Peach Tree Report 2009: Update on Leaf Curl Resistant Varieties

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Charlotte White Peach in a bowl

Charlotte Peach whole and sliced

White-flesh Charlotte peach, this year’s star performer

Greetings fellow peach aficionados. Unfortunately, 2009 was not a bumper year for peaches here at tall clover farm  (a pronouncement duly noted by the case of Yakima peaches resting at my feet). Our unusually hot, dry summer would have ushered in a nice crop if only spring felt obliged to share the same temperament. It doesn’t matter how hot your summer is if your spring is cold and wet. Peach blossoms played to an empty house,  attended only by  raindrops and windstorms. Bees were having nothing to do with it.

Charlotte Peaches on the tree

 Four years since planting, the Charlotte tree produced its first peaches.

Charlotte Peach on the tree

Other than covert night operations by raccoons, no pest problems to speak of.

Charlotte peach tree, Q-1-8 white peach tree, Indian Free peach tree from right to left

Peach trees from left to right: Indian Free, Q-1-8, and Charlotte (in the shade)

In 2008, I posted the peach season’s results for my young peach orchard, and will offer up the results for 2009 below.  

 The following trees are peach leaf curl resistant varieties planted 3-5 years ago on Vashon Island, Zone 8, a moderate climate that ranges from  35-45 degrees daily in January to 55-75 degrees in August.   

 • Autumn Rose Peach
2009: Died. May it rest in peace. The tree was planted bareroot one year ago and it succumbed to peach leaf curl this spring and never recovered. I will not replant it.
2008: Planted bareroot this spring, leafed out with a bit of leaf curl, new growth moderate

 • Avalon Pride Peach
2009
: I love this peach and am not giving up on it. Good growth from one tree, minimal from the other. No leaf curl to report and no fruit set either. Again, this was a great backyard peach when I lived in Seattle.
2008: Steady growth, leaves good, minor leaf curl, no fruit set this year

• Charlotte Peach (white flesh)
2009: A big year for growth, stands about 12 feet high, and produced beautiful small peaches of high quality. I was surprised to see they were white peaches (a favorite of mine). I picked them a little green to thwart the raccoons, and they ripened very nicely off the tree. (Here’s the technique and best way to ripen peaches off the tree.  Not sure if this is the same as Royal Charlotte peach.
2008: Slow steady growth, slow to leaf out, minor leaf curl, no fruit set

• Frost Peach (last year called Mystery peach)
2009:  Finally seems happy in its transplanted place, with nice leaf and stem growth and six large and delicious golden peaches picked. It appears to be a Frost peach, the mainstay of PLC varieties and I can see why. Very nice peach.
2008: 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.

• Indian Free Peach
2009: Gorgeous healthy tree of 12 feet, a little twig die-off  here and there, but seems quite healthy, but no fruit set this year, only 3-5 peaches currently hanging on. It may be a biennial producer.
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.
2007: Vigorous growth, leafed out with minor leaf curl, nice fruit set, harvested 6 small peaches on Oct. 2, superb flavor, gorgeous burgundy flesh.

• John Muir Peach
2009
: minimal growth, leaves slow to appear, no leaf curl, minor fruit set (4 peaches), then fruit dropped. Tree is still only about 4 feet tall. I may transplant it this winter.
2008: moderate growth, leaves slow to appear, minor curl, no fruit set

• Kreibich Nectarine
2009: A promising variety, very healthy, but no fruit set. Stands about 6 feet tall now and had a setback when it became the chosen entrée for some wayward deer.
2008: healthy growth, fully leafed out, very minor leaf curl, very young tree no fruit set

• Oregon Curl Free Peach
2009
: minimal growth of 3-4 inches, very minor curl, and one small sweet peach produced, not as productive as last year. I just planted another last winter in a sunnier, better draining location, and it is growing like gangbusters. It’s all about location, location, location
2008: steady minor curl, nice fruit set, peaches small, taste sweet with tart edge, nice fall color growth

• Q-1-8 Peach (white flesh)
2009: Great growth, healthy tree, but still no peaches. It’s a light bloomer. I had this tree in my Seattle garden and it was a great producer of small sweet white peaches.
2008: white peach: vigorous growth, slow to leaf out, minor leaf curl, no fruit set.
 

 As the eternal optimist, I’m looking to 2010 as a bumper year for peaches, and most assuredly county my cobblers before they’re baked.  Good growing, Tom.

Nursery Sources:   One Green World Nursery, Burnt Ridge Nursery & Orchards, Peaceful Valley Organics, Raintree Nursery 

 What I was blogging about a year ago: The BLT: Assembly ( and a Little Driving) Required

23 COMMENTS

  1. I just canned 40 pounds of peaches yesterday – I wish it didn’t take 3-5 years to get fruit! Until I see anything from my garden I’ll keep getting them from Rama farms.

    Unless you get your bumper crop next summer and want to share…

  2. I appreciate you sharing the results of your orchard, and hope for better spring weather next year as well. Our peach tree seems to have overcome the problem of plc through the use of fungicide applications much earlier on, and there are a dozen and a half large peaches on the tree that have begun to turn color in the last week or so. I never thought they would make it this far but we shall see when they’ve ripened a bit more.

