no-spray yellow peach cultivar for lower MI?

cousinfloydNovember 7, 2013

My mother-in-law has requested a peach tree as a Christmas gift, and unless you all talk me out of it, I want to get her one. She wants a yellow peach (not white). I don't think she's especially opposed to sprays but she's not going to go to the trouble. I think she'll water it, probably mulch/weed it, maybe give it some minimal pruning. (I mostly visit once a year in November. I assume that wouldn't be a good time to do a big annual pruning?) My in-laws live a little north Lansing. She bought some Paul Friday peaches from a local (to her) orchard this year that she really liked. However, taste is a lower priority for me than finding a variety with a better chance of yielding fruit that will actually be usable (not all rotten from disease before it ripens, etc.) What do you all recommend? And what about sources? Rootstock? Their soil is good for growing field and garden crops. I think they're a zone 5. Thanks!

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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

They all need spraying. Zone 5 is tough. I would find out what Paul Friday peaches she had. Paul is from MI, and it's strange as all reports of taste in MI are always fabulous but users here on GardenWeb in other states report otherwise on many cultivars. It seems well adapted for MI.
Is the soil sand or clay? If clay Lovell is a good rootstock.
Grandpa's Nursery is in MI also and carries a lot.
O'Henry is a great peach but not sure how well it will do here? If she just bought them, it is probably a late PF peach. 24B or 27A.
Peach leaf curl is the biggest problem with peaches if unsprayed and if left untreated will eventually compromise tree. The only resistant variety I can think of is Indian Free and that is a white peach. It has brown rot problems, and needs to be sprayed anyway! No spray peach is like military intelligence or jumbo shrimp, an oxymoron.
I'm sure some here get some yields without spraying and maybe can offer up some better cultivars not to spray where you can at least get a little harvest.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 9:22AM
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Thanks, Drew, for the all the detailed advice. I know no spray peaches are mostly unrealistic here in North Carolina (although I've seen a perfect no spray peach on a neglected tree here and there, but never yet on one of my own trees), but I didn't know if the odds might be a little more favorable in Michigan. I suppose apricots would only be more challenging?

I think their soil is more loamy than anything. I think there's a clay subsoil beneath a good layer of topsoil. I believe their whole area was a swamp until it was cleared and tiled a hundred years or more years ago.

Based on your advice, I'm leaning toward a PF peach, but if anyone thinks there's a variety with better overall odds under no spray conditions I'd be interested to hear about it. I guess all the PF varieties are susceptible to peach leaf curl? That must not be as much of a problem in NC? I know brown rot is a huge problem here (at least with no spray peaches.) And I think OFM is, too, but I don't know much about the challenges here and even less about Michigan.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2013 at 4:46PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

If soil is as you say Lovell is the way to go, if sandy I'm not sure? As I'm in clay. Lovell tolerates being wet too. Not good in sand though! Grandpa's standard peach stock is Lovell.
I want an O'Henry as it is really a great tasting peach. You may want to consider that one too. Sold also at Grandpa's.
Adams Nursery is another option. Both are excellent nurseries. Peaches are usually on Lovell from Adams. No O'Henry there though. They have PF peaches though.
Brown rot is a major problem, but will not kill the tree.
Frost, Indian Free, Muir, and Q-1-8 are peach leaf curl resistant. Muir and Frost are yellows, but only rated to zone 7.
Hopefully someone can come up with a winner for you!
PF may be best, in comes from MI. I have a PF lucky 13 myself. Just planted so cannot really comment on it.
Any peach tree is going to be tons better than store bought!
BTW peach leaf curl is not much of a problem because even if your tree has it, fruit is unaffected. But after years of having it, it does start to enter wood. And the tree tends to lose all of it's leaves, which will regrow. After say 5 years of this, it tends to give in. It is easily treated with copper, sulfur or other fungicides. Spray in the dormant season. Once it has it, no point in treating till the next dormant season. You could spray copper in November, that would certainly help keep it in check. I think you're good! Add copper to a dormant oil. That one spray in November may be enough. Usually you spray Thanksgiving and in March a 2nd time before bud break. So you're only missing one spray.The copper isn't that effective for brown rot, but does help. Captan or Monterey Fungal Fighter or both are best for brown rot. MMF is probably the best treatment.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 12:37AM
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alan haigh

Here in the northeast, lots of people get fruit from unsprayed peach trees. If trees are grown with good eastern exposure and pruned to an open shape to help move dew off the fruit and allow good air circulation and the turf is mostly grass and not broadleaf weeds such as clover, it is quite possible the fuzz will adequately repel insects and early varieties, at least, will avoid brown rot. Redhaven would represent the end of early peach season.

