2016 peach variety observations

Since peach season is over here in the lower Midwest I thought I’d post my observations and encourage others to do the same as they have time. I spray a commercial scab program so scab or brown rot generally isn’t an issue in my orchard.

One of the biggest factors on flavor is the amount of rain we get and the time which it occurs, both of which can vary considerably from year to year.

It’s helpful to me to compare varieties with other varieties in that particular harvest window, since both varieties went through the same weather.

When I mention frost tolerance/susceptibility I’m just referring to how well the tree fruited after some significant frosts. Frost tolerance is largely related to how late the tree blooms, or how long the tree continues to open new blooms.

In general order of ripening here:

Rich May - Plan to remove this winter. Second year in a row of generally poor quality fruit. Small and little sugar on most fruit. Some fruits can be very flavorful though and almost approach the flavor of a nectarine, but far to few fruits reach that level here. Most of the fruit is only suitable for pies or jams. The fruit does make excellent red jam and is extremely slow to brown. The trees get too much bac. spot here and production is light even in a good year. This year the frosts hit this variety hard and of the 10 full sized trees I have of this variety, the combined yield of these ten trees was one bushel.

PF1 - Removed last year because of poor flavored fruit.

Desiree - Removing this fall because of poor flavored fruit two years in a row.

PF5B - Removing this fall because of poor flavored fruit two years in a row.

Earlystar - One of the best flavored yellow peaches for an such an early peach. I’ve grown this peach for many years and like it. It does have a very poor growth habit and doesn’t readily produce renewal shoots from blind wood. Plus it likes to grow straight up.

Spring Snow-Probably my favorite white peach. It does get a little bac. spot and the fruit is small. I’m not a big fan of whites, but this is the best early peach I grow. I’ve budded 14 more trees of this variety for planting next spring.

Gold Dust - I cut this one down this spring because of poor productivity. Now I wish I had given it one more year. I had grafted more Gold Dust scions on this tree as a check to make sure it was a true Gold Dust, but I was just sick of not seeing hardly any peaches on this tree which should have produced loads of fruit.

Harrow Diamond - Excellent fruit size and flavor on K1 roots. On seedling peach roots, the fruit is much smaller and not as sweet, but this is the first year to get fruit on the seedling fruits.

Carene Nect. - Poor flavor for a nect. two years in a row. Plan to cut down this year.

PF7a- Good peach which is somewhat frost tolerant.

Sugar May - Poorly flavored, bad bac. spot and low production. Plan to remove this winter.

Garnet Beauty - Decent early peach. Not quite as good as it’s sister Early Redhaven.

Surecrop - About like Garnet Beauty, but better frost tolerance.

Early Redhaven - See Garnet Beauty

Sentry - Good bac. spot free peach, but very light production. I’ll eventually be pulling these trees out I think.

Early Red Fre - Worst tasting peach I’ve ever grown. None of the fruit is saleable. Loads of large beautiful looking white peaches with no flavor or sugar. Tree looks beautiful too. This would be an excellent tree to grow if you want neighbors to think you are an excellent peach grower - just don’t let them taste the fruit.

Flat Wonderful - Not as good of quality as other donuts but a good backyard tree because its very easy to grow. It produces beautiful flowers. However I plan to cut my one tree down this year because it’s getting too much shade from a large tree.

Avalon nect. - First year harvest and not that good tasting.

Glenglo - I love this peach so far. Produces huge good tasting fruit two years in a row. I have 9 or 10 of these and plan to add more.

Risingstar - A smallish peach but good flavor. Better flavor than Garnet Beauty and Early Redhaven. A little bit of bac. spot.

Honeyblaze nect. - This has been a loser for me two years in a row. Sweet, but not much flavor and lots of bac. spot on the fruit. Plan to remove this winter.

Snowbrite - Removed last year because of bac. spot.

Sweet Scarlet - Worst bac.spot ever. Fruit is small and falls off. The occasional peach you do get is sweet, but just no production here. Cutting down 5 trees of this variety this year.

Nectafest - First harvest. Delicious nect. Very intense flavor.

NJF18 BuenOs - Removed. No flavor.

Saturn - Very sweet white donut. The stem pick damage is irritating. I have a bunch more of these going in because customers tend to request them.

PF9a-007 - Good peach. Large size for an early peach.

Harken - My opinion of this peach is going down. There just isn’t much for this window, so I’m keeping this peach. The peach can be decently flavored, but very unpredictable production and susc. to spring frosts. This year because of heavy rain the flavor of this peach was pretty mediocre.

