Hardy Peaches

clarkinks(5b)January 23, 2014

Many people have told me through the years they have problems raising peaches so I wanted to post a picture of a variety that works for me. This is a photo of my Reliance Peach.The windshield temperature has been known to reach -20 F here in Zone 5 at times. Our summers are very dry through the months of July and August. This peach has no problems with harsh conditions. They are actually capable of handling zone 4 with no special protection. What is the best peach for your location?

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olpea(zone 6 KS)

Clark,

It looks like you are in KS. If so, I'm south of you in zone 6. Here pretty much any peach grows well except some peaches developed for dry climates which are prone to crack or are highly susceptible to bacterial spot.

Most peaches developed in Michigan or like climates work well here.

One thing I notice from your picture is that your tree needs to be thinned. Peaches generally set 80 to 90% more fruit than they need and the fruit will be much larger sweeter if adequately thinned.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 10:27PM
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curtis(5)

What other varieties do you have? How do you rate the flavor of Reliance vs the others?

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 10:29PM
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clarkinks(5b)

The peaches did need thinned lol...the wind or hail usually do it for me but last year I got 7 5 gallon buckets of medium peaches mostly and only 10 percent large. The other varieties I grow are a wild white peach, flat wonderful and contender. All those varieties are fine for taste and look incredible but when you want peach pie and cobbler etc plant reliance. The name says it they are an old reliable variety. Flat wonderful is superior in taste and beauty but not in production. The flat wonderful has purple foliage and melting flesh.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 8:28AM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

Clark,

Why is Reliance better for cooking in your opinion?

Although I never cooked with it, Reliance is pretty soft, as melting peaches go.

As a general comment, it seems in most cases there is a trade-off between extra hardiness (for very hardy varieties) and flavor, as applied to marginally tender fruits. For example, hardy blackberries don't have as much sugar as less hardy ones. Hardy oranges, almonds, and table grapes aren't as good as less hardy varieties.

I think the same is somewhat true with peaches.

I would compare Reliance to Belle of Georgia. What Belle of Georgia is to white peaches, Reliance is to yellow. Both are backyard peaches very easy to grow, somewhat hardier, and are far superior to grocery store peaches, but inferior in flavor to most other home grown varieties.

I agree Flat Wonderful is a good peach. It's actually classified as a non-melting flesh.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 1:10PM
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clarkinks(5b)

To me a reliance peach is better for cooking the way a western sand cherry is better for jelly. Certain fruits get a lot better with cooking and in my opinion those 2 are those types. Some western sand cherries can be eaten fresh and we do but that is not their strong point. I agree when you want hardy fruit you always trade for flavor or in some other way. Unfortunately we can never have it all in gardening though we continue to look for it always :0)

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 6:49PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Hardy fruit can be great. Most apples that are great are not in the warmer regions. Highbush blueberries are the best blueberries. Southerns are good too, but that's because they are part Northern! Raspberries grow best in colder zones, not too cold, but zone 5 and 6 berries are no doubt the best raspberries. Same with strawberries. Once you get too cold, yes choices are limited. Anyway being in zone 6 I'm happy with the types of fruit I can grow.
You know you can add sugar, it doesn't have to be in the fruit. tart cherries grow well in colder zones too. And with sugar they are fabulous! Currants and gooseberries too! Honey berries., Goumi, cranberries etc. Cranberries rock! Are used in many many products, yet raw certainly lack sugar. It's not all bad.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 9:42PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

"Hardy fruit can be great."

Drew,

To clarify, my comments were directed toward tender fruits.

I agree there are some hardier fruits that taste very good and do well in colder climates (like apples, raspberries).

My point was hardy varieties of tender fruits often don't taste as good as the more tender varieties.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 11:42AM
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clarkinks(5b)

Drew I must admit the service berries are our favorites that we grow. We are just barely on the edge of their zone. I got mine from Byron nursery http://www.byronnursery.com/BareRootPlants2.html
Anything warmer than zone 4-5 I understand they cannot grow them. I was thinking more a long the lines of growing figs, peaches etc.. when we are zone stretching the other direction we don't always get everything we want. For example we can grow hardy persimmons here but the giant persimmons that are sweet they grow in California we cannot. I can grow poncirus trifoliate oranges but not navel oranges etc..

This post was edited by ClarkinKS on Sat, Jan 25, 14 at 12:33

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 12:26PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

I agree olpea, the so called tender fruits, the hardier ones in general are worse, and like many fruits early fruiting cultivars usually are not as good. A couple exceptions. Some early blueberries are good. On service berry I saw Olpea said he didn't care for them, had a Regent, well those are very blah. Northline is good! Although you still may not like them. Curious as to what Byron has as it is not mentioned what cultivar? Doesn't matter they are a wholesale only nursery.

