Help me pick a few more fruit trees

Hello all,

We started our orchard this spring with some apple, pear, pecan and peach trees.
I think we have enough apples (14!), pecans (8), and euro pears (3).

We just have a couple of peach trees, a Redhaven and Coralstar. I would like to add maybe 3 more peach, including a white one. Here are my possibilities:

PF Flaming Fury PF 28-007
Blushingstar (white)

How would you rate these as far as flavor, disease resistance, storage (as in canning), growing difficulties, etc?

I understand Madison and Reliance are more cold hardy, but was wondering if that sacrificed flavor. All these varieties would be on Bailey rootstock, which I think would be plenty hardy for my location (NE Ky). Does anybody know if Bailey is a dwarfing RS?

Also, I was checking out Asian pears, and they intrigue me. They seem to look more like apples than Euro’s do. Do they taste more “applely”, than a Euro? More gritty? Also, are they more prone to diseases, like fireblight?

Thanks in advance for your responses.

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Reliance is a good pie peach. Mine are very susceptible to Brown rot. Overall the trees are very good but this is a higher disease area for stone fruit.

Growing up eating more A pears than apples, I do not think they taste similar. A pears are juicer, almost watery at times. Apples are denser.

However, a. pears are called apple pears by some. So, to some, they taste similar, I guess. I only have grown and eaten only four varieties. The only one I really like is Korean Giant aka Olympic.

I don’t know how well it will do in your area. Some A. Pears are more susceptible to fire blight than others. Fire blight resistance appear to be climate specific, too.

So, are you saying you’re close to me in location, and that peaches, nects, cherries,etc don’t do so well here? What other peach varieties do you have?

When I checked a UK college article on fruit growing they said peaches grow well in certain parts of the state, specifically the western part, and along the Ohio river. I called the local UK extension office, and they said peaches should be OK here, but nectarines not so much. Also tart cherries have a better shot here than sweet ones.

Glenglo reported to be a good disease-resistant yellow. The ones I’ve had (ripe the 4th week of July) were tangy; freestone; with a melting texture. Not super sweet but sweet enough to be good. Bonus is they come early (roughly a week before Redhaven).

Blushingstar is a phenomenal-tasting white. Super sweet mild white peach flavor in late August. Some reports say it is cold hardy and resists late frosts, but my buds got froze out this year.

An Amish nurseryman in PA tells me that Madison is his most bud-hardy peach. It produces yellow-fleshed fruits when all others get froze out.

Raritan Rose might work for you too. It is another white peach bred to withstand humid conditions. It has more of a tangy flavor than most other whites.

Redhaven is a good selection-- one of the best on all fronts.

I do not believe that Bailey is dwarfing. The only truly dwarfing peach stock I know of that can handle regional conditions is Citation. Some of the Krymsk stocks MIGHT, but I don’t know.

Krymsk-86 is definitely NOT a dwarf peach stock. It produces a vigorous tree.

I think brown rot, cracking, canker etc. will be more of a concern in wet and warm areas.

Thanks, Matt.

I’m leaning towards Madison and Glenglo, and the last possibility is either a Blushingstar or the PF28-007. Maybe try the former since it’s a white and has good reviews of it. Are the white peaches harder to grow than the yellow’s?

It looks like you maybe on the other side of the Appalachians opposite me. So, our growing seasons are prob pretty close. Same zone, 6b. But, it maybe a bit more humid where you’re at? That might make growing stone fruits more of a challenge, yes?

Limbertwigs sound like a good southern variety, how have they done for you? Also, would like your opinion on Rubinette, Suncrisp and Freyburg. Those are some I might try next year, although Rubinette sounds like a difficult variety to grow, but oh so good when it does well.

