Growing Peach Trees Organically: Peach Leaf Curl Resistant Varieties I Grow

Growing Peach Trees Organically: Peach Leaf Curl Resistant Varieties I Grow

backyard homegrown peaches

Mt homegrown peaches: mystery peach on the left, apricot-size Oregon Curl Free to the right.

 

Indian Free Peach

Indian Free Peach; most unusual and very late season

Growing peach trees organically can be a real challenge in the Pacific Northwest, but with the renewed interest and recent introduction of varieties that are resistant to the dreaded peach leaf curl, the tide is turning on being able to pluck a fresh grown peach from your home orchard.  Ironically, Vashon Island used to celebrate a peach festival some 60 years ago (likey made possible through the use of chemical sprays).

I don’t want to spray squat, so I’m always on the lookout for Peach Leaf Curl (PLC) resistant varieties that thrive in the cool, wet 50-75 degree growing season of the Maritime Northwest. It’s important to note that the young trees will initially suffer a bit with bouts of PLC, but as they mature their resistance seems to kick in and prevail. Here are some promising peach trees that I’ve planted so far with links to nurseries that I’ve ordered from:

PLC resistant varieties, planted Maritime NW, Zone 8
As of September 1, 2008 for young trees planted 2-4 years ago:
 

  • John Muir: moderate growth, leaves slow to appear, minor curl, no fruit set
  • Oregon Curl Free: steady growth, leaves good, very minor curl, nice fruit set, peaches small, taste sweet with tart edge, nice fall color
  • Avalon Pride: steady growth, leaves good, minor leaf curl, no fruit set this year (a great performer when I lived in Seattle, very sweet).
  • Autumn Rose: planted bareroot this spring, leafed out with a bit of leaf curl, new growth moderate 

Indian Free Peach

  • Indian Free:
    • 2007 – vigorous growth, leafed out with minor leaf curl, nice fruit set, harvested 6 small peaches on Oct. 2, superb flavor, gorgeous burgundy flesh.
    • 2008 – vigorous growth, beautiful ornamental blossoms, no leaf curl, harvested 30 medium to small peaches Oct. 12, thick fuzzy skin almost brown in color, juicy fruit, deliciously tart when shy of ripe, when ripe bursts with flavors of blackberry, plum and peach.
  • Q-1-8: white peach: vigorous growth, slow to leaf out, minor leaf curl, no fruit set.
  • Charlotte: slow steady growth, slow to leaf out, minor leaf curl, no fruit set
  • Kreibich Nectarine: vigorous, healthy growth, fully leafed out, very minor leaf curl, very young tree no fruit set
  • Mystery peach: transplanted from a garden where peaches had no place (gasp!); good growth three years later, no leaf curl, and two of my best peaches so far. 

With varied site placement taken into consideration, I’d have to say I’m encouraged by all of these trees, though John Muir is struggling with its less than desirable placement near a towering wild cherry tree. I may have to move it during dormancy next winter.

I’ve had good luck with the following nurseries and their PLC resistant peach trees:

Take a look how these Peach Leaf Curl varieties did the next season in My Peach Tree Report for 2009.

 



33 thoughts on “Growing Peach Trees Organically: Peach Leaf Curl Resistant Varieties I Grow”

  • Wow, the color on your Indian Free is totally different than ours here in Northern California. I would love to trade seed with you. Also, never heard of Oregon curl. Other than small in fruit, it produces well?

  • I’d be happy to save you some seeds, sorry it has to be October before that’s available. I think the Oregon Free will get bigger, as I didn’t really thin them last year. Oregon Curl Free is one of the best producing peaches along with the Indian Free and Avalon Pride. My trees are still young and I look forward to better results this year.

  • Hello There,
    I’m also very interested in curl free peaches over here in Sweden. Possible we could exchange budwood in end of July?
    I have Frost (orange flesh big Sept), Benedikte (orange flesh big Sept) and Riga (white flesh small July) and some on trial. Our climate could be similar.

  • Very interesting!

    Can any of these be acquired in Canada? If not where can I purchase some? And, could they be hardy to Zone 6?

    Ever heard of Siberian peach?

    I live in eastern Canada – in area by Bay of Fundy between New Brusnwick and Nova Scotia. I have grown Nectarine and peach as well as pear and apple. As we are in a maritime wet envrionment I do get peach leaf curl on my cultivars and am trying to find better suited ones for this climate.

    Hope you can help.

    Gill

  • Hi Ake, I sure appreciate your offer but am not set up to send scion wood. There are a lot of hoops to jump through from the US Dept of Agriculture and I don’t know that my trees don’t have some fungus or bug you don’t want in Sweden, but I’ll keep sharing information.

  • Gill I’ve never heard of a Siberian peach, though I have seen a Manchurian apricot.

