Annual peach report

Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)September 22, 2012

Here is my somewhat-annual peach report. I have been growing unusual peaches for about ten years now, looking for the best-tasting and easiest care backyard varieties.

--Snow Queen - all split in rain. No other nectarine split so remove this one. Another California peach bites the dust.

+Mericrest - fruits again runting very badly. Also lost nearly all due to OFM/CM in them. Since I lost so many the fruit did size up more than last year. Taste is awesome, the essence of peach. Hard to take this one out even though it has so many problems. Keep this as my only nectarine.

(++)Gold Dust - Squirrels got all of these. They know good peaches.

-Flat Wonderful - Got a reasonable sample. All had a good flavor, but too watery. Some of that slight savory/anise flavor like Rareripe. Overall not in the league to TangOs, but need to give it a few more years.

++TangOs - Very tasty and very good looking. They are less rubbery this year. Too much curc/ofm damage however, and some rot problems.

(+++)Clayton - all taken by tree devils, sigh.

++Zin Dai Jiu Bao - beautiful large cling peach with elegant aromatic subacid flavor. I think thesew peaches are designed to be picked unripe and then ripen on the counter, the one I ate on the first day was hard and bland and the one I ate three days later was a fine peach. Its not as flavorful as the best white peaches, but has a vey nice well-rounded flavor to make up for it. Definite keeper.

++Winblo - this tree is suffering from borers, fruits are small this year. Still excellent tasting, a go-to variety for ease of growing and taste.

+Ernies Choice - producing huge tasty fruits this year, not top league but still good. Large and beautiful and not very blemished. Flavor seems up a notch from past years and no mealinessthus far, unlike past years.

+++Carman - I have been eating them too early, trying to beat squirrels. Still the greatness is shining through. Later fully ripened ones were excellent, its the great peach I remember. May be more sour than most people want. This is my favorite mid-season white peach.

Lola Queen - squirrels got all, its too close to their entry point into orchard. No big reason to grow this peach, Carman is a notch better and ripens at the same time.

---Violette Hative - tree not doing well due to many borers. Fruits have too much orange peel flavor, like they always do. I should cook these up and see how they do, maybe its a marmalade-peach kind of thing? A squirrel cleared this tree out one day when I was not looking so looks like no marmelade this year.

--Lola nectarine - plenty of splitting and rot here. Remove this since its a problem fruit.

+++Foster - These I was a little late to but they are very good. It is a very sweet peach, much more than others. Fruitnut, this one is calling your name. Also it is more sour than modern peaches. Rot susceptible.

St. John - all rotted as usual. Not sure what to do, maybe its time to give up on this one. It is one of my favorites for taste but they have all rotted for the last several years.

+++Sanguine Pilat - An outstanding red-fleshed variety with very large fruits and as good a flavor as any red-fleshed variety. No rot on this one, particularly good news for a red-fleshed peach.

+++Early Crawford - They are super small this year, rootstock has borers. Some are tasting the usual extraordinary citrus-sweet, but some are mealy. Maybe it was too hot for them this year.

--Le Grand - major rotfest. Remove.

--Longevity - all rotted. Pallas right next to it got relatively little rot so I think this guy must be highly susceptible. Up for removal.

--Lord Napier - all rotted. Also was not sizing up at all. Time to remove it.

++Pallas - I thinned these guys better and they are tasting very good this year. All the honey-type peaches overset to the extreme and need severe thinning to get good fruits.

++Athena - same as Pallas, definitely moving into the keeper category. One ripe fell on the ground and heated up in the sun and tasted truly extraordinary.

JM Mack - All-white unusual-looking peach with standard flavor. Not tasty enough to keep around.

JH Hale - Perfectly decent yellow peach but no home run. Remove it.

+Lady Nancy - Beautiful-looking large fruit not rotting. Unfortunately I didn't get to taste, I think the kids grabbed it.

--Floral Pakistani - super small but has good flavor, lots of that orange rind flavor like the Violette Hative. Still seems no reason to keep, too small and mooshy.

-Peento and Chinese Flat- didn't get any, few fruits and squirlz got em (both trees). Both are not attractive, large scars. These are somewhat less prone to rot and later than Saturn, but the large scars are problematic.

