Is blushingstar peaches anycount are these peaches very sweet?and easy to care for
Blushing Star, in my opinion, is a moderately good white peach whose main virtue is that the fruit holds on the tree a long time and can be picked while still pretty hard when it will soften off the tree while fruit left their stays hard. I've hear others praise in more highly so it may get better quality elsewhere (aint that always the case).
I don't know if it is less susceptible to brown rot than other white peaches in its season.
I planted six Blushingstar peaches this spring in central Minnesota. They were rated zone 4. Any experience with hardiness issues with them?
Who rated them Z4? I wouldn't expect any peach to long survive where winters routinely have temps below -25. Never heard of Blusingstar even being one of the most hardy varieties- could have missed it though.
Unless I was planning to sell them, I'd never plant more than one variety of peach on a site. Better to plant several varieties and extend your harvest period, otherwise.
I've been growing Blushingstar in southeastern corner of MN (Rochester, zone 4) for about 15 years now. Never had a problem with it. Lost Reliance and Contender in the past years, Blushingstar is still going strong. Very sweet and juicy, love the taste! My tree is planted on the north side of the house - the tree is in full shade from the house till probably mid April-beginning of May. I've read on this forum years ago that the main fruit tree killer is the warm February sun - the trees under direct sunlight come out of dormancy too early and get killed by nighttime below freezing temps. If you can keep it dormant past hard freezes, you can really push that zone border. I'll have to agree with that.
Here is a link that might be useful: this year's peaches
Sorry, the link didn't post the first time.
Here's the thread I was talking about. Helped me quite a bit. http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/fruit/msg0815360614580.html
Oops, 6 years, not 15 (long day at work!). Which, in peach years is still pretty good I think, especially if you take into consideration the really wicked weather we had last year with temps in the 50s in January and then drops to 30 below 0 a few weeks later. Had no apples that year, but had peaches!
GD, I find it difficult to believe that it fell to -30 where any peach tree survived- perhaps the spot is sheltered from the lowest temps. Either that or my memory of the literature or the literature itself is in error (not for the first time on either count).
Cold hardy peaches don't survive colder weather, as I understand it- their flower buds do.
I was very inspired with the information on that link and I've been trying to find it for quite a while. I've quote this a lot:
"Don't plant a peach tree thinking that at some time in the distant future, grandchildren at your side, you will be able to look back and fondly recall this day. Plant peaches like you do tomatoes expecting their demise and planning for their replacement."
Who is the actual author of this article? Anyone know?
That is an excellent article. Lots of useful info
"Who is the actual author of this article? Anyone know?"
The author is Dave Griffin. He used to post on the Nafex listserv. He has posted here before, but it's been a few years.
Olpea, what do you think of the idea of peaches surviving -30?
Not only surviving but fruiting?
you have a valid point - I definitely can't say that at that spot the temperatures dropped to exactly -30F. Microclimate is a tricky thing. All I can say is that I live in Minnesota, zone 4 and for the last couple of years we've been enjoying delicious fruit from my Blushingstar peach tree. Three or four years ago I had no blooms on it, though the tree survived the winter with no dieback. Could be that it was young, could be that the temps dipped lower than usual. I'm just observing and reporting here. Besides, if it worked for me - who knows - maybe it will work for FoothillsOrchards - we don't know his microclimate either and I don't like it when people just say "it won't work". I prefer a "try and see what happens" kind of attitude.
"Olpea, what do you think of the idea of peaches surviving -30? Not only surviving but fruiting?"
I think it's fair to say it's very unusual. I read too many accounts where peaches were iced at -20F. C&O nursery lost all their peach trees a couple years ago and (as I recall) it never got below -15 for them.
That said, there are accounts where peach trees have survived and perhaps even fruited in extreme temps.
The most widespread accounts I know of come from the book "The Kansas Peach" (linked below). Written in late 1899, it contains quite a few "interviews" from growers who made it through the winter of 1898-1899.
That's significant because that was the second coldest winter on record for Kansas. Temperatures were easily in the -20 to -30 range, with some areas below -30.
Some growers lost all their trees that winter, but many had trees which survived.