Redhaven - Very grower friendly. Produces lots of fruit consistently. Flavor is generally very good, but was a notch down this year because of all the rain.

Starfire - About like Redhaven, but not as frost resistant.

Vinegold - A California cling which produces fruit of the same texture as TangOs (chewy texture). Very highly flavored, but will turn bitter if allowed to over-ripen on tree.

TangOs - Very flavorful large donut fruit. Can have skin issues if it rains a lot close to harvest.

Raritan Rose - Nice flavored white peach. Easy to grow. Fruit does want to drop. Has quite a bit of red in the flesh.

Topaz - Good yellow peach, but not very productive, although this tree is heavily shaded.

Blazingstar - Very good flavored peach, although susc. to spring frosts.

Salem - Decent large peach but doesn’t produce very well.

White Lady - Removed last year due to bac. spot.

Johnboy - Nice big good tasting yellow peach.

BuenOs2 - Removed last year. Terrible bac. spot.

PF Lucky 13 - Good peach.

TangOs 2 - Sweet flat white peach with green skin. Very sweet.

PF15a - Good peach

Johnboy 2 - Good large peach

Hardired nect. - Very productive but only mediocre flavor for a nect.

PF17 - Good peach

Summer Beaut nect. - High quality nect, but not quite as good as Nectafest this year.

Ernies Choice - Always a good peach, but exceptionally good this year. Best peach of this harvest window and possibly best peach of the whole season this year. Lots of acid and sugar.

Allstar - Good tasting very large fruit. Highly productive. This peach can get mealy some years if allowed to completely soften on the tree, but picked firm ripe and allowed to counter ripen will completely prevent that.

Klondike white - Like so many white peaches, terrible bac. spot. Plan to remove this year.

Glohaven - Huge good tasting fruit. Budded more of these trees this summer.

Harrow Beauty - Generally productive but somewhat frost sensitive. Like Allstar fruit needs to be picked firm ripe, or can turn mealy in extreme heat.

Winblo - Good quality peach. Very even size and good flavor. Susc. to bac. spot here.

Flavrburst - Bad bac. spot and poor flavor. Plan to remove this year.

Early Loring - Bitter fruit this year, plus bac. spot. Plan to remove.

Canadian Harmony - Significant bac. spot and frost sensitive, but plan to keep for now. Good flavor.

Loring - Large good flavored peaches. Also requested by some customers because it’s been a fairly popular peach.

Bounty - Like Loring, but very unproductive. Plan to get rid of 1/2 of the Bounty trees this year.

Summer Pearl - Bad bac. spot and poor production. Flavor is mediocre. Plan to remove this year.

Early Crawford - Fruit is good tasting but just too small and too little production. Plan to remove this year.

Contender - Good sized productive and good tasting. Frost tolerant. Will probably add more of these in the future.

Veteran - Reminds me a lot of Madison. Good peach flavor, but not a very pretty peach. Heavy producer.

PF23 - Good peach but frost sensitive.

Sugar Giant - Bad bac. spot. White peach I removed last year.

PF24-007 - Big peach but light cropper. Really no reason to grow this peach, as there are better options for this window.

PF24c- One of the better options. Frost tolerant. Good peach.

Coralstar - Good peach but light cropper. Will eventually remove.

Sweet Breeze - Frost tolerant heavy producer. Decent peach as far as sub-acid peaches go, but I don’t like sub acid peaches very much.

JulyPrince - First year harvest and heavy producer, despite the tree having some health issues. Budded more of this variety a few weeks ago.

Blushingstar - Pretty susc. to bac. spot and not that great tasting imo. I know this is a fairly popular white peach, I’m just not that impressed with it and the cosmetic damage from bac. spot makes it that much harder to sell. Plan to remove these trees this year.

Gloria - Heavy producer of “stony hard” sub acid peaches. Produces lots of very clean peaches, but I don’t like sub acid that much. Will keep these trees, but would probably replace them with something else if they died.

Baby Crawford - Very peachy flavor. Frost tolerant. Good peach. No red in the flesh.

Madison - Very frost tolerant and productive. See Veteran

Glowingstar - Good peach.

Cresthaven - Some bac. spot, but otherwise good.

PF25 - Frost sensitive, but otherwise a good peach.

Redskin - Poor color but productive and good flavor.

Carolina Gold - Good peach, but light cropper.

Fantasia nect - Decent nectarine this year.

Lady Nancy - Huge peaches and good flavored white.

PF27a - Frost sensitive, but otherwise good peach

PF28-007 - Very frost sensitive, but otherwise good.

Messina - Very frost sensitive and subacid. Will probably eventually remove.

