Growing Peach Trees Organically: Peach Leaf Curl Resistant Varieties I Grow
Mt homegrown peaches: mystery peach on the left, apricot-size Oregon Curl Free to the right.
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:
- 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.