Back when I lived in South Dakota I was going to plant a Reliance Peach but the nursery man talked me out of it saying that they weren’t that good and I was better using the space for something else. As I recall he said they would fall off the tree before they got ripe or were green one day and over ripe the next. Those of you that grow them, what is your experience? I would like to graft some peaches for some family members up North and the choices are limited. What other varieties would recommend for zone 4.
Try Intrepid or Contender. Probably need one of each to get cross pollination.
Reliance peach is more prone to drop, and they easily get over ripe (but that may be partially due to the fact they ripen when the weather is 90F+ here, so all peaches tend to over ripen fast if you don’t get them picked, in that weather.)
I’m not a huge fan of Reliance, but I wouldn’t diss it for people in colder climates. I’d probably be growing it if I lived in zone 4 or 5. Picked ripe (or near ripe) off the tree, it’s way better than anything you could get from the store.
That said, I think there are other hardy peaches you could try too. As Mike mentioned, most of the North Carolina varieties are supposed to be pretty hardy. Contender, Intrepid, Challenger, Carolina Gold. Although I’m not aware of any of the North Carolina releases which require cross pollination. In other words, I’m fairly sure those peaches are self pollinating.
Veteran and Madison are supposed to be hardy in at least zone 5 and possibly zone 4. Polly, if you can find it, is supposed to be a very hardy peach.
I’m trialing a peach tree called Wisconsin Balmer. The lady I got the scionwood from said the tree was regularly hardy to -20F and still fruited.
Anyway, those are some more possible options.
My recollection of Reliance peaches back when I lived in upstate NY (3+ decades ago) was that the tree ripened fruit was great. I did not have a lot to compare it with other than store bought, but Reliance was head and shoulders above anything I had ever had from a store. Unfortunately I moved away after only a year or two of fruiting so can’t tell you much about early dropping. Over-ripening was never an issue with the few peached I got as they got eaten as fast as they turned ripe.
Reliance is more disease resistant than contender at my house. The peaches here all struggle with brown rot and canker. In my opinion reliance peaches are fine but there are certainly better peaches out there.
For anyone trying to grow peaches in a marginal climate, Reliance lives up to its name and will produce fruit even after hard winter weather, up to a point. A local orchard which has a great peach collection including all the ones marketed as hardy is a great example-there have been a couple years when the only fruit their 1 acre of peaches has produced were Reliances. Not the best quality, but if it’s the only one to produce still worth growing for sure!
I bought a Reliance tree from Tractor Supply in the spring of 2016, it produced around 8 fruits last summer. It was better than I thought it would be. Here is a pic of the first Reliance I tried last summer: What fruits did you eat today? - #984 by ztom
As I recall, the rest hung on the tree for me without falling and they got sweeter. A few hit 15 brix.
Maybe this will help–> The best Redhavens that summer were better than the best Reliance, but the best Reliance were better than the middle of the pack Redhavens, and all of them were good. The Contenders I got later in the summer were probably better than the Redhaven. Veteran and Madison were probably a little better than Reliance. Again, all of them were good and worth growing in my opinion. I am in what is now considered zone 6a, but traditionally was 5a.
Just a side note, but Fedco has Polly this year. Here’s their description.
"Polly Peach Mid. Probably a cross of Bailey and Prunus davidiana. SA Beach and TJ Maney intro, University of Iowa, Glenwood, Iowa, 1934.
Medium-sized high-quality white-fleshed freestone fruit. Whitish skin with a reddish blush. Reliable cropper.
Resembles the famous Champion, long the standard for white-fleshed peaches. Blooms later in the season. Considered the hardiest white-fleshed peach.
No one knows the origin of the name. We bet it was inspired by Bertolt Brecht’s infamous Polly Peachum, wife of the even more infamous Macheath—Mack the Knife. Z4/5. (3-6’ bare-root trees)
310A: 1 for $30.25"
I echo the sentiment of others that have commented on Reliance. They are heavy & reliable producers. The fruit is delicious…tasty & juicy when picked ripe off the tree. They do not have a shelf life and will shrivel quickly. Either eat, can or cook very soon after picking. And they do seem to have good disease resistance. Of the 3 varieties that I have & all things being equal…I would place them 3rd after Contender & Red Haven but they are still good!
Well, I wish I had planted one when I lived in South Dakota. I’m going to make up a couple of these. Anybody have some Reliance wood or any of the hardy peaches mentioned. I will pay for postage or trade. I have Toka and Stanley plum. I have other plums but don’t know the name. I can include a surprise or two as well.
In Michigan, i have Contender, Reliance, and Redhaven. I am satisfied with all three but Contender is clearly best.
In NY State, zone 4 b, Reliance has proven to be the most reliable so far.
If you need cold hearty, besides the aforementioned modern ones, the classic Veteran is good in cold area and is much better tasting than Reliance. I grew it in 4b for a number of years.
Does anyone have Veteran peach scion wood available?
I guess I would be remiss if I did not mention this. If this is for home use you can simply build a a cinder block wall.and espalier a peach in front of it. I made one in zone 4B and was able to grow apricots.
You don;t even need a foundation. I simply stacked mine and used some 1/2 inch electrical conduit driven into the ground with 2x8 furring strips for stabilizers. . I just priced it out at Menards and it would run you 75-100 dollars and last a lifetime. If you want to get fancy, dye it black and insulate the north side with foam insulation bats.
Fluff, wouldn’t that make the tree bud out too soon in the spring?
The wall held enough heat so I never got frost damage. Though I I did cover them once or twice when a a frost threatened. Pollinators were never an issue for me.
I live in zone 5B the only Peach trees around here that produce good peaches are. Reliant, Conterder, and Elberta. I have a Wisconsin Balmer Grafted on a Reliant peach pit that came up. Time will tell how that goes.
Where have you been lately?