seedling peaches

glenn_10 zone 4b/5a NewBrunswick,Can.August 13, 2012

I thought I would post a few pics of some peaches i grew from seed. i tried grafted named varieties but they didn't appear to be very hardy and they all diedeither first winter or they had so much dieback they really looked bad after pruning 3:4 of the entire I thought what the heck I have 17 acres of land so space was not an issue.I put down some pits in 2007 and some came p the next year.others came up the year after.....2 years later????? does this make sense?Any way out of some 14 surviving seedlings (had lots more but they grew up and then died or were very weak growing)and after some brutal winters I now have 10 of the hardiest still going strong. There are a few ripe ones now and the smell of them is just amazing! in the pic are 3 grocery store peaches to the left for comparison. and the plums are supposed to be santa rosa plums but not really sure if they are because the tree was bought at a box store......but let me tell you the flavor of them is just amazing so I really don`t care what they are!

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glenn_10 zone 4b/5a NewBrunswick,Can.

here is another pic of peaches this time on the tree

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 8:06PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)


It's interesting your seedling peaches are that large. I've seen a couple of seedling trees around here and the fruit is much smaller. They are untended so the fruit would be bigger if it were thinned, but would still be smaller than grafted varieties.

Here is a picture of some fruit my wife picked off a seedling tree near her work. They are two nectarines sitting on top of a box of my peaches. The nectarines are about the size of large sweet cherries.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 8:51AM
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Noogy(6 sw mi)

I have the same thing in mind and have set aside 15 pits from a red haven tree. I guess the pits can go 2" straight into the ground pointing down. I've seen other excellent specimens come up from random seeds. It's awesome!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 9:31AM
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glenn_10 zone 4b/5a NewBrunswick,Can.

those little nectarines look very intersting! how do they taste? for me size comes second to taste.I would like to try nectarine but they seem to be rated higher than zone 5 so I think I would be wasting my time.
Noogy, I am not sure exactly what they are as they were grocery store pits and it was soooo long ago.They were from Ontario grown peaches so I figured they would have a better chance at being hardy than the ones from warmer parts of the US.If I can remember there seemed to be different varieties on sale every week, some freestone, some cling ,some small, some I really didn't know what to expect from these seedling trees as the fruit sized up quickly to ping pong balls and then just sat there for weeks.Then on Moday july 30 I noticed 2 of the trees started to pump up the fruit...and then yesterday I got to eat my first tree ripened peach EVER!And let me tell you I have been eating store bought peaches my whole life and I never knew that they could be this amazing!It was like eating a juicy piece of candy!I had no Idea what I was missing out on!Any ways I'm going to call these peaches my early cling stone ones, and I hope my later varieties will be just as good. here is a pic I took tonight the started sizing up on the weekend. on Friday they were a little smaller than a ping pong ball....and today you can see how much they pumped up in a couple of days(the red ball is a ping pong ball painted red)

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 7:35PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

"how do they taste? for me size comes second to taste."

Size comes second to taste for me too (within reasonable limits). The taste of this wild nect is also poor.

Contrary to perhaps popular thought, I do not think one can generally grow superior peaches from seed. Notwithstanding the nectarines above, I do think most seedling peaches are better than grocery store simply because they are allowed to ripen, but I don't think the odds are in favor of seedling peaches surpassing some of the taste tested best varieties. Nevertheless, I think a lot of people plant the pits for the novelty of growing a tree from seed, which of course can be a lot of fun.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 8:34PM
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Noogy(6 sw mi)

Olpea, you're prolly right on. We're in peach country, and Glenn, I guess in terms of random recombination, you lucked out!
I guess the criteria for selecting commercial varieties leaves for much improvement. Red color is nice, but I've bought beautiful peaches that are green on the inside and never ripen properly.
If my red havens don't do well, there's always grafting! Yeah!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2012 at 8:53AM
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glenn_10 zone 4b/5a NewBrunswick,Can.

Noogy, I didn't realize I lucked out because from what I had read(on the net so who knows how true it is) is that peach seedlings have characteristics very similar to the parent almost being coming true from seed.I have tried the redhaven and in a warm up into the high 40's followed by a bad cold snap down to minus 22F in january of 2008 killed one of them out right and the other had die back to the trunk. the second tree powered up and grew some nice new branches after that following winter which wasn't quite as cold died down to the ground the following spring.......the whole time most of the small seedling peaches came back to life each spring with little to no die back save a few of the less hardier ones which through the process of natural selection died and I cut them out.So since I had not very good luck with the grafted trees paying lots of money and not even getting a single fruit I promised my wife i would not waste any more money buying peach.
Olpea, do you know of any hardier varieties I could try?I see a lot of folks on here talking about the PF 24 but I don't think it is available to us that I and my wife have tasted a tree ripened peach I really want to grow a good named variety as we have been bitten buy the peach bug and I believe mumma will allow me to spend a few more dollars on a couple new trees next spring.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2012 at 7:00PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)


I don't know of any hardy peaches, other than what is normally mentioned (Contender, Madison, Intrepid, Reliance, PF24c, Wisconsin Balmer). Of the ones mentioned, I've only grown Contender and Reliance. In my experience Contender is a much higher quality peach than Reliance.