Baby Crawford - all stolen, did have fruits. Tree not very healthy.

+Carolina Gold - this tree is getting good production this year finally, it is a very solid peach. Heavy on the orange in the flavor, a solid peach a small notch down from the other NC peaches. Having some small rot problems but its a rough year for rot.

+++Rio Oso Gem - tree has had bad borer problems. Fruit is excellent, highly flavored and right near the very best.

--Sanguine Tardeva - tree not well so very small fruit this year. Still the usual excellent cranberry taste. This guy probably is destined for the chopping block since Sanguine Pilat is so much bigger and no mealiness.

Eagle Beak - this tree is very weak from borers. The fruits are very prone to splitting -- nearly all of them split this year. Still, this peach is very unusual and good-tasting so I should keep it.

+Xiong Yue - Orange dense-fleshed late peach. Freestone which is unusual for Chinese peaches. Has the creamy Crawford-school flavor but milder. Note that this is based on far too early picked fruits, they were getting knocked off. Surely will be better if left to tree ripen. Definitely worth saving but having some splitting problems.

+++Oldmixon Free - incredible as usual. This is the standard for a late white-fleshed peach. Very reliable as well. I am not completely sure if the modern version is the same as the historical one, it seems larger and more productive than the writings about the original. Whatever it is, its a great peach.

++O'Henry - Very good taste as usual, lots of spotting as usual. Worth keeping.

++Late Crawford - some of these were truly excellent, I now see the reason for the praise for this guy. Not sure why they were not as good before now.

++Indian Cling - squirrels cleared nearly all these. It also had a low crop due to severe pruning I did in spring. Ones I got were yummy, heavy cranberry flavor. Not sure what these are best for, they are too hard for jam. Makes sense that they were traditionally a pickling peach and that may be worth trying with them some year. I expect they may also dry well.

-Heath Cling - getting lots of rot on this one unfortunately. Wanted to try drying them but there may not be enough fruits to bother trying. It is clearly meant as a drying peach, either that or cooking. Need to figure out how to reduce rot on these guys. Rainy late summer has made things particularly challenging this year.

++Indian Free - lot of damage on these; still tasting great as usual.

--Pei Xian Dong Tao - Very late, I doubt I will be able to ripen them even in this early season. Splitting and small siz on top of that says remove.


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It seems like your Kania traps aren't working?

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 10:20AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)


Excellent report as always, I can' wait until my Clayton and Indian free produce. I will net them up so the squirrels don't the the chance to get them.


    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 10:46AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

The squirrel pressure this year was horrible due to the very mild winter and I started trapping too late. I did catch a large number, at least 50.

Next year I am going to switch to movable traps on poles, to get the traps more in proximity of the problem.


    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 11:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Just want to say thank you very much for your wonderfully informative report. I always look forward to reading it.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 12:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
olpea(zone 6 KS)


Thanks for your peach report again this year. Insightful as usual.

With the drought in my area this year, there wasn't any rot. As a general rule peach quality was very good. Following are some highlights on 30+ varieties of peaches.

Early season peaches were better than usual. They were all very good except for PF1 which was pretty variable on quality. Just this spring, I planted 10 more trees of PF1 at the farm and am considering removing these even before they fruit. This is particularly disappointing to me, as I've recommended this peach as a good early season low care peach before. Rich May ripens in the same window, so it will be interesting to see if it's more consistent on flavor.

For a mid-season peach I continue to like Redhaven and Blazingstar. I know you and Hman don't like Redhaven as grown out east, but here it consistently produces high quality peaches. Blazingstar was very small as usual this year, but it continues to be one of the peach varieties I get the most positive feedback about (which agrees with my palate).

For a late peach, O'Henry was the best. I wanted to make some copies of this tree and I think I have about 10 bud grafts that "took".

Carolina Gold had the best flavor during it's harvest window. It continues to produce very small peaches, but the flavor makes it worth it.

Lady Nancy fruited the first time this year. To me, it tasted just like a yellow peach (but a very good yellow peach). The small thin yellow stripe in the flesh (characteristic of Lady Nancy) was interesting. I gave one to one of my customers and he loved it.

