Hello From Charlotte - Peach and Plum recommendations

Hello! I am really happy to have found this forum. I am interested in growing a few peach and plum trees and need some recommendations. I have been reading the NC extension pages and they suggest growing the following peaches in my area: Redhaven, Norman, Carolina Belle (white-fleshed), Winblo, Contender, Summer Pearl (white-fleshed), Cresthaven, Encore, and Legend–and they suggest only Lovell or Halford rootstock. That is not a very long list of choices and most don’t get great taste-test reviews! I have been trying to locate nurseries that carry these varieties on Lovell or Halford rootstock and the only one I can find that has just a few of these is Rabbit Ridge Nursery in Coats, NC. (If you look at the Rabbit Ridge website, they are not overly excited about growing peaches. According to Rabbit Ridge “there is not much to marvel over” about peach trees!). Wow, I think a good home-grown peach is heavenly! There must be other cultivars that I can grow and I would love to get some suggestions regarding what others in my area have successfully grown.

Plums - here is the list from the NC extension website: Japanese: Methley (self-fruitful), Byrongold, Burbank, Ozark Premier (may bloom early). European: Bluefre, Stanley, Shrophire (Damson). Again, a very short list. The NC extension doesn’t say much about appropriate plum rootstocks -Is rootstock an important consideration when growing plums?

I have read good things about Ison’s Nursery and they do offer a lot of cultivars, but I believe their peaches are on Guardian rootstock and I am not sure about their plums. Would Guardian work in the Charlotte area? Based on reviews, I would love to try a couple of these: Au Rubrum, Beauty, Burgundy and Golden Nectar plums (from Ison’s), but they are not recommended by NC extension for my area, so I am hesitant. Ison’s also offers some hybrid trees: Candy Heart Pluerry, Sweet Treat Pluerry, Spring Satin Plumcot, Spice Zee Nectaplum, etc. Has anyone had success growing these hybrids in the lower Piedmont?

As you can probably tell, I am a newbie. I have only successfully grown the easy fruits: figs, mulberries, blueberries and blackberries. Even my triple-crown blackberry bushes that are 4 years’ old do not produce well for me. The Fuyu Persimmon that I grew for 3 years just succumbed to scale. (So now I know why the army of ants was running up and down the tree!. Live and learn - but I learned a little too late about Tangle Foot to save my persimmon). That won’t happen again. Anyway, I would love any suggestions, recommendations and tips from you seasoned fruit-growers. I don’t want to spend a lot of money on trees that I cannot successfully grow here in the Charlotte area. Thanks!


Hi Elizabeth,

Welcome aboard. A few things I want to mention. Re the peach list you mentioned, Redhaven, Winblo and Contender are often mentioned here as very good tasting peaches. Guardian as a rootstock should be fine.

To access more resource, on the top right corner of this page, there is a symbol of three short lines next to your avatar. Click on it, a list of categories will show up.
Click on Resource category, several resources including nursery list will show up
Then, click on Nursery list and explore. Nurseries on this list are recommended by forum members as reliable.

You do not need to confine to only your in-state nurseries. People mail-order their bare root trees from across the country. You should place order anytime from Sept - March but the earlier will guarantee you that the varieties you want are available.

We have members from SC. The only person I remember from the top of my head is @rayrose
@speedster1- Dave is overseeing the map of our member locations so he probably can tell you who live near you. Those who live near you probably could give you good advice as their climates and issues would be similar to yours.

Hope you stick around.


Welcome LittleBelle! I would start by not taking your extension recommendations as exclusive; based on what you list they are 20+ years out of date. Someone needs to update those recommendations and very often they either get nothing or only minor updates.

One good place to start is with the southern nurseries such as Isons or Just Fruits and Exotics, any variety and rootstock they mention is worth looking in to.

Along with the people Tippy mentioned Bill / @Auburn is in a similar climate in Alabama. Also Rick / @blueberrythrill and Ryan / @misterguy are in NC. They will know your climate well and will be able to give you some good recommendations. From my experience and memory of what others liked, Winblo, AU Rubrum, and Spring Satin are all good choices. I would skip the European plums as they are more disease-prone.


Here is a list produced by one of the largest Peach growers in NC in conjunction with an extension agent focused on Peach production. The list is from 2006 so its not current. Vaughn is a good source of peach trees s for NC. Peaches do well here but plums do not. Peach Tree Short life is a problem which kills peach trees in my climate that is not well understood but is especially bad on sandy soils in NC.