For example, Topeka KS reached a low of -25F that Feb. The book says, A. C. Moore of Wanamaker, KS (a suburb of Topeka) "The Coaster stood the extreme cold of February, 1899, the best, while all others were hurt badly."
Abilene reached -29F that year. The book reported grower Geo. R. Barnes of Chapman, KS (Chapman is 15 miles east of Abilene) "He has only a few trees now of bearing size.", which would indicate some of his trees made it through the winter.
Frankfort KS, reached -35F. The book reports grower Stephen Stout of Axtell, KS (Axtell is 12 miles NE of Frankfort) "The cold of the past winter did not hurt his peach trees very much. The Elberta and Champion appear to have escaped injury."
Manhattan, KS (what we call "The Little Apple") reached -28. From the book, grower Gust Hansen of Olsburg, KS (Olsburg is north of Manhattan and would have been colder) reports, "his trees were not injured by cold of February, 1899"
The book also contains many accounts where whole peach orchards were lost that winter. The accounts in the book vary from no loss, some loss, to total loss.
I think Grow is fortunate his tree has lasted this long repeatedly subjected to harsh winters. Perhaps the tree is in a favorable spot or maybe Blushingstar is a bit more hardy. I hope the tree continues to survive. Quite amazing.
Here is a link that might be useful: The Kansas Peach
The problem with those reports is that it relies on the farmers readings or readings in nearby areas. I'm 5 miles from Carmel, the town where I receive my forecast and reading info from on-line, but my temps are consistently about 3 degrees cooler. Farmers back then were relying on thermometers manufactured in that time. How accurate were they and how accurate were the readings themselves? You think a farmer might exaggerate the hardship he survived?
Of course I'm glad when a fruit grower beats the odds, but it is more useful if we know how they did it- was it the variety of peach or just a fortunate micro climate or some other factor?
GD, given your unlikely success, maybe you should get a thermometer in your orchard by that tree to see what it is really surviving. Perhaps you've learned something about that variety that is unknown by the breeders.
"The problem with those reports is that it relies on the farmers readings or readings in nearby areas. I'm 5 miles from Carmel, the town where I receive my forecast and reading info from on-line, but my temps are consistently about 3 degrees cooler. Farmers back then were relying on thermometers manufactured in that time. How accurate were they and how accurate were the readings themselves? You think a farmer might exaggerate the hardship he survived?"
The temperature readings I posted were based on National Weather Service records. 1899 was an unusual year in that it holds many of the coldest records for Kansas.
It's true farmers were the ones recording the info, but they had the best equipment (supplied by the NWS) of the day. When I was a kid, I knew a farmer who recorded for the NWS. The equipment wasn't digital, but it looked fairly sophisticated for mechanical equipment.
If it was just one or two recordings, an argument could be made there were reading errors, or equipment failures. However the cold of that winter was so widespread, I think the figures are reliable. I once saw a map of Kansas which had a bunch of low temps for that winter. It looked like a general pattern of cold. The farther east and south you went, the warmer it was (Wichita (southern part of the state) only got down to -22.) but the central and northern parts of the state were blanketed in extreme cold.
There are so many "interviews" in the book where the farmers peach trees apparently survived, I doubt they would be making that up. The interviews start in about the middle of the book.
There was also a blizzard at the time, which could account for the variation in survival from one farm to the next (i.e. some sites were well blanketed, some perhaps not so well).
Below is an interesting, and sad, write-up of that winter.
There are more modern accounts of peach trees surviving extreme cold. Dave Griffin's article seems to indicate some of his peach trees survived -29. I once had an email from Dennis Norton (Royal Oak Orchard) in northern IL who said some of his peach trees fruited after a winter in the mid 20s below zero. I've since thrown away the email, and he's since pulled out all his peaches and buys peaches from somewhere else (too hard to grow peaches in that cold).
Here is a link that might be useful: February 1899 Winter
The National Weather Service supplied farmers with weather equipment in the 19th century? I know you are a very reliable source of information, Olpea, but please provide me with the source of that information. Maybe that source is not so reliable as you and it's seems so unlikely I'd love to get some further verification. Not that I have any knowledge of past policies of the NWS.