Excluding Lady Nancy (because it has a yellow peach flavor) Blushingstar was my favorite white peach for a white peach flavor.

In terms of Crawford type peaches. I have Baby Crawford I expect to fruit next year. I lost my last Early Crawford, but have another one ordered from Arboreum for next spring. I probably grafted 10-15 Clayton peaches from the last wood you sent me.

The fruit of Gold Dust was a bit of a disappointment to me, but I'm still questioning whether that tree was sent to me mislabeled.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 12:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alan haigh

I'm not down on all Redhavens, just the one I have on my property that grows gorgeous huge beautiful nearly sugarless peaches. It used to produce very good ones although not as good as the slightly later ripening Johnboy on my site. I've had plenty of wonderful Redhavens at other sites which is why I suspect that twenty years of woodchips and stable waste has just created too good a soil for the tree. It is exceptionally vigorous and receives only rain water.

Redhaven is an excellent home orchard peach in general- partly because of its exceptionally long harvest.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 12:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

It could be Redhaven flavor is more soil or climate dependent. I have not grown it myself and only know it from all the local orchards growing it.

Carolina Gold has also been small for me. I don't know if you tried Rio Oso Gem, it is in a similar harvest period and is much larger (as well as a touch better in flavor). It is prone to bacterial spot.


    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 8:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Scott and Olpea,

Would you please comment more on O'Henry regarding disease resistance and other problem it may have? I'd be quite interested if it tastes good and does not have a lot of problems.

Olpea - what do you think about Autumn Star? I just planted it this year.

Thank you.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 9:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
theaceofspades(7 Long Island)

Yes harvest, Redhaven is the best peach producer in my orchard. This season got my first Redhavens on the 21st of July. My two trees had most tree soft peaches the first week of August. Redhaven sets a incredible amount and that is key. I don't thin off all the small. The golfball size peaches turn into full sized peaches ripening into the third week of August. Redhaven gets large and has the real peachy flavor.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 6:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
franktank232(z5 WI)

Sounds like I may need to add Redhaven, O'henry and maybe a few others. Great report. I have "Blushingstar", but no fruit this year...hopefully next year.

Sounds like a big squirrel problem. I also have a huge rat problem here, but its because my neighbor has a good sized black walnut full of nuts and they like to bury them in my yard. I'm tempted to bait them in one area and use my sniper skills to do away with them.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 9:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the critique guys. Scott with your trapping success maybe you could give a critique on your best squirrel recipes.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 11:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Scott - what would you recommend as the most disease resistant peach?

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 12:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

My favorite disease-resistant peaches are the NC ones, Winblo, Clayton, and Carolina Gold. It was one of the few breeding programs primarily focusing on disease and taste.


    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 8:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
olpea(zone 6 KS)


O'Henry has been a fairly disease resistant peach for me. It is a bit more prone to bac. spot, which is a small criticism of commercial growers, but not enough to keep them from planting it. I don't see much bac. spot on O'Henry, but I've usually sprayed Ziram early in the season. While Ziram is primarily used for scab, which is what I use it for, it also has minor efficacy against bac. spot.

It's a bit difficult for me to comment on varietal disease resistance because I pretty much spray all my peach trees the same, the exception being some trees very prone to bac. spot have been sprayed with Flameout.

My biggest disease problem is rot. With heavy rains, some varieties are more prone to it even with sprays. Most of the time it's very superficial skin rot, but it's enough that I can't sell them.

Autumnstar ripens at the same time as O'Henry. It's a bigger peach than O'Henry and the flavor is almost as good, but not quite. I did have a little bit of rot on Autumnstar this year. O'Henry doesn't rot at all.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 8:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alan haigh

One thing I think is important to know about peaches is that soil type and water table have a lot to do with the quality- probably as much as cultivar.

I manage one orchard where certain spots produce bland peaches on all but driest years. There, highly flavored, high brix varieties are essential and nectarines have been consistently better than peaches- really great. Plums are wonderful. The soil is a clay loam which is superior for growing vegetables but a tad rich and wet for fruit, given that we get rain throughout the growing season.