    I don’t know of cultivars for your climate or nursery sources, but like I told Mable, check out http://www.gardenweb.com in forum section and do a search for peach trees Canada or something like that.
    Here are a couple links where they talk about fruit trees in Canada; it’s a start.

    http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/cangard/msg071635285748.html

    http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/farnorth/msg0618122316579.html

  • We purchased a Blood Peach tree about 3 yrs. ago. Finally got fruit this year after fighting the dreaded leaf curl with neem oil spray(it’s natural and it works, you can also use copper spray.), and it looks just like your mystery peach, but the fruit is hard as a rock so now we need to find out why that happened. I am sooo! looking forward to getting some fruit we can eat someday, can’t give up now.

  • Marcia, on my ‘blood’ peach tree the fruit doesn’t ripen until October. It too is rock hard until then. It seems like they will never ripen and then one day boom, they plump up and are ready to go, but again that’s early October on my tree in Puget Sound region.

  • Thanks for the info Tom.

    If anyone in Canada has seed for peach leaf curl resistant cultivars, please adivse. sSee would alos be fine.

  • Sorry about the spello’s above. I meant to say that seed would be fine as well, if it can be shipped. (I would pay for the shipping of course).

  • GREAT post! Our peach tree has pulled through that bout with plc so we’ll give it another go, making sure to mulch around the base and well, generally taking better care of her 😉 I think that first year where we had no plc problems at all made us think that we never ever had to worry. Now we know!

  • The Indian Free variety looks a lot like a variety we have here in New Zealand commonly called Blackboy Peaches. My Aunt had a large tree in her Christchurch garden some years ago, and I have bought another from a road side stall hoping for fruit exactly like the ones you describe: dark, plumy, tart and late fruiting. Love to hear more about your trees, and any advice you might have for a novice fruit tree gardener.

  • NRSP-5 has Newhaven and Mayflower scionwood.
    Usda.ars has two un-named leaf curl resistant cultivars-budwood.
    Through internet searches: Villa Ada and Cresthaven have some resistance. One Green World has Early Charlotte. Muir was available through Burnt Ridge Nursery.

  • ars.usda also has Gold Drop,Rogany Goy and Tuscan Cling/Tuskena with leaf curl resistance. Cannot vouch for any as I only have Kreibich and Charlotte fruiting…and will have to beat the squirrels to them next year.
    Some of my fave fruit tree sources are Whitman Farms-custom grafting too, Raintree and Bay Laurel. Spearheart Farm/ Nick Botner in Yoncalla OR for scionwood.

  • thank you, I finally know the type of peach I had in my backyard growing up in Sacramento, Ca. It was an Indian Free. Yours look and sound exactly the same. I have never had another piece of fruit that came close. They kinda spoiled me. Worst yet nobody believes me when i tell them the flesh was purple with no yellow and rarely a little whit around the pit. They just laugh it off. I don’t know a lot about growing peaches but would love to buy a few viable seed if possible. Thank you for your time.

  • Hi Tom – the big guy’s just sitting here with his morning coffee planning our Oregon Coast orchard …4 years away (Type A personality)LOL. Thanks so much for the information.

  • Gill, I love your Tall Clover page. I have been looking forever for this “Indian Blood peach”, the problem is every nursery’s version of the Indian Blood is reddish skin, striped red and white meat with a lighter stone. Yours is purple skin and blood red throughout with a darker stone. The tree you have is the one I am looking for. The only other tree I have seen like this is the Black Boy peach in New Zealand. Gill is their any way I could purchase a few stones from you? I would be forever grateful!
    Sincerely,
    Dena

    • Hi Dena, my Indian Free peach was solid blood red one year and then white, red striped the next. Not sure why. I’d be happy to give you some stones but I didn’t have any peaches this year. We had a cold wet spring and late frost and pollination was unsuccessful. Perhaps next year, April showers will take a vacation.

  • Would you be interested in selling some scion wood? I think you have fantastic varieties and of course that Indian Blood is beautiful! I’m in Oregon just outside the Portland metro area.
    Great website!
    Sarah

  • Hello Tom,

    How are your peach trees doing now? I am near the central Oregon coast near Lincoln City, OR. What type of peach tree would you recommend for here? Hearty and curl free. Any Dwarf varieties? Self pollinating? Thanks, Linda

    • Hi Linda, you know I’ve been a bit disappointed in my peach trees. I think the best way to grow them in the Pacific NW is against a covered and sheltered southern exposure wall where the heat is retained a bit and rain stays off the tree as much as possible. I’m encouraged by a new variety called Nanaimo, and my old standbys Frost and Avalon Pride. The trees remain healthy. You can also find types called genetic dwarfs which are grafted to remain small, but are PLC susceptible. I keep mine in my greenhouse to prevent leaf curl and give them added heat units. It’s a real challenge Linda, good luck. I didn’t have one peach last year, due to a cool rainy period during bloom time.

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