@subdood_ky_z6b - I’m less than 1 mile from the KY border, so let me first say welcome and that its nice to see someone else in the KY/TN area. (I also went to grad school at UK in Lexington and love your part of the state). I think you’ll do pretty well with peaches. Some years you (and me) will loose your whole crop to late frosts, but that’s just been 1 out of 4 years for me- though you might get hit more often. Overall, I’ve done pretty well with peaches, but of course they are very high maintenance (I spray every 10 days or so). Of the varieties you listed, I’ve only grown Reliance. ITs a good peach, but while its reported to be more cold hardy, I’ve found it to be about the same as most others. My favorites for this area are Elberta and Contender, but I’ve had pretty good luck with several others. For whatever reason, I find white peaches to be a little more susceptible to a variety of issues, but that may just be me. I’ve only been growing for 4 years and don’t know 1/100th as much as most people here, but because we are in the same area I wanted to comment and let you know peaches are certainly doable here.

BTW…when you have time, make sure you go and locate yourself on the member map. You’ll be the first in KY I think and there are only 2-3 in Tennessee.

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Suncrisp is a good apple. It keeps fairly well, too. I’ve eaten them in winter from an orchard in southern PA kept in a storage shed. They look like a Gingergold, with similar texture, but have a uniquely distinct pear-like essence in the flavor profile.

I have not yet had the chance to taste the others on your list, but am trying to grow them myself based largely on @scottfsmith’s recommendations.

My orchard property hides behind the first (easternmost) ridge of the Catoctin Mountains, near Camp David, about 1,600 feet above sea level. I am further north than you. The mountain propery is technically z6b. Drive just 25 minutes southeast back to my Frederick townhouse and you’ll find it is much milder (z7a) on the piedmont there.

All three of these are great apples. I haven’t found any of them super hard to grow. Freyburg is biennial. If you like sweet/sour go with Rubinette. If you like crisp aromatic and perfect shape go with Suncrisp. If you like unusual anise flavor go with Freyburg. I was out thinning tonight and I have large loads on all three and am really looking forward to this fall.

You might consider selecting varieties for high chilling unit requirements, since that would hopefully make them slower to wake in the spring.

NC State has lots of good info about peaches such as this List of chilling requirements:

NC State has released some cultivars that have high chilling requirements. Contender, Challenger, Intrepid, Carolina Gold, and China Pearl. These are very high on my list of one or two trees that I would add to my orchard given a source.

Contender is widely available and you can get Intrepid from Stark Bros. Not sure about the others.

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Thanks Matt,

You know back about 20 years ago, when PBS ran the Civil War series it really intrigued me, and I really wanted to visit all the famous sites like Gettysburg and Antietam, but never got around to it. Sounds like you’re right in the middle of all of that. Still would like to take a drive up there to see those sites, it’s only 400 miles or so from here.

Plus, you’re prob not that far from Adams County Nursery as well. Have you ever gone up there and get any trees, or are they strictly a catalog/online outfit?

That’s actually where I’ve been shopping for some peach trees, but their inventory is pretty picked over like most nurseries this time of the year. I was checking out Cummins, and the only thing they’re selling now is rootstocks, no trees left, I guess.

I did plant a Redhaven and Coralstar about a month ago, they’re already covered with leaves, although a few are yellowing, think it’s all this rain we’ve been getting. I know peaches don’t like wet feet, so I was out there today digging drainage channels to help them and my apple trees out. Got at least 1-2 inches of rain last night, and the soil’s already pretty saturated. No standing water around the base of the trees, though.

Thanks, Scott,

My tasting experience with apples are pretty limited, mostly store bought varieties. I guess my favorites are Golden Delicious and Fuji’s, so I tried to pick some varieties like those. But, most of them were pretty much based on what I read about on GW and some other sites, like

I do prob like the crisper, tarter types more than most, and don’t really care for the mushy types, but that is prob the result of eating a bunch of store bought apples, when I lived in TX and OK for most my life. Now that we’re in KY, we’re a lot closer to some quality orchards, and plan to try them out this summer/fall.

I was intrigued by Novaspy, Winecrisp, Pristine, Goldrush, Macoun, Winesap, and some Russets, so that’s why I went with those. Plus Grimes Golden are well liked in these parts, so I got a couple of those. Do you have any opinions any of those selections?