O’Henry - Somewhat frost tolerant. Good flavored peach, but somewhat bac. spot sensitive.

Encore - Consistent heavy cropper. Frost tolerant, but sometimes not that great in the sugar category.

Laurol -Very frost tolerant. Heavy cropper. Some bac. spot, but a good peach.

PF35-007 - Frost tolerant. Good big peach.

Autumnstar - Good peach, but not as frost tolerant as 35-007.

Snow Giant- Removed last year because of bac. spot.

Victoria - Very nice late peach.

September Snow - Removed last year because of bac. spot.

Sweet Bagel - Terrible bac. spot on the fruit. Spot is so bad it cracks the fruit. A lot of the fruit drops from bac. spot. If you can get some fruit, the fruit is very good quality. It’s probably one of the best sub acid yellows I’ve tasted, but I can’t grow it here. Will remove this year.


Thanks for that very comprehensive report. Seems like the PF and Haven series’ have done well for you.

But, sounds like a lot of the others are underperforming for you as well, especially the whites… Sounds like you’ll be giving your new chainsaw a good workout!

Glad to hear your results with Glenglo, Victoria, Contender and some of the PF’s, as I was maybe considering adding some of those next year. Of course, our growing environments are quite different, so can’t really expect similar results. But, it’s still is interesting to see real world results.


I only have 4 trees, My season is not over. Indian Free is not ripe yet. A keeper for me, as I like the red fleshed acid peaches, and this is one. Production decent, size is small to medium. Had about 70% of fruit buds survive. Expected harvest date is October 3rd.
Pf-13 lost all fruit buds to freeze. The only tree to lose all buds.
Spice Zee Nectaplum - No loss of any buds in the freeze. 66 nectarines off of 4th leaf tree, 7 feet tall. Low brix this year, yet taste is good. Prefer them like this. Reports of small fruit elsewhere, here it’s large! Largest of all my trees.
Arctic Glo - 60% fruit bud survival, excellent nectarine, high acid and sugar (for here, 15-20 brix) Brix is usually higher too, I didn’t take brix last year, from taste this year, i would say brix was 25 last year. This tree is awesome, good grower.

I have never had bacterial spot problems here in 4 years. Brown rot is here, but less than 1% of the fruit had problems. It is fairly easy to grow stone fruit here with spray program. Environmental pressure is more of a concern here than pests, possible late freezes and cold winter temps is the concern. Anyway because of the low pest pressure, I can’t comment on how resistant these trees are to bac spot, or brown rot.

Some of these trees are not typical or underrated Midwest trees, so thought I would mention my results.


Killer report Olpea. Lots of great info in that post. I only have one peach tree (Scarlet Prince) but I’d like to add Glenglo and Indian free next year.

I would like to remind everyone that region is very important- some of my experience in S. NY State with the varieties mentioned mirror Olpea’s but some don’t. Coralstar is a consistent heavy cropper here and the only year Rich May has cropped for me, all the fruit was high sugar and it was extremely pleasing to have such a flavorful peach in June. Of course, one season it too early to give it an endorsement, but since Olpea has not had a single good season with it and it seems to do well in the southeast for commercial growers, I thought I should mention it. I certainly ordered more trees of this variety.

Desiree is fantastic on years with ample early summer sun and I don’t consider Messina to be sub-acid- it tastes like a fairly balanced peach to me and I prefer it to Madison.

Gold Dust has been a light cropper and if Olpea has the same variety as me he probably would note that it is a crazy vigorous grower, which probably contributes to its shy cropping. Maybe frequent summer pruning of all but weakest shoots could convert it to more productivity in the humid regions- or maybe it needs to mature and takes a few extra years to calm down and become productive where it rains during the growing season.

Earnie’s Choice is a standout for flavor but also for the fact that the fruit all ripens at once on the tree- good for a commercial grower but if you are a home grower not grafting or preserving fruit you’d probably get better service out of someone else’s choice.

Also JohnBoy and Loring are almost the same peach to me, except JB is an early ripening sport. Loring is a popular old variety because it gets good sugar and size, great texture and nice orange colored flesh- the flesh of Johnboy is notably deeper colored here than Redhaven and sweeter- at least in my orchard. It is also one of the peach and nect types that have large, beautiful flowers which may help it sustain popularity in home orchards.

Olpea, I’m thinking you might want to try Autumn Glo as a late. It is related to Encore but produces bigger peaches of quite good but not exceptional quality.

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You’re right on Messina. It was late last night and got mixed up on this one. Messina did get hid hard by the frosts this year (only had 20% of its cropping potential) but it is not sub-acid. Thanks for catching that.