Also, although my own land has great drainage and an almost hydrophobic silt, the quality of my peaches has gone down over time. I am trying to figure out for sure if it is years of soil enrichment that is to blame.

The peaches should be improving as I open up the land to more sun every year as I cut down surrounding trees but something else is in play here. The only thing that I know has changed is the creation of a thick black layer of humus under all my older trees after up to 22 years of annual mulching. There is also a chance that excessive summer pruning is involved but I've been pretty careful about that recently.

Home growers in the east (I'm in southeastern NY) that don't mind using synthetic fungicides should consider nectarines if they like more intensely flavored fruit. Scot's recs are slanted towards rot resistance but a couple extra fungicide sprays may be worth is for many growers. Newer varieties seem less prone to cracking than some of the great oldies like Mericrest.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 9:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Scott, Thanks for the excellent report. very usfull information indeed. I never had red fleshed peaches before and would like to graft one on my tree. Where can I get some Sanguine Pilat scion?

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 9:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've picked up the impression that peaches are less disease-prone than nectarines.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 9:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bart1(6/7 Northern VA)

Thanks for the great report Scott!

I'm eating the last of my Indian Free peaches today at lunch. Is the skin on the Indian Free a little tougher than other peaches for you? Mine seem a little fuzzier, a little thicker and sometimes have an almost tannin-like taste to them. This is my first year of actually tasting a peach from this tree so maybe the skins will get thinner over time?

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 12:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)


Any ideas on where I could find Clayton? I found Carolina Gold and Winblo at Vaughn Nursery this spring, but haven't seen Clayton anywhere.

Also, how do those 3 compare in disease resistance to some of the older varieties, in particular Gold Dust and Old Mixon Free?

In their first year both Carolina Gold (in-ground) and Winblo (container) did pretty well. All my in-ground (PF1 and Tango being the others) had almost pristine leaves with no sprays.
The 3 in containers (Winblo, Harrow Diamond and White Lady) all had more troubles, probably due to stress from not enough watering (weekly wasn't enough...). Winblo did the best, keeping it's leaves, even though they are a bit raggedy. Harrow Diamond lost most of its leaves and the rest are not in good shape. White Lady lost it's leaves, but grew another set, which now look pretty good.

Thanks for the great info. I hope to be able to reciprocate in a few years, at least on the apples front.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 12:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
olpea(zone 6 KS)

"Mine (Indian Free) seem a little fuzzier, a little thicker and sometimes have an almost tannin-like taste to them."

I remember them the same way. The peaches had a very different flavor that was nice. I would almost compare the tannin to a dry wine, but sweeter than a dry wine. Mine were also very fuzzy.


Clayton is not sold commercially. I've looked for this tree for the last couple years and have never been able to find it. If I ever get any trees from these last Clayton grafts, I'll be happy to share the wood. I think Scott was the one who originally rediscovered this peach and has been recommending it for years. Just about all of Scott's descriptions have been spot on for the one's I've tried, the exception being Gold Dust (which I'm not sure I've got) and Redhaven which I like.

I trial more peaches that have been recommended by folks with a lot of experience in different cultivars, so I've also put in several peaches that Hman has recommended and not been disappointed. Lady Nancy is a very good tasting peach so I ordered more from Adams. John Boy (I believe that was Hman's recommendation for a mid-season peach) was not quite as good as Blazingstar which ripens at the same time, but it was still very good and much larger. Definitely a keeper. This was the first time John Boy put out a decent amount of fruit, so I don't have much experience with it. Tangos is another one that I'm very pleased with so far.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 3:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Have you ever tried Harvester? It's always been
a good peach for me.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 5:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Sanguine Pilat and Clayton are not available commercially so you need to find a scion source and graft it. I have Clayton and will eventually have Sanguine Pilat assuming my graft takes off.

Re: rot and sprays, the more heat and humidity you have the worse rot is and we have huge amounts of both. So the importance of rot resistance depends a lot on your location. I did a few MFF sprays this summer and it helped some, but I didn't do enough sprays. The rare commercial grower of nectarines around here must be doing biweekly cover sprays all summer.


    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 5:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you, Olpea.

If O'Henry and Autumnstar ripe about the same time, I'd have to keep what I have already had.