I might try those I mentioned in the previous posts next year, among some others. I do need to see how the ones we have do first. I think, though, I would like to add a Kidd’s Orange Red, Suncrisp, Spigold and Jonagold next go round.

I do look, though, at all my little leafy tree whips now, and think, my gosh, what have I got myself into?? It’s not like I don’t already have enough to do on the farm already!

Hi Drew, and thanks,

Yes, I would like to find those types, but they’re not as prevalent on some sites as others, even though Contender is pretty common.

Don’t even know who else would be selling those other varieties. I think I’m going to have to wait until next winter before I order any more trees, as most sites are pretty much picked over, and I don’t want to settle for a variety that may not do well here.

Stark Bros did have a good selection of peach trees, but I’ve avoided them due to their trees being kind of expensive with small caliper sizes, and they’ve haven’t gotten real good reviews. But, I could be wrong maybe they’re OK. I just trusted a place like Cummins and ACN more, who also tell you what rootstock they’re selling whereas Starks does not.

Being in Iowa, what types do you have, and how have they done there?

Hey Kevin,

Thanks for the response. We seem to have similar stories, in that we left the big city, and moved to a farm.

The reasons for our move was more of a response the deterioration of the societal, economic and spiritual state of things, and thought we best get out of the Dallas suburbs. We thought that getting back to a more self-sufficient less hectic lifestyle would serve us better. Some might think it was an over-reaction, but we thought we should take the opportunity when we could.

We were really blessed to be able to move back to my wife’s family farm, and have a lot of good land, plus clean air and water. Plus, we already had a home to move into, so that’s a good as well. Plus, no more outrageous property taxes and HOA’s to worry about…

It hasn’t been easy these last couple of years here, and there’s still lots to do, but I do like it here. But still don’t care for the longer, colder winters.

Sounds like you’ve really got into growing stuff, that’s a lot accomplished in just 3 years or so. You could feed a small army with all that fruit! Did you start like me, saying, “oh I’ll just plant a few trees, a few berry bushes, and that’ll be it”? And it then it just escalated from there? Or, maybe that was your plan all along? Looks like you really like peaches.

Along that same line, we also are doing gardening, and last year, I planted out about 40 tomato plants, and this year I’ll be setting out about 70! Plus, my wife likes potatoes, so she planted a few hills of spuds a month ago. Last I counted, there were over 200 hills! My gosh, we’re going to have to build a new cellar for all the taters alone! We planted 7 rows (50 feet each) of sweet corn, and she sowed about 5 rows of cukes yesterday.

Now if we can keep the deer and other varmits out of our gardens. I just put cages around some of the apple trees, as it looked like deer had been tasting some newly sprouted twigs. Thankfully it looks like they only hit a couple trees, and those weren’t too bad.

I noticed you grow nects and sweet cherries. I talked to a local UK extension agent, and he said those don’t do so well here. Maybe it’s because we’re so much farther north than you? Tart cherries do fare better here, and I’d like to maybe get a North Star, Montmorency or Danube tree for the farm. We have an old tree on the farm, but it’s so tall, the only ones getting the cherries are the birds.

OK, sorry for the novel. It’s good to know that there’s some “local” folks on here. @Lucky_P is also from KY, not too far from you, I believe.

Hi Subdood,

I think Cummins has sold some of these varieties in the past. So maybe they will bud some of them this fall.

I only have one peach: Redhaven. It came from Lowes, on a whim, at the end of the season.

Conventional wisdom is that about 1 in 5 to 1 in 4 years you can get peaches in Iowa. But I HAVE BABY PEACHES this year, which I am super stoked about!

I have gone back and forth on varieties, but if I add more peaches it would be just 1 more tree. I’m in a hollow and my calm air, clear sky temperatures regularly go 5+ degrees lower than the surrounding area, so I need both winter hardiness and long chill to hold them dormant in the spring. As such, I’d rather have late-season keeping apples with the backyard space I have.

Levers, I wouldn’t expect you’d have much trouble with almost any variety of apple in 5B, even in a frost pocket. Well, I should say, at least in regards to conversations involving peaches. Apples seem to understand and respond to unusual weather (as far as bloom) better than any other mainstream fruit tree I’m aware of.
If you can get peaches 20-25% of the time, you should be able to get all but the oddest apples 90%+.