Some later varieties can work as well, but seemingly, mostly older ones with plenty of fuzz. Elberta is an example but others, even newer ones like Harcrest can work. The Canadian breeders have a history of working for brown rot resistance so you can search for varieties whose names begin with Har.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 8:48AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Good advice, thanks for chiming in! I myself am sitting 16 miles from the Canadian border. I lived 11 years in Lansing too, great area, I miss it a lot. I miss El Az Teco, my fav restaurant! I was there last a year ago. I bought a dog on the west side of the state and needed to pass through, so stopped and bought a couple of dinners to go! Amazing after 35 years the food was exactly the same! Both my children were born at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing.
Adams has Harrow Beauty which sounds like an excellent peach, but alas, are sold out! That one sounds like a great peach for me too! I'm adding it to my want list....

This post was edited by Drew51 on Sat, Nov 9, 13 at 9:46

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 9:38AM
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alan haigh

Harrow Beauty is a good peach if you thin like mad. It tends to run small in any case but has good flavor. It does have beautiful color.

Harcrest has actually fruited unsprayed on sites for me with usable fruit of high quality. It is a larger peach and slightly better flavored one to my taste but not as brightly colored. I never managed Harrow B. without spray.

Those are the only peaches from the Harrow program that I have any experience with. I do grow a few of their apricots.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 10:14AM
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alan haigh

I forgot, I also still grow Harrow Diamond which can be completely unblemished here without fungicide.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 10:15AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Added to my want list thanks! When i move, I plan on growing 10-15 peach trees, I think i already have that many on my want list! I will pick the best of the best.
I myself do plan on spraying.

Raintree has Frost and Q-1-8, on Lovell and rates them to zone 5 (both peach leaf curl resistant) They also have Harken (Canadian).

On a side note eatlikenoone a local blog rates PF-07 higher than Harrow Beauty or Diamond. But he is relying on farmer's markets for fruit.
cousinfloyd since your mom in law liked PF, maybe that one still is in order!
PF has dropped many cultivars now. The best LATE one still being sold is PF-19 next is PF-23. It should be similar to what you mother in law ate if she purchased it recently.
Both Adams and Grandpa's carry PF-23.

I bought lucky 13 a mid-season because it is the biggest selling PF peach. Olpea grows it but I never heard him comment on it?

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 11:19AM
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alan haigh

Olpea has found PF peaches to be disappointing on his site. Prefers the Star series.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 2:30PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

I will judge on how my PF does. Again MI reports have been outstanding, but he is breeding them here, so we are back to all gardening is local...Since I'll be moving it's all an experiment here. Whatever works I'll buy again, along with old proven favorites. I'll always try stuff though that is too much fun.not to. Although a lot more fun with tomatoes, as each year you start over. I had a great tomato year myself! Lot's of good ones! Next year though all new stuff, as I would rather experiment. I'm packed with salsa and sauce for the winter. Having pasta tonight Yeah!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 3:00PM
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alan haigh

Tomatoes were best here they've been in years as well, along with most tree fruit. Only pears have disappointed, not in crop load but quality.

I think this year may have been a once-in-a-lifetime fruit season here.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 5:29PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Conditions here were not ideal at first. The spring was very wet. i did lose one tomato plant. But I had 7 this year. I like the fact many small sellers that breed tomatoes. Some are unstable lines, but interesting all the same. I have seeds to more cultivars than i can possible grow. i have to decide which ones to grow this next season.
Usually our seasons are really nice, so I have no worries about future years. The last ten years have been great!
No extremes, pretty stable environment. Hot and dry is the norm. My cacti are loving it.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 11:36AM
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alan haigh

I'm a seed saver too. Often even hybrids are not seriously altered when returned to open pollination. My hot peppers can lose their heat though, probably due to pollination from the sweets.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 7:29PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

"I bought lucky 13 a mid-season because it is the biggest selling PF peach. Olpea grows it but I never heard him comment on it?"