I can't really comment on how true to type seedling peaches are because, although I've grown out a lot of seedlings, I've never let any of them fruit. I know a lot of people say they are true to type, but I think they say that more from the fact most peaches are self-pollinating, and therefore assume offspring must be very similar to the parent, rather than from careful observation of the fruit from parent and offspring.

I read an old book a couple years ago that Michael (on this forum) recommended to me. It is called "The Kansas Peach". Although written around 1900, it was an interesting book. In it, several peach farmers reported they had a small amount of seedling peaches they were trying along with their normal blocks of grafted varieties. By and large they were fairly disappointed in the results of the seedling peaches. As I recall, it was something like 25% of the seedling peaches were worth keeping.

I do think modern breeding can sometimes focus on the wrong thing. As an example, Paul Friday puts a lot of emphasis on the packout line. He says you really don't know a peach till you see how it packs. Although he has some good tasting peaches, I'm really not interested in how a peach packs out. So sadly, I think one of the criteria of his breeding program is tailored to serve wholesale peach growers rather than the consumer, a mistake.

On the other hand, someone like Floyd Ziager seems to put a lot of emphasis on flavor. Unfortunately, a lot of his selections can't be grown in humid climates. I think a lot of the older varieties were also selected more on flavor. I just had a Carolina Gold tonight and it was very good. Indian Free most certainly must have been selected for it's unique flavor.

Some of the newer peaches are very good too. One of the nice things about the newer peaches is that they are selected to hang on the tree longer and stay firm. This doesn't sound like an advantage to a home grower, but I've noticed the extra hang time allows the peach to become a little sweeter before dropping or deteriorating. They will of course get soft, it just takes a little longer, which can be an advantage if you want to leave them on the tree. Coralstar is ripening right now and I've been very pleased with the flavor of this peach. Autumnstar (a later peach) is also very good.

Dave Wilson has done a lot of taste testing. Of the top picks I've not been disappointed in any I've grown (except for one because of growing difficulty, not flavor). I've tried Harken, and O'Henry which (at one time) were near the top of the list and both peaches are very good. Harken tastes similar to Redhaven (which is a very good peach in my opinion as grown here). Harken does have a lot of fuzz. O'Henry ripens the same time as Autumnstar, but has slightly better flavor. Two days ago I budded five O'Henry peaches and will try to bud a few more tomorrow. Indian Free has a unique flavor that was a pleasant surprise, but the tree got terrible bac. spot. The fruit wanted to rot and it cracked badly. Plus it ripens too late for me to try to sell. I think in a drier climate it would be a "must have" in the backyard for the peach connoisseur.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2012 at 10:45PM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

Yeah those look like good peaches! And The plums do look like Santa Rosa as well:-) Nothing wrong with big box stores, 7 of my 8 trees came from big box stores and are kicking butt. You just have to know what your looking for. Good Job!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2012 at 12:27AM
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skyjs(z8 OR, USA)

I am growing peach trees from seedlings. Here in wet Spring NW OR, we get peach diseases something awful. Peaches, nectarines, apricots suffer. I don't want to spend $30 on a tree that will die and at best lives 15 years. If I get one for free out of the compost, I'll experiment with it. Compost tea goes a long way toward killing peach diseases. I have two ripening on my tree right now. I can't wait. 2-3 other peach trees waiting. I think I'll have to guerrilla garden them.
John S

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 1:06AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Glenn, your peaches look fabulous, did well!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 1:10AM
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alan haigh

blazerguy, just having success with a few trees at a big box, isn't grounds for too much endorsement, IMO. I can't speak from experience on fruit trees (always buy from specialty nurseries mail order) although the common wisdom is that tree ID is not reliable at big boxes and root identification non-existent- so knowing what you are looking for and getting what you are looking for are not the same things if your source is not reliable.

I have bought vegetable starts at a BB's and been surprised by mislabeling enough times that I now avoid it. They also tend to sell biennial seeding vegetables like parsley that bolt before they even grow out.
When I plant a fruit tree (or vegetable) from seed, I expect a surprise, not when I'm buying something specific.