I can’t believe someone apologized to me for writing a “novel”. ha. I’m infamous for my overly-long posts, so I’m the last person on here who minds long entries! ha! And I very much enjoyed yours. I found myself saying “me too” throughout everything you said! I also laughed a little when you asked if, like you, I originally just started with plans to have only a few trees. YES! I still clearly remember laying out my original “orchard”. It was this nice, neat little square area toward the back of my property where there were already 2 fruit trees. I took my little measuring wheel and laid out a nice little 8 tree area (including the 2 existing trees!). I knew that was all the fruit trees one person could EVER need! haha. Over the last 4 years I’ve completely reorganized the “limits” of my orchard about 5 times, resulting in an unfortunate mismatch of every kind of tree one can imagine. Had I known, I’d love to have laid it out by placing fruit types together, but my piece-mill approach has resulted in my having trees of every kind spread out across the area! I tell you all this to both warn you and to suggest you leave more room that you might otherwise have, because this hobby is contagious!

I think your extension agent is generally correct- at least in terms of the general conceived (and probably correct) beliefs about sweet cherries and nectarines not doing well here. If you’ve seem the photos of my sweet cherries ripening you know I’m extremely proud of them for that very reason- they were supposed to not work here. But to be honest, one cup of cherries on a year old tree isn’t exactly the definition of success. Also, the planets all must have lined up just right here this year. Our last frost was very early this year and weather has been great. Please remember I know very little, compared to most on here, about growing fruit and just because I plant something does NOT mean it will work. I also have a few apricot trees, but they also are reputed to be nearly impossible in our area. That being said, I have a few appricots on my tree this year, along with 2 nectarine trees with quite a few nects! I may only get those fruits every few years, but I have the space, enjoy the challenge, so I don’t mind that. But my point is: do as they say, not as I do, unless you also like to bet on the long-short horses!

The critters you are already fighting are also a big challenge. Deer, birds, squirrels, rabbits (eat bark on young trees) and many more animals are one of the biggest problems, so I can relate to you there. I was impressed with your gardening efforts, btw. 200 hills of potatoes is almost as crazy as my fruit tree collection!!! ha. I don’t know if you enjoy watermelons or plan on growing them, but they are my favorite garden plant and I enjoy them soooo much. They do great in our area, btw.

Anyway, I better stop before I have to apologize to you for MY novel. Its just that your own story of leaving the city for a more rural life- and ESPECIALLY your reasons for doing so- really struck a chord in me and I was compelled to tell you that. I can only hope that it works out as well for you as it has for me- I’ve never been happier and I suspect you will be too. I’m sure those central Kentucky winters do seem brutal after living in Texas, but you’ll get used to it. ha Imagine those poor people on here from those TRUELY northern states. The stories and temperatures I’ve seen here from many of our northern members truly make me shiver!

DO you mind me asking a little more specifically what part of KY you are in? It sounded like you were somewhat near the Lexington area but I may had misread that. And you are right about @Lucky_P being another KY member. He’s a great guy with lots of knowledge, and is (IMHO) THE go to guy for all things pecan/nut related.

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Lol. That happens to me too. :slightly_smiling:


I think you are right on the adaptability part. Apples seem to be doing just fine for me. I had 15F on 4/9 between 1/2" green and tight cluster, but it was after 3 days of cooler weather, so I think that gave them the time to adapt to the cold. The two I have that bloomed this year (Liberty and Zestar) are early bloomers and have set a crop. The Liberty especially needs heavy thinning, so I think flower damage by the cold was <10% on the Liberty. Zestar is supposed to be slightly earlier and it looks like I don’t have many fruit set on king blooms, mostly side blooms, so I think damage was closer to 1/3.

The other thing is that my Redhaven had flowers that were turning pink when the freeze happened but I am pretty sure I will have peaches, as they are splitting their shucks right now. (Note: Squirrels are not considered in this assessment.)