Another list with tips for peach growing peaches in NC but fails to mention Guardian rootstocks: https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/growing-peaches-in-north-carolina

I also second Scott’s opinion about not following the advice of the NC ext recommendations. Vaughn and Cumberland Valley are the ONLY places to buy your trees. They are much cheaper than anyone else, and they both sell excellent stock. Insist on getting your peaches on Guardian and NOTHING else. Not only will the trees be more robust, but they’ll be resistant to nematodes and PTSL disease. Winblo and July Prince are my personal favorites.
Although I’m in Columbia, your climate is no different then mine, and if I can grow it, so can you. As for plums, AU Rubrum is my favorite and is bullet proof and a very high yielder. I would plant it with Santa
Rosa. Although both are self fruitful, you’ll get tremendous fruit set from both trees. I’d also recommend Spring Satin plumcot. If you’ll do a search, I recently posted pictures of AU Rubrum and Spring Satin.

Thanks for the recommendation, but all I can confirm is that Japanese plums aren’t exactly a piece of cake either. I used organza bags without surround and pretty much every plum I saved from the squirrels has some kind of worm in it.

I have pretty much tried collecting all the varieties developed by NCSU and all I can tell you at this point is that Reliance and Contender are solid choices for frost prevention, which may out weigh any other concerns. Even though I grow them poorly, in terrible conditions, I have gotten peaches from them that I was super pleased with.

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I’m north of you a bit in the Triad and my trees have done really well. I haven’t had peaches or J plums until this year, tho, because we had warm Februaries with deep freezes later. So I prefer hardy and/or late blooms!

I beat the wormy bad guys fine (chemicals) and seem to be mostly beating the wildlife. I basically live in the woods, so that worried me.

We did have a couple of spread-out deep freezes during bloom, and I still got a few dozens of fruit on Redskin peach and Bruce plum. My trees are still only about 6-7 feet tall and probably made 15 times that many blooms? Other trees the same size didn’t work with the temps during bloom, so choices of variety matter a lot that way!

Edit- my peaches are on seedling peach roots or nemared. I do water them during drought.

Thank you mamuang. I appreciate the help with the resources and recommendations. I am looking forward to checking everything out. I do plan on sticking around!

Thanks Scott. I know what you mean about the extension website. It is terribly outdated. I guess they don’t have the staff/resources to update it. I am glad you mentioned Just Fruits and Exotics. I was wondering about them, but thought maybe what they sold was only good for Florida. It’s good to know I have more options than I originally thought I did. Thanks again.

Okay, so I was just “told” to consider replying to several posts at once. So thanks to everyone who replied. I am going to checkout Vaughn and Cumberland Valley and those Au Rubrum, Santa Rosa, Spring Satin Reliance, Contender, Redskin and Bruce trees. I am happy that there are many choices that work in my climate. Cafe, I too have a wildlife problem. The back on my house butts up against a wooded area and the rabbits and deer eat everything. It’s frustrating.

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When you want to alert anyone, all you need to do is use a symbol @ +a handle name.

For example, if you want to alert Cafe, you just @Cafeaulait. He will get an alert that someone mentioned him.

im also from NC and am a first year peach tree planter, and am an organic gardener i prefer to do it that way, so all of my advice will be organic
from what i’ve gathered you will have to treat your peach trees with cold pressed neem oil once a year preferably in early to mid spring and may need to spray them with copper at pink tip to prevent peach leaf curl and you may need another method to prevent bugs from eating the peaches once they’ve set, maybe clemson fruit bags.

i planted Loring Peach, Tangos Peach, Arctic Jay White Nectarine, Indian Free White Peach

feel free to look over these varieties, Loring gets high marks all around for a orange peach, and i’ve seen it listed in 20 year old books as a great peach

Candy Heart Pluerry, Flavor Supreme Pluot, Emerald Drop Pluot, Bubblegum Plum (Toka), Emerald Beaut Plum, Weeping Santa Rosa Plum

also Northstar Pie Cherry,

baylaurel nursery is a good site and so is cummins nursery for peaches

you will have to treat most prunus species(Cherry, Plum, Peaches, Nectarines and Interspecifics) to prevent peach tree borers

i am no expert but am a first year planter and i will list the precautions i have taken

i sprayed water soluble bonide copper concentrate at pink tip (when new leaves start to emerge in spring from the wood) to prevent peach leaf curl, some reccomend not spraying until you know for sure peach leaf curl is a problem in your area
because spraying “too much” copper might hurt your plants if sprayed too much over time

and painted cold pressed neem oil two feet up the trunk and a few inches below the soil line, letting a small amount pool around the base of the tree where peach tree borers would attack.