What Scott said about how to acquire Clayton is one more motivation for me to learn how to graft!!!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 5:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alan haigh

Scott, yeah, I can only speak about conditions in NY, but what about the earlier nectarines like Easternglo or even something earlier? If it ripens early I don't see how it would suffer more from humidity there than something like Redgold here.

Also if you haven't tried bi-weekly applications of Indar how do you know how it would work there? I've gotten nectarines on seasons with almost constant warm rain with that intervention.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 9:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Hman, I do think biweekly applications would work fine, and I expect that is how the few local nectarines I see are grown. The earlier nectarines would stand a better chance, but there are also the problems of heavy bug pressure and cracking -- it doesn't add up.

Ray, I have not grown any of the far south peaches. There are also many other lines of peaches I have not grown, such as the Paul Friday series, etc. If someone has grown some of the ones I like above and has another peach they think tastes as good or better, I would give that guy a spin.


    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 8:35AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)

Scott, how do Gold Dust and Old Mixon Free compare to the NC releases from a disease perspective? I see both for sale from Tierra Madre this year.

Thanks Scott & Olpea- hopefully in a few years I'll feel competent to graft peaches. I'm just starting with apples and pears, so it will be a while before I graduate to stonefruit.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 9:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I have had some bacterial spot on Gold Dust but its not a magnet. Oldmixon has been an easy tree with few problems. Neither are high on the rot list.


    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 12:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)

Thanks Scott! It looks like I need to find a way to fit them in.


    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 3:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)

Scott/Olpea, have you ever tried the peaches from the University of Arkansas program? White County (low acid) and White River (normal acid) seem pretty promising from this study.

Both are resistant to bacterial spot. White County is also pretty resistant to peach scab (8%,0%, and 0% impact in 3 years). It also describes it (and White Rock, an early cling) as getting 'occasional brown rot', but not in most years.

It doesn't detail out White River's susceptibility, but it does say that WR has an overall health rating of 9.7 vs WC's 8.7 (10 point scale). It list the brix for both at over 13 (higher than Redhaven's 12.3).

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 2:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I haven't trialed that one. Nearly all of the modern white peaches I have found lacking in flavor compared to the best whites out there. The only really good tasting modern one I found was Yukon King but it gets horrible brown rot. Carolina Belle, Summer Pearl, etc were supposed to be good but were not all that great. So, I am reluctant to try it myself. Give it a go and let us know what you think! To compare, some truly great white peaches include Yukon King, Oldmixon Free, Silver Logan, and Carman.


    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 2:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Great report Scott. My lowly 'Elberta' was fabulous this year. I was so surprised as to how easy the skin was to peel off of the peach. I planted a 'Belle of Georgia' this spring but I have a bit of a wait to taste the fruit. Its a true dwarf. Your list makes me yearn for more room and time! Mrs. G

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 7:23PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Lime Sulphur spray--I feel like I was just robbed by Hi-yield
I have no idea why Hi-yield (or maybe it's the sellers)...
conflicting pawpaw spacing info
Last week I planted several dozen paw paw. I had read...
Bushwhacker Blood
Best tasting pawpaw varieties
I would love to hear from others who have tasted different...
Goji Berries, where to buy seeds?
Hey, so this is my second year gardening, last year...
Hello F&O people, I wonder if you could help me...
Sponsored Products
Missoni Home | Onley Outdoor PW Foglia Pouf
Peach Bamboo Trellis Giclee Glow 14" Wide Ceiling Light
Lamps Plus
Toto LT524#51 Alexis Vessel Sink - Ebony - LT524#51
$386.32 | Hayneedle
Rustic Natural Cedar Furniture Old Country Rectangular Coffee Table - 90A
$161.60 | Hayneedle
Copper Rooster Garden Pole Weather Vane
$99.99 | zulily
Multiplayer Tetris Magnet Set
$14.99 | zulily
Roux Wood Floor Lamp with Nacarat Drape Shade
Lamps Plus
Toto LT511.8#51 Supreme Self-Rimming 8 in. Centers Sink - Ebony - LT511.8#51
$119.93 | Hayneedle
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™