Here is a description of the equipment used in cooperative weather stations in the late 19th century from the "Report of the Chief of the Weather Bureau" published in 1900. (Linked at the bottom. See page 74)
"For a detailed account of the methods of reduction, etc., the reader is referred to the article on that subject, page 37, Report of the Chief of the Weather Bureau, 1891-92.
"Pressure. The barometer used at Weather Bureau stations for personal observations is the ordinary portable mercurial open cistern. Each instrument is compared with the substandard at Washington before being issued, and a certificate is given showing both the corrections to the attached thermometer and the so-called correction for instrumental error....
"Temperature. The temperature of the air at 8 a. m. and 8 p. m., seventy-fifth meridian time, is obtained by the use of the whirled dry-bulb thermometer. The latter is a part of the whirled Psychrometer and is mounted in the wooden-roof thermometer shelter adopted in 1885. The means of these observations are given in the columns headed 8 a. m. and 8 p. m., respectively.
"The maximum thermometer used is of the mercurial Negretti and Zambra pattern, having a constriction in the bore of the tube below the scale.
"The minimum temperature is obtained by the use of the ordinary Rutherford alcohol minimum thermometer. Both instruments are read and recorded twice daily, at 8 a. m. and 8 p. m., seventy-fifth meridian time. The maximum and minimum thermometers are set daily at 8 a. m. and 8 p. m. The extremes given in the summaries are for the civil day, midnight to midnight. The monthly means have been obtained by dividing the sum of the mean maxima and mean minima t"mperatures by 2....
"Moisture. The monthly means of the dew-point, relative humidity, and vapor pressure are given as computed directly from the original daily observations.
"The rain gauges used at the regular Weather Bureau stations have a circular catchment area of about 8 inches diameter, and the snow, hail, or sleet caught within them is melted and measured as water. The rain gauge proper is set within an inclosing cylinder 8 inches in diameter and 2 feet high, which serves as an overflow attachment in the case of heavy rains and as a snow gauge in the winter season."
Here is a short history of the Cooperative Weather Observer program: http://www.dnr.sc.gov/climate/sco/Education/facts/coop_weather_observers.pdf
From the article: "The Smithsonian supplied reporting forms and instrumentation necessary for the task [for the weather stations]" (The Cooperative Weather Observers were soldiers under the Smithsonian prior to 1870. After 1870 the responsibility fell to the signal service. In 1890 it fell under the Dept. of Ag.)
Here is an article on quality control of Coop weather stations of the 19th century: http://www.isws.illinois.edu/pubdoc/CR/iswscr2011-02.pdf
From the article: "The National Weather Service’s (NWS) Cooperative Observer Program (COOP) has been in operation since the late nineteenth century, providing daily observations of temperatures and precipitation using standardized equipment and methodologies."
Here are some awards given to volunteers of the Cooperative Observer Program. One family had been recording for 102 years. http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/coop/newsletters/08fall-coop.pdf
From the link: " In January 1898, F.J. Tingey was appointed as an official Weather Bureau observer and was furnished standard Weather Bureau equipment."
Here is article of a Coop Weather Station that has been in existence for 115 years and is still using a piece of equipment originally issued to them in 1896 (a bucket ring for their rain gauge) http://www.dailyfreeman.com/articles/2010/11/15/news/doc4ce095593d69e278624921.txt
"Weather station personnel also collect rainfall data in an equally simple manner measuring rainwater depth in a wooden bucket, with the original U.S. Weather Bureau brass ring that was standard issue in 1896."
Here is some general history about Cooperative Observer Weatherstations if interested: http://pafc.arh.noaa.gov/coop/weatherstation.php
My statement about farmers recording the data was an simply an acknowledgment of your statement that it was farmers' recording the data. It was likely farmer's recording it (since that was the most common occupation) but my point was they weren't simply taking cavalier measurements for their own personal use, but were weather service volunteers. In reality, there was/is no requirement of a specific occupation to become a Cooperative Observer volunteer.
Here is a link that might be useful: Weather Bureau Report 1899-1900
This post was edited by olpea on Fri, Oct 11, 13 at 23:24
That is interesting, but how do you know that the readings you mentioned were from farmers with those kinds of weather stations?