here is a link to the thread i made on this issue and the earlier it gets colder in your area the sooner peach tree borers emmerge

so early spring if probably a good time for you to do this chore

since it isn’t winter/ dormant season yet i haven’t sprayed bonide all seasons horticultural oil yet, and since i haven’t had a fruit set yet i haven’t had to use clemson fruit bags

the only other advice i can give a new fruit tree grower is to heavily work the soil with alot of organic things like dead leaves those work well, before you plant to ensure a good start and a healthy fertilized tree

feel free to grow along with me and don’t be afraid to ask for help we have a lovely group of people here that want to see you succeed at growing fruit, especially peaches

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Unless something has changed Ison Peach trees are on Lovell (maybe Halford) but definitely not Guardian rootstock. I ordered from them this past season.

There are a lot of good suggestions in this post, I will add my 2 cents. North Carolina had issues years ago with back to back years where frost decimated the commercial cops. So frost will be an issue. NC Univ Ext program developed trees that were frost tolerant - in this case means bud/bloom frost tolerant. Contender and Intrepid both from the NC program are the two that seem to pop up as being listed as frost hardy. I have a Contender and it seems to be frost hardy. My Intrepid is to young to know, but Contender has been good for me. Others can weigh in on this but I would not recommend a peach tree with less than a 750 chill hour rating. Elberta has done well for me but is a very old variety and does not have the best reputation. By the way, I am north of you in Virginia. I would not think Guardian rootstock would be necessary in your area but I guess it would not hurt. I have not ordered from this company but they do sell trees on Guardian - http://rootofdavidnursery.com/peaches.html

For best control of leaf curl, you’ll want to spray before the leaf bud scales loosen (i.e. dormant season). If you see any leaf tissue start to emerge, it’s too late for best control of leaf curl.


As Spud, Rayrose and Blueberry point out, it’s best to get peach trees on Guardian in the Carolinas, to avoid PTSL.

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that is good advice, i’ll do that next year

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So far, I have checked out Cumberland Valley, Vaughn and Ison’s. Cumberland Valley has a $100 minimum order and since their prices are so reasonable that is a lot of trees. Too many for me. I am thinking of going with Ison’s and Vaughn. For $100, I could get approximately 10 trees from Cumberland or Vaughn, but only four from Ison’s! Big difference, but I can’t plant that many trees in one season. I am going to give Contender a try. I’m still looking at all the other recommended peaches. Regarding the plums, Au Rubrum sounds good as does the Spring Satin plumcot. Vaughn doesn’t have Au Rubrum or Spring Satin on their list, so I guess I will be ordering those from Ison’s. I would like to try Santa Rosa for the mix of tart skin/sweet flesh, but the low chill-hour requirement worries me. We have had late frosts the last couple of years. Any thoughts on this? @cafeaulait, do you like the taste of the Bruce plum and Redskin peach? @MisterGuy, do you grow the Reliance for fresh-eating or canning? I have read that Reliance is best used for canning and I just want some nice sweet, juicy peaches for fresh eating.

With so many opinions about spraying, it really, really confuses me. I need to do some more research about it. I appreciate all the great feedback from everyone.

Cumberland Valley doesn’t really enforce the $100 minimum.
I’ve ordered a lot less than that many times.

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SR doesn’t bloom any earlier really, its more on peaches that the low-chill varieties bloom earlier from my experience. But it can have severe setting problems, I tried for 15 years before I finally topworked mine. Weeping Santa Rosa sets very well and also tastes a bit better, I highly recommend it if you can find it. Also Satsuma is excellent and reliable.

You have several years to figure out the whole spraying thing, its a lot to learn but you have a lot of years to get up to speed :grinning: Mistakes made one year can be fixed the next year.

I was very pleasantly surprised by Bruce. Our spring was hot, but you know all about that :slight_smile:

It’s reliable after frosts and early! The skin is about as tart as Santa Rosa and the flesh is juicy and sweet. It has a spice taste that SR doesn’t have. When really ripe, it had a bit of tropical taste, like a bit of papaya to it.

I like it harder and more tart, so I pick the ones for me early.

The tree is pretty because it’s a little weepy. But be warned that I got Bruce as a pollinator and he didn’t work on my mystery plum! Bruce is a hybrid with Americana so maybe that’s why.

My peaches haven’t ripened up yet, but they are getting there!