Late peaches are unsatisfactory - what to do next year?

W have three lawn planted peach trees, elberta, red haven and star haven. Two years ago we had one tree ripen in august and produce amazing ready to eat peaches loaded with juice and flavor. Two trees produced hard peaches that never smelled or tasted ripe and finally got harvested in october (didnt turn ripe looking until well into sept). Many were mealy and many just tasted more like an under ripe peach. Anything left to ripen inside justgot worse texture and no better flavor.

Last year we had no peaches at all (frost)

This year we had one tree of amazing peaches mid august. And we are on track for a repeat. Two trees look fully ripe but do not smell ripe and most any picked are hard and taste under ripe. I do jot have memory of this happening before, we got fewer peaches when the trees were smaller but never mealy/lacking flavor. Always we like tree ripe.

Im in denver co and this year have let the grass mostly die to water more for the trees. I dont know whether to pick whats there now or not. They do cook up nice with added sugar but thats not what we want at all. Two years ago i made amazing vinegar with the mealy ones.

What can i do to ripen these earlier next year? I thin the trees and the peaches are a good size, should i thin more aggressively? Supplement? Rain dance? Ritual sacrifice? Help?

I live around Denver as well. This year was pretty rainy early on which can affect the trees. In regards to the late season comment those are early/midseason peaches. Elberta is midseason, Red Haven is early to mid and not sure about star haven. Also Elberta peaches are a relic of the past now. There are improved varieties now but are still so so compared to other varieties. Elberta was good when shipping was harder. Red Haven still has staying power due to it’s taste though.

I read your post twice, I still don’t know which variety produced good peaches and which not. I also don’t know the variety that produced quality peaches last year was the same one this year.

It would help to be more specific.

I’m interested to know which varieties are not working for you as well.

I’m in south Denver and my Elberta on Nemaguard just wrapped up this week. Planted next to a fence line which helps the ground stay cool and delays flowering - I have first flowing on this tree at May 4th this year. I also didn’t thin much due to hail damage early in the season. Texture and taste were fine.

My hunch is something else is afoot if they are still no where near ripe. Have the trees ever produced good fruit?

I dont know which are which. Sorry to leave that out but over the years it has been lost info and i havent the foggiest idea how to find out

I’m pretty sure Elberta would be your latest peach, although I’ve never heard of Star Haven and doubt you have one because I searched for it on the internet and couldn’t find any reference of it. Some producer may have invented the name for a less appealing sounding variety. Varieties are often easily figured out by looking up the relative ripening times and Elberta ripens over a month after Red Haven.

I would think in your climate Elberta would be delicious even though it is a mediocre variety by today’s standards. Even here in the NE, where it’s harder to get up good sugar in peaches, no one complains about the quality of Elberta in the orchards where I’ve planted it (stopped growing it in my nursery about 20 years ago). Any decent peach is delicious when tree ripened under generous sun.

I wonder if your poor quality peaches aren’t the result of allowing a sucker below the graft of the named variety becoming the variety you now have on two of your trees. That is a common occurrence and seems the most likely explanation of the poor quality of your fruit. All named varieties of tree fruit are the result of grafting a clone onto a seedling or clonal rootstock. I believe all peach rootstocks are propagated from seed although some are apparently more tightly controlled genetically than others, but none are selected for fruit quality.

If I was you, I’d simply cut down the trees that produce crappy fruit and replant with varieties known to excel in your climate. Here, my last really high quality late peaches come from Laurel and Autumn Star and my latest from Victoria, which are good enough. The alternative is to try your hand at grafting.

If you can provide enough water and nitrogen you can be harvesting crops by the second or third season after planting. Wide spread mulch helps a lot and don’t allow any competition from grass or weeds for establishing trees.


I am breaking my Red Haven/Contender only cycle next season and putting in 11 Messina peach trees as a trial for a later variety (I’m shooting for a Sept.1 -15 window). Our Contender were early this season and completely done by the end of August.

Messina is one of the modern huge varieties. That makes them a little tougher than smaller varieties as far as controlling brown rot if you are going low-spray. I’m now using PF28 in its season, but I won’t cut down my own tree of Mess. Nice boasting peaches although I prefer one I can actually eat in entirety in one sitting. I’m mostly eating my Redgold and Fantasia nectarines in that time-frame anyway- at least when they have crop. PF 28 has a little more tolerance of late frosts, I think.

That said, I sampled Selena from a nursery tree this year and it may just be the best one in that time frame for flavor that I’ve tasted. I’m very excited about it and my rep at ACN called it her favorite peach. Avalon is her favorite nect, and that one also tasted amazing on nursery trees this year. I found out they were her fav when I told her how much I liked them.


Just wanted to mention, Messina was a complete bust here. Trees hardly produced anything here for multiple years.

28-007 ripened at the same time. It was better production, but still pretty wimpy in our marginal peach climate. Encore which ripened a day later here was much more regular, with lots of production, but has an issue getting decent sugar.

I’ve found 35-007 is the best alternative for my climate. It ripens 3 days after Messina and 28-007. Good flavor, size and lots of regular production.

I’m currently trialing some Tiana trees for the window, just for the heck of it.

These are just my experiences in a climate probably significantly different than the Northeast.


In my experience, anything released by Rutgers is productive in my region- NJ being a neighbor state. I used to have Messina in my nursery and it is productive in all the areas I work that I maintain it, although a tree right on the beach in Greenwich CT. got terrible PLC- the worst I’ve ever seen. I suspect any variety you can crop we can also but that the reverse isn’t so.