On the subject of seedling fruit trees, I should think it would be nice to select trees from your own creations as I enjoy using my heirloom pepper and tomato seeds partially because some variation is exciting.

I would love to have some really high quality peaches that ripen still looking green- or any stone fruit. It would draw less attention from the birds. Oullins plum is like that and my native marauders still haven't figured out paw paws until they drop to the ground.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 6:35AM
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Noogy(6 sw mi)

Skyjs- Do you spray the compost tea on the leaves?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 8:39AM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

"I would love to have some really high quality peaches that ripen still looking green- or any stone fruit."

Hman, I don't know if you've seen pictures of the new TangOs II which has a completely green skin when ripe. Unfortunately it's a white-fleshed peach, but it's supposed to have a unique flavor.

As I recall, you're in the process of growing some true Green Gage plums after growing mislabeled Green Gage plums in the past. My Green Gage fruited for the first time this year (about 10#s). The fruit were excellent. It's been so dry that there was no cracking or rot, which may be problems in a normal year. Obviously no bird problems on the fruit.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 9:42AM
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alan haigh

Olpea, yes, I noted that about Tango 2 and look forward to seeing how it works. Hard for me to imagine that a green peach will be very marketable and I imagine the lack-luster color of Tango I is not too helpful either. The name of Tango seems to be ignored by distributors- not real catchy and the pun as weak as they come (tangy, tango- get it? It tastes tangy and is shaped like an O!). However its' high sugar and unique texture appears to be overcoming these liabilities- saw some in a high end market the other day.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 10:11AM
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I think we can all agree that there is a better chance of getting something good from a seedling peach than from many other fruit, and Glenn has obviously proved that... Great job!

The other thing is that it all boils down to how well the plant does in a given climate, not just the quality of the fruit. If Reliance did really well for me in a cold climate, and the best tasting peach on earth barely struggled along and rarely set fruit, I would plant more Reliance.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 10:24AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Hi Olpea, I am happy to see above that you are liking Carolina Gold. I am harvesting that variety again after several years hiatus when my previous tree died. The particular breeding program that produced CG seemed to have more focus on flavor, as well as disease resistance, and I find many of their selections are great backyard fruits. Winblo and Clayton are the other two from that program that I am a huge fan of.

Harvestman, Heath Cling is a very late peach which gets just a touch of yellow at the end. I never had bird problems on it. It is more a cooking/drying peach than an eating peach. I have had a couple seedling peaches that were totally green when ripe. Too bad they were small fuzzballs of mush. There are also varieties of white peach that don't get any blush on them.

Right now I am harvesting Oldmixon Free white peaches. I don't know how this American classic ever died out, its one extraordinary fruit. Not only is the taste fantastic, it is incredibly productive and the fruits are beautiful and gigantic. If its name was something more marketable they would be flying off the shelves.


    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 11:10AM
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alan haigh

Scott, I ordered the Heath Cling, I believe that's the one, when you recommended it as a good late peach for cooking. I should get a few fruit next year if this years nightmare season doesn't have a sequel.

I used to have what Southmeadow sold as King George which was a green peach without blush but its' excessive fur and lack of peach aroma didn't do it for me. Like Olpea, I'm not generally a fan of whites.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 12:37PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)


Yeah Carolina Gold is a winner for me in the taste category. I was just saying tonight that I'm considering grafting some copies of this tree.

I ordered some Winblo's from Adams for next spring. Dr. Layne at Clemson is sure a big fan of them. If you get a minute, check out his video about Winblo below. He is so goofy (in a fun kind of way).

I still haven't given up on Clayton either. As you know all my last grafts failed (very poor weather conditions) but I had some left over wood from the last grafting and tried again about a week ago. All the buds were pushing growth so I doubt it will work, but I thought I'd give it a try.

Hman, I agree the green skin of TangOs 2 is a liability for selling. I'm not so sure about the orange skin of TangOs 1. I suppose it depends how adventurous the customers are. Although I haven't sold a lot of them yet, I think the firmness may be a bigger liability. When you tell people this is a naturally "firmer" peach, they sort of take that as a negative.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dr. Desmond Layne on Winblo

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 12:30AM
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alan haigh

Olpea, I think if you cut up some samples people will buy the Tango 2's as I've found people who taste them tend to love them. They are relatively dull orange (no red blush, anyway) on the outside, but have deep orange flesh. I bet that flesh is high carotene for a peach.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 6:05AM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

"They are relatively dull orange (no red blush, anyway) on the outside, but have deep orange flesh."