I do grow Lucky 13 and it's a good peach. I do prefer more of the stellar series peaches vs. Paul Friday's varieties.

Just as a background note for anyone reading this thread. Paul Friday's (Flamin' Fury) varieties were bred in Michigan, as were the Stellar series varieties (any peach with "star" in the name). The Haven series peaches (Redhaven, Cresthaven, Glohaven, etc.) were also developed in Michigan (a long time ago). The Harrow series peaches were developed just across the line in Ontario, so they are also Michigan climate peaches (more or less). Harrow varieties can be identified with the letters "har" somewhere in the name. A lot of peaches were developed in the Michigan area!

I've grown Harrow Beauty and Harken for quite a few years. I prefer Harken, which tastes like Redhaven in my opinion. Redhaven doesn't bring much praise on this forum, but I love it. Unless there is a lot of rain, Redhaven has excellent flavor here.

Harrow Beauty is good too, but it is prone to turn a bit mealy in extremely high temperatures during ripening. It's done it a few years and whenever it happens, I sell them as seconds (intended for canning or jam).

I agree an early peach might be the best bet for no spray. I planted Harrow Diamond for the first time this year so I'm anxious to see how it tastes. I agree with Drew, any homegrown grafted variety peach will be superior to a grocery store peach.

I'm also excited about Rich May for a very early variety. I planted the variety in 2012, so I haven't tried it from my own trees yet (did have one from the grocery store). I've heard good things about it for an early peach. It's supposed to ripen 10 days earlier than Harrow Diamond.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 8:19PM
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I don't have the experience of some of the other guys but in Iowa I grow with no spray as does a buddy. The best of the 10 varieties we have between us (mostly his) are Red Haven and Contender. I love them both. In choosing who you have confidence in on this forum, let me say this: Olpea, Harvest man and Tony Tran are like E.F. Hutton to me.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 11:47PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

"A lot of peaches were developed in the Michigan area! "

I remember having a discussion when i first came here as to why MI has a decent environment to grow stone fruits, and was meeting with a lot of resistance. We are far from the biggest producer, but are the 6th largest producer of peaches in the USA. The Great Lakes environment is unique, the next driest state after TX is MI. So it's a good place to grow fruits that require a drier environment. But not too dry as to hurt growth. We are no way near as wet as the Northeast. To relate to this thread it is not a bad place to grow no spray trees. Some years can be wet, this was a wet year and fungal problems raised their ugly head. But many years the environment is dry enough for them not to be of much concern. Otherwise I would not grow peaches. So if cousinfloyd can make one copper spray in November, their stands a good chance of most years getting peaches that are decent.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2013 at 8:44AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

my contender peach went crazy this year down here in adrian mi ...... nearly collapsing itself.. i have never sprayed it ...

the simple answer.. might be to call the orchard near moms ... and ask them what they recommend for down the road ...

they might even be ordering in some stock for their own planting.. and might sell one at proper planting time ...


    Bookmark   November 11, 2013 at 10:07AM
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I've been thinking about some of the comments about your mother-in-law.I was wondering if she has ever taken care of a fruit tree?It sounds like she will do the minimal to keep it alive.
From what I understand about Leaf Curl,is that it basically needs a window of temperature and wetness to infect and grow.
I was thinking about a dwarf patio Peach or two to start her with,if she doesn't have much experience yet.If there is a deck,unheated garage or carport,the potted tree could be rolled into a sheltered place at the right times.That may not ensure total protection,but may help.Pruning should be much easier too.The fruit quality will probably not match a bigger tree,but may be tastier than store bought.Just a thought. Brady

Here is a link that might be useful: Peach Leaf Curl Info

    Bookmark   November 11, 2013 at 7:04PM
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