I have mixed feelings about Madison. It’s very productive and has a lot of peachy flavor, but because of it’s very poor coloring, doesn’t have much eye appeal. As you know, it picks over a long period.

This year Julyprince (which ripens a tad earlier) was the best of both worlds. Very productive, good flavor, good color, but this is the first year Julyprince fruited for me, so not much experience with it.

Thanks for the tip on Autumnglo for a late peach.

Thanks for the reviews. Contender, Sweet Breeze,and JohnBoy all sound like winners. I’d love to hear what all did well for southern growers.

Tremendous report, thanks.

All my peaches got froze out this year-- boo hoo.

Gold Dust and White Lady have proven very vigorous for me. White Lady grows straight up and requires lots of pruning to achieve anything remotely open as a center. Blushingstar grows strong too, but behaves better-- growing into a vase shape more readily. O’Henry keeps getting attacked by borers, but soldiers on. My new Loring has grown weakly, but looks okay. Same with Harrow Diamond. Redhaven has settled in nicely. I have Baby Crawford on Citation; it is a cute little tree.

I second the Coralstar, heavy and really great tasting.

Awesome report Olpea! I have about 120 slots to fill in a new planting next spring. I’m probably going to stick with Red Haven and Contender, but I might try a few Saturn for he heck of it.

Awesome list -Thanks for sharing, I see a lot of variety I’m not familiar with, but a few I know.

Does there seem to be any relationship between how well the peaches from particular breeding programs do in your climate?

Not conclusively for my area. Some in the Haven series get bac. spot, as do some peaches from North Carolina (I didn’t mention Intrepid and Challenger because they haven’t fruited, but they get bac. spot here, as does Winblo.) Same with some of the Rutgers peaches. Some of the Prince peaches also get bac. spot here. Bac. spot is really my worst peach disease issue at the farm because I can’t control it. I sprayed the recommended oxytet sprays this year and still didn’t get control on susc. varieties.

The newer Stellar and Flamin’ series peaches seem to have less problems w/ bac. spot, but they definitely have some trees sensitive to early spring frosts.

Almost all Ziager trees I’ve tried don’t work here because of bac. spot. Spring Snow is an exception.

Thanks for the great report Olpea! I have been somewhat delinquent about my own reports recently. Here is some stuff from my log. This year the squirrels and deer were horrible so I didn’t get nearly my usual harvest. On the plus side the rot was not so bad.

I agree about Ernie’s Choice; the critters got nearly all of mine this year but I had a few fruits to remind me how good it is. Several of the ones you are taking out due to disease reasons I had the same issues with (Summer Pearl, Yukon). I am surprised Carolina Gold was light for you, that is probably my most productive peach variety. Nectafest sounds like one I might like to try some year, I want maximal intensity in my nectarines!

Gold Dust - The usual nice early peach. I got more than usual but animals still got the bulk. My tree is now reasonably productive but it took quite a few years to get there.

Clayton - Tree did not set a lot and fruits are decent sized. Birds are getting a lot of them. Its an excellent peach, no more could be asked for in a peach really.

Nectar, Sanguine Pilat, John Rivers - squirrels cleared out sigh.

Summer Beaut - A good tasting nectarine, but a bit soft - some cells are getting crushed on it. They have high sugars but not quite the mega-packed Nectarine scream of Mericrest. Excellent in terms of disease resistance, they are fruits of perfection. Also sizing up extremely well for a nectarine. Anyway overall seems worth keeping for several more years to see how it evolves; its a young tree and the flavor could improve.

Foster - Squrls got nearly all, had one to remind me why I keep it. Quite sour compared to the modern peaches.

Mericrest - Squirrels got nearly all of these on vacation but the ones left were excellent. They finally sized up OK this year, there was less diseases and maybe its related to the tree getting older. The taste is 100% classic nectarine, really excellent.

Kit Donnell - Tasting very similar to what I remember of Early Crawford. In short a classic peach flavor more on the sour side. Only problem this year is the bees are after it.

Zin Dai Jiu Bao - Squirrels got nearly all but the few that came were the usual excellent mild peach.

Early Crawford - Relatively bigger this year. Taste is awesome as usual. Later ones were not quite as good as earlier ones.

Shui Mi Tao - One very nice one, as good as any honey peach gets. Perhaps more flavor than my other honey peaches.

Athena - Very good as usual. Deer pigged on these unfortunately.

Sanguine Tardeva - Excellent this year, large fruits and very tasty and 15 brix. No mealiness. Really an excellent peach! Indian Free but in August.