Yeah I'm not very good with colors. Now that you mention it, it's the flesh that is more orange and the skin that's more yellow. Whatever the color, I just know it's very unusual.

TangOs 2 liability is that it doesn't look ripe, when ripe.

That's a good point about giving out the samples. The few people that did get some TangOs 1 this summer wanted more.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 9:05AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Olpea, I can send you some more Clayton wood. The weather is cooler now so USPS first-class should work fine. Just let me know.

This year the squirrels got every single Clayton, and my Winblo is suffering from borers. It still managed to produce some delicious fruits.


    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 9:46AM
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alan haigh

Scott, does it seem as though some squirrels are avoiding your traps?

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 3:12PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

This year there was a squirrel epidemic from the mild winter and I caught on too late - I didn't start trapping early enough and I didn't re-bait the traps often enough. So I had bad losses on early stuff. The later fruits have been OK. Next spring I am going to put traps right where the squirrels are feeding, this year I have had them fixed to trees. I have found that the squirrels will eventually check out the trap if it is on their path, provided you leave them enough mast to temp them in. If its not on their path and there is good eating elsewhere they may take quite awhile to visit. Thus the advantage of the mobile trap. The birds are also on to to eating the mast and so it needs to be refreshed more frequently.

The whole squirrel/deer thing has been very frustrating this year, at any point one or the other has been a big problem. Now its the deer. I protected the new grafts long enough so I didn't lose any, but they are now taking lots of low-hanging fruit and knocking off the loose stuff. I am planning on removing low branches this winter to get more fruit out of their reach.


    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 7:52PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

Scott, that would be great if I could get some more wood. I don't think I need much. I really don't expect the latest grafts to take because the scion wood was already budding out. I just grafted it because I had nothing to loose.

Right now the temps are in the 90s here for the high. The wood might stand a better chance traveling USPS if you could wait a week or so before sending it. I've had my best luck grafting around the first part of Sept. anyway

I know you're very busy and I appreciate you taking the time to do this. Many thanks.

Most people don't know this because he doesn't toot his own horn, but Scott is a full professor at a prestigious university. Folks on this forum have benefited hugely from his analytically trained mind. Plus he's just a really nice guy.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 9:03PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Sure Olpea, I'll send you some wood next week. This is the low time of year for work, most people are on vacation. However, in a few weeks things will be super busy and I will be wishing there was an extra couple hours each day :-)

Thanks for the nice words about me. I don't like tooting my horn a whole lot because I've seen too many idiotic horn tooters, plus lots of great analytical thinkers who have little in the way of academic credentials.


    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 9:58AM
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glenn_10 zone 4b/5a NewBrunswick,Can.

I have not been on this forum for very long but I can say from all the discussions I have had the pleasure to read , is that everyone on here is awesome!Most of us have busy schedules and familys and it it sometimes hard to find that work/life/time balance.When someone takes the time out of their day to give advice and experiences which helps enrich others lives says a lot to me.Heres a toot to everyone who have given great info making our growing experiences easier and making this such an inviting and friendly forum to be part of,PROPS to everyone!
And I know how much everyone likes photos so here is another pic of the same peach I took tonight....I still can't get over how fast these things pump up after sitting for months doing nothing.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 9:31PM
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glenn_10 zone 4b/5a NewBrunswick,Can.

Here is the final pick of the ripe peach taken on Tuesday sept.4. It is by far the best tasting and textured peach out of all the trees that bore fruit for me.These peaches were very sweet with a little apricot undertone, the texture was very meaty like a plum.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 7:06PM
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glenn_10 zone 4b/5a NewBrunswick,Can.

here is a cross section....It was very juicy!It appears to be a cling but the texture was so meaty that it easily ripped away from the pit.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 7:10PM
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I agree that it's certainly fun to try out seedlings... Especially if you have some space...

The one thing I think is that it's cheap.... and you can quickly see which ones just won't stand the climate, disease pressure, etc...

My guess is that seedlings from high quality Eating peaches at least have that going for them - they have SOME genes that came from high quality eating peaches.... You don't really get that assurance when you find a miscellaneous peach in an old vacant lot - It could just be rootstock....

Statistics wise...
I have found 2 moderately "Successful" seedling peaches "Feral" in the wild on roadsides and in old vacant lots.... This is probably after looking at 50-100 of these trees and tasting fruit...

Unfortunately, I see MANY that are rot and bug magnets... and at least as many that would at first glance appear "Successful" - till you taste them and they are bitter and stone hard till October...

But... It won't stop me from trying them out... just on the off chance that I will happen upon that 1 good one...


    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 1:33PM
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