  3. Sustai–um um 40 pounds, I dream of picking 40 pounds of peaches from my trees; I’ll keep you posted when that happens.

    Rowena–let’s hear it for your peach tree and its generous harvest 😉 If you can mail order plants in the EU, check with UK mail order nurseries for curl resistant varieties. We share their climate and I’ve seen the PLC resistant varieties available there. Ciao and Mahalo!

  4. Tom, how many peach trees do you have? I’ve been slowly getting an idea of your farm since somehow discovering your site last winter.

    I’m bummed about your losses. I just took out my tomatoes today after a good stiff wake drink. It softened the blow a little to drink a bloody mary made from their juice.

  5. I have about ten peach trees. I may move about half of them this winter as they are not pleased with my site selection. As for your tomato losses, I think your solution of lemons to lemonade, or juice to the bloody Marys is bloody brilliant, and as usual for you most resourceful.

  6. Such beauties! It’s a miracle to grow any peach at all here in Maine. Which doesn’t mean I won’t be trying. The orchard gets put in tree by tree. (So happy to know where to turn for advice. Thanks, Tom!)

    I did just jam my farmers’ market peaches. And we will have cobblers this winter.

  7. I have a belle of georgia peach tree which i planted in 2006 in northeast wisconsin. This is the first year it has fruit, lots of fruit. i have never pruned, fertilized or anything but after doing some reading i guess i need to. My problem is there are spots on the top of the fruit and it does not seem to be ripening. its getting late in the year and i dont know if i should just pick it all and try to ripen it myself or just keep waiting. the other thing is can i eat it with the spots? any suggesstions would be appreciated.

  8. Tammy, I’d say just leave the peach tree alone for now to see if they ripen. I have one variety that ripens in mid October. I’d say hold off on pruning, too or keep it simple; cut out dead branches or ones that overlap. This a young tree, let it establish itself before pruning. I’ve never severely pruned my trees anyway. I think people go a little too crazy on the pruning sometime. (The conventional mantra, though not mine, is when it doubt, prune it out.) I say, not so fast. The heaviest producing trees I have are the ones I left alone.

    You’re spots may be a fungus or brown rot, but I’m no expert on that as I’ve not experience it in my orchard (yet).

    I’m a big fan of the gardenweb forum, where obsessed gardeners and growers share their expertise (and bossy natures at times). Always good info and you could post a picture of the peach and the forum could weigh in.

    Here’s a great forum about late peaches (including Belle of Georgia) in Upstate New York, which I think would apply to NE Wisconsin; http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/fruit/msg091610504179.html

    and here’s a forum about preventing diseases in peaches: http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/fruit/msg0518592125889.html

    Good luck, ‘cuz that’s a great white peach.

  9. Tom:

    When I looked up the “Indian Free” at nurseries, they showed pictures and described a peach that had white flesh with red streaks. There is another peach called Indian Blood which looks like this one. Any idea what is going on? Or where we could find a tree like yours?

    Steve

  10. Tom:

    Thanks so much. I’d really like to grow some peach trees but being in the Willamette Valley I’ve got the same problems you face. And organic, even no spray is desirable. So I get a lot out of your site, which I’ve only recently discovered. Thanks for sharing and being helpful.

    Steve

  11. I’v got 6 different types of peach trees and by far the most reliable and productive is the Frost. I lost an Autumn Rose to PLC this past summer.

  12. Glad I found this site. I bought, planted and espaliered two Frost peaches today. Only variety available. Seems that is a good choice. Now I will wait three (?) years for some results. Enjoy your site.

    J

  13. Hi Jessie, thanks for the comments. I think Frost is a really great choice. In my trying to find other leaf curl resistant varieties, all roads may lead me back to the Frost peach as being the best choice.

    I recently met a man on the island with the most gorgeous peach tree and peaches I’d ever seen here. It was a Frost peach. We have extremely dry summers in the Pacific Northwest, and the sprinkling system that kept his lawn looking like St. Andrews golf course, also benefitted his peach tree in a big way.

    I’ll keep sharing my results as they come to fruition. And I bet you’ll have a couple peaches to swoon over in a year or two. Good luck!

  14. Has anyone tried the Albert Etter peach from Greenmantle Nursery in Garberville, CA? I’d like to know how it would do in our Northwest climate.
    Greenmantle grows/sells curl resistant varieties, as well as a selection of pink fleshed apples.

    I grew Pink Pearl apple in California, and have planted one here in Fall City, WA. I can vouch for Pink Pearl’s beauty, reliability, and tastiness, at least when grown in California. It will be a few years before I know about how it does here.

  15. Hi Darien, great to hear what other’s are growing. I wanted to grow an Albert Etter peach but it’s been out of stock everytime I’ve tried to buy it. I’ll give it another try this year.

    As for the peach report 2010, I’ll work on that shortly and let you know. Still waiting to see if my one and only nectarine tree, Kriebich, ripens before the winter monsoons. More later!

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