The temps I mentioned come from a document on extreme weather. The author footnotes the temps as originally coming from the United States Department of Agriculture, Monthly Weather Review and Annual Summary for 1899, Volume XXVII, Washington D.C. (see link below)
The low temp of Manhattan comes from a paper out of the Journal of Climate called, "Daily-Mean Temperature reconstructed for Kansas from Early Instrumental and Modern Observations by DORIAN J. BURNETTE AND DAVID W. STAHLE of U of Ark.
I assume their info originally comes from the same USDA document, but I'm not certain since their footnote is a little unclear to me.
I think it's safe to say the USDA, Monthly Weather Review would only contain climate information from registered cooperative observers, or other official weather stations. I can't imagine they would accept just anyone's temp readings for their official records.
Here is a link that might be useful: A Chronological Listing of Early Weather Events
This post was edited by olpea on Sat, Oct 12, 13 at 11:32
Olpea, I seem to be missing something here. The reports I read were for temps near the farms not at the farms themselves (made by the farmers) so the info doesn't seem precise for the farms where peaches were either affected or not.
I know that in our test winter over a decade ago at sites that got much below -25 there were a lot of killed trees- but that was just one season with two nights of extreme cold. Not very much can be learned from a single season anywhere- you would need much more to go on.
When I googled around for info on winter survivable temps for peaches there seems to be no precise researched answers. It is a difficult subject to research because so many variables are involved, from the wetness of soil going into winter, the relative vigor of the trees, the types of rootstock (trees on Siberian are more cold tolerant, apparently) and who knows what else?
As you can see, the subject has peaked my interest for some reason, even though almost all of my clients live in areas where it is extremely rare for winter cold to even kill the flowers. I'm going to e-mail my rep at ACnursery to see if they have more info. Large wholesale nurseries that sell trees to commercial growers would have the opportunity to learn the usual cutoff of winter survivability better than any researcher, I figure.
Sorry I put you through so much trouble, but thanks.
I have had no problems with O'Henry and Silver Logan here and they are supposedly listed as zone 6. They have proved to be as hardy, if not more hardy, than my PF24-C.
I also remember a thread from earlier this year regarding what Iowajer determined must be an Earlitreat. I don't believe it is rated for zone 5, Sunset 41, but it has supposedly done well in Iowa (and has piqued my interest!)
Here is a link that might be useful: Mislabeled Peach - Can Anyone Help?
"Olpea, I seem to be missing something here. The reports I read were for temps near the farms not at the farms themselves (made by the farmers) so the info doesn't seem precise for the farms where peaches were either affected or not."
Yes that's correct, the accounts of the peach farmers I mentioned were not the actual people who were taking the temperature measurements (the ones taking the temperature measurements were NWS Cooperative volunteers - farmers likely) nor did the peach farmer's live exactly where the temperature measurements were taken.
I follow what you are saying that temperature measurements can be different a few miles away. The significance to me is that the cold was so widespread and so frigid at that time, the peaches which survived did so at extreme temperatures, even if there was a small variance between where the temps were taken and where the peach farmers were located.
I think between negative 25 and 30 there will be lots of variability on survival but I can't imagine getting a crop from any peach below about -18 F.
Grow darnit says he got crop after temps of -30 in the area. That just seems like internet legend to me although I won't say it isn't possible. I do try to keep it real on this forum, even if someone is offended from time to time. Of course, as often as not, I'm the one who is wrong, but I will press people on questionable claims.
In my many years of trying to grow peaches back in Iowa, there was an old seed grown white peach that outdid all others in terms of hardiness to winter cold. These peaches routinely survived -20 and -25 winters when hardy cultivars I tried were killed completely or nearly so. I also recall peaches on them after such winters. We just knew it as the Iowa Mennonite white peach. I was not a terribly good peach. It had a huge stone, and the peaches were sweet and also a had a bitter aftertaste. I know it grows semi-wild in parts of eastern Iowa today, yet few know about it outside of the locals that grow them. I've often thought that these peaches would make great breeding stock. On the topic of Blushingstar, I grow it. It is a very sweet, late white that does okay for me. It is not real "peachy" flavored like the golden fleshed ones.