Carolina Gold - The usual well-balanced, creamy, low-sugar peach. Incredible production, need to thin more for better flavor I expect. Keep this tree since its very productive and perfectly fine for taste if not best.

Fantasia - A bit smaller than Summer Beaut but more flavor. Excellent when well-ripened; not quite up to Early Crawford at its best but really good. Ripens over a long period. Has good texture, lack of rot, etc - WINNER!!!

Pallas - They can be a bit bitter in the skin before being ripe. Taste is good but not great. Athena really is a better version of this peach, it seems to be consistently better and seems to have a bit more flavor on average as well. Also these are super susceptible to rots and bruising. So, topwork most of this tree.

Sanguine Tardive de Chanas - less sweet more red than Sanguine Tardeva. I like ST more - I could remove part of this tree and would not miss it. One advantage of this tree is it ripens over a long period and has little overlap with Sanguine Tardeva, so seems worth keeping at least some of.

Late Crawford - getting bug damage on nearly all fruits. The ones that ripened well are excellent.

Rio Oso Gem - really quite an outstanding peach, seems to be the best in this period as it is better than Late Crawford.

Oldmixon - the usual excellent. Lots of bugs this year.

O’Henry - A more “clean” peach flavor than e.g. the Crawford peaches. Excellent. Small this year due to tree decline.

Indian Free - all rotted as often is the case.

Heath Cling - not in yet.


Yes, I’m beginning to believe it is particularly tender. Your concept about time and length of bloom is certainly partially correct, but it is interesting that varieties that survived late frost for you tended to sometimes survive our strange winter low (-12, which almost certainly wouldn’t have been so devastating if it wasn’t so mild previously). Of course it may be completely related by means of how blossoms not quite as dormant were the ones completely destroyed.

Mark, great report. Many of your peaches I’ve never heard of before, but
that relates to what has been previously posted that peach trees, as well
as most fruit trees, are very geographically specific. A variety that works well
for you may not work well in another location and vice versa. But that’s why
we all grow different varieties. I’m surprised that you didn’t mention Elberta,
which I presumed would do well for you.

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When I start to think that I have had enough of growing peaches and want to give up growing them, here come great reports from Olpea, Scott, et al, making it harder for me to give up on peaches :grin:

Thank you all for sharing your reports.

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By the way, I share your enthusiasm for Glenglo. I only got to sample a few of them off nursery trees last year, but they were exceptionally sweet for their season. Last season ACN sold out of them before I placed my order in early summer- this year I placed my order as soon as they were taking them in Spring and got my list back with the disappointment that they were sold out! I don’t think I’m getting preferred treatment over there.

My Glenglos are now already ordered for 2018.

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Some great reviews there, I read w/ interest.

Based on your comments, maybe I’ve been too hard on Carolina Gold and Gold Dust. The Carolina Gold in my back yard was planted in 2010. It’s never produced really well, but this year it produced about the same as last year, but that was in the face of some pretty severe frosts in my backyard, which was hit the hardest. It certainly did better this year than a lot of varieties in my backyard, so maybe it’s better than I thought. I just have one tree. One customer specifically requested this peach (I don’t know where she’d heard of it before) and she requested more after she bought some. She also got some Ernies choice and said those were the best peaches of the season (They were super good this year, like if you were able to bottle a concentrate of peach flavor, sort of like a very good nect.)

I have three Clayton trees growing from the germplasm you sent a few years ago. I didn’t have a lot of fruit but tasted one or two and they were very good. My trees didn’t set a lot either, and they are in a section where the coons hit the younger trees hard.


That’s good you brought that up. Elberta is such a time tested fruit, a lot of people still grow it. My wife’s grandfather (in southern KS) loved that peach and adequately described the peach as pure peach syrup (they were dry down there with rocky well drained soil and Elberta ripened in some of the driest part of the year).

For me, I’ve been afraid to try it because of so many reports of bac. spot. My neighbor grows it and it is smaller and doesn’t color well. That wouldn’t necessarily stop me, but bac. spot is such an issue for me here, anymore it’s almost a non-starter for me. We get so much wind here in KS any susc. of bac. spot seems to show up with a vengeance in my orchard.

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Just a heads up, the patent runs out in Feb. of next year (that’s why I didn’t bud any this fall). I plan to try to graft some next spring, even though my spring grafting successes for peaches aren’t that great.

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Good, I have plenty of wood and a bunch of crappy Flavorburst trees that need to be either destroyed or changed over. I want to be able to offer customers Glenglo as soon as possible so I’ll probably ether cleft for a new trunk or graft 3 individual scaffolds.