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] were collected every 2 weeks throughout the 1989 growing season. The samples were sectioned longitudinally and transversely to observe axillary bud initiation, which occurred in all samples collected. Differentiation of axillary bud meristems from early season samples (mostly normal nodes) included apical and prophyll formation, with procambium connected to the stem procambium. Little to no differentiation of such structures occurred in the late-season samples (mostly blind nodes). Other results suggest that blind node formation is a consequence of a lack of bud differentiation rather than a failure of bud initiation.