One item I would look at for in zone five is Black Ice hybrid plum. Many cannot grow or not grow well in colder zones. Toka would be a good pollinator. Often in the west they mention all those pluots and Japanese plums. Well here are some that are good and can grow easy in zone 5.
Pipestone is a 3rd that is decent.So is Superior, the name fits! These are all American x Japanese plums. These are rated to zone 3. Many Japanese are to zone 5 but perform poorly at the limits. Often not fruiting. Alderman is another decent one. All seem to pollinate off of Toka, so Toka and any other would work. Jung's and Grandpa's sell these trees. Black Ice and Superior are probably the best. I have tasted all of these from farmer's markets, but have not grown any. I will once I move. Everybody's taste is different, best find some and try them.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 2:30PM
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clarkinks(5b)

Thanks a lot for the plum info I have been looking for ones to graft on my western sand cherries. Byron Nursery typically has a $40 minimum shipping but its best to call Gene Redlin and see if he can help you. The serviceberries I got from him are small (about like a red lake Currant) but very tasty! I think at the time I ordered $200 worth of stuff from him but the savings on plants and overall quality made it worth it for me. Everything I got from him was healthy and hardy. I think the plants were around $2 each.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 3:08PM
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bberry_gw

There are no comparisons in the cultivated and less hardy blueberries to the wild lowbush blueberries of Maine. Now that I think about it the wild raspberries and strawberries here are also the very best of all. The wild apples here are not better but then again they were brought here as cultivated so are not native.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 5:52PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

I have not tried wild blueberries. I have never seen them. But I'm not impressed with wild strawberries. Wild raspberries are great, and a lot different than domesticated types, but I like both. Strawberries and raspberries have a wide range of tastes in the cultivated types. It's impressive.
I prefer to grow cultivars, and forage wild types. As production of wild types is disappointing. Blueberries are so good I'm happy with the highbush Northern and Southern. With limited room I have not had the desire to try growing wild lowbush. Back to the yield too, as the highbush types are extremely productive. Although if in the future room allows, I may try some. As I agree wild types are usually good. For me some exceptions are cherries and strawberries. I like them fine, but hard to compare to the most excellent cultivars out there. Such as Reiner or White Gold with cherries. And Pine Berries and Mara Des Bois with strawberries. Some might add Musk too. The flavors of these cultivars is unrivaled.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 6:40AM
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bberry_gw

Drew,
Some wild berries can be grown commercially and the wild lowbush blueberries here are one of them. They are found in almost all supermarket frozen areas. Once you have tried the Wyman's juice it will be one of your favorites. I have grown lots of different strawberries but none can ever compare to our wild ones. Just incredible.Sadly they cannot be grown commercially. I grow lots of different peaches, plums, pears and apples and no wild ones can compare to those. Seems that mankind can improve most things but mother nature has kept a few secrets.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 10:37AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

I have never seen any Michigan wild blueberries, though they do exist. I will probably grow some once I move. Not easy to get, but some places have them. I'm still in shock and awe over how much better home grown tastes. I never even liked strawberries that much, as I apparently never had good ones. Now that I have tasted my own, I added a 8x12 ft area to grow even more. And I still will be growing a few in hanging baskets, and wherever I can fit them. They are awesome! I do grow June, everbearing, alpines, pineberries, and musk strawberries. White, red, and yellow.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 11:18AM
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clarkinks(5b)

bberry,
The soil is not acidic enough to grow blueberries here which is why I started growing saskatoons. We did add sulphur or aluminum sulfide to the soil and we finally quit fighting it. Our ph here is 7.5 - 8.5. I sent you an email about your trees once I saw the types you grow! Earliglow is a pretty good tasting strawberry that rivals our wild strawberries flavor and it is much larger. Our wild strawberries are only as big as your pinky nail but are delicious beyond belief.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 1:29PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

I grow blueberries in raised beds and pots for two reasons. In raised beds to control PH, makes it easy, they are growing great! They have shallow roots so a 1 foot raised bed seems to be enough.Some in pots for 3 reasons, I'm moving and want to take them with me, even easier to control PH. And one is not hardy here. It will be moved to the garage which is protected and warmer, the plant is just barely not hardy here.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 1:51PM
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clarkinks(5b)

Drew that is a great idea I never considered that they have shallow roots. So do you use wood mulch over the bed to hold in moisture or do you have that issue there? The ones I grew here were sour but better than store bought. I need to figure out a better variety if I try it again.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 2:08PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

I use pine bark mulch, and also some pine straw. In my beds I grow both blueberry and strawberries. Sulfur is applied only around the blueberry plant itself. The strawberries have to be constantly thinned out.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 5:23PM
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clarkinks(5b)

Great looking raised bed and the plants look healthy and productive!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 6:18PM
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bberry_gw

Clark,
Zone 5 here as well and I was wondering if you are able to grow mulberries and paw-paws? Never seen them here. Interesting on your soil being alkaline. I have always liked the taste of Sparkle straws since I was a kid.

Drew,
Yes I have heard of the Michigan low bush bb's. Your raised beds are nice. I have added a trellis to the north side of one of mine and grow Fortex beans there. Never seen any others that compare. Long , tender, stringless and flavorful!

Anyone tried the bb juice yet?

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 6:39AM
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fruitmaven.WIz5(5)

ClarkinKS, try Mara des Bois sometime. They're small berries, but extremely flavorful. Also, they bear all summer until frost.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 6:47AM
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clarkinks(5b)

Mulberries grow like crazy here and are considered close to invasive. Pawpaw trees grow here in filtered sun and beside water like rivers or wet areas that are heavily wooded.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 7:12AM
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clarkinks(5b)

Hmm mara des bois and sparkle sound like great plants to grow! I will have to give them a try. Thanks

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 7:16AM
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