My first peach harvest

Hello all

This is the first year

I’ve had peaches. I bagged them all in the spring. They’re totally organic and I didn’t do much to the tree.

Just harvested most of them tonight. I noticed a couple of the bags were torn, when I took them off saw small black ants near the stem on most of them. Even peaches with the bags intact had ants inside, as its not a perfect seel. So I decide to pull most of them even though they risking being too green.

Most of the ants appeared to be shuttling small white maggot looking things from the stem of the peach to the branch. They had even made very minor holes near the stem on the fruit in some cases. Any idea what’s going on and how to stop it? I’m guessing tanglefoot, although this tree has got several paths from the ground up I can’t get rid of.

This tree has been covered in all kinds of bugs all summer, so I’m surprised most of the fruit looks great, and only ants appear to be bothering most of them.

Until today, I didn’t even know you could pick peaches before they are fully ripe. Hope I’ve done it at the right time. I just can’t imagine them getting ripe on the tree and surviving all of the bugs and birds around here.

Tried one of the more ripe ones and it tasted great.

Some may never ripen. I had to make an in-field call. The greenest ones were removed from the tree accidentally, so I thought I would give them a shot them rather than throw them in the compost.

I’m curious about the ants: What were they doing with those maggots. It looked as if they were placing them all around where the stem meets fruit and chewing holes there. Did I catch these peaches just in the nick of time, or do the ants stop the hole when tiny, doing some kind of farming operation with those maggots? I just saw the fruit starting to ripen up, and I couldn’t imagine a breach in the skin covered with ants and maggots being a good thing with the tree covered in bugs and birds.

A few of the peaches had half turn to mush or had large holes with lots of ants and maggots in them and other bugs. I was worried that would be the result for all the fruit within a week if I waited.

Some of the smaller fruit had detached from the branch on its own but was still in the bag. Amazingly it looked fine and ripe and we ate it when I got home and it was delicious.

I’ve left quite a bit of fruit still on the tree as an experiment to let it ripen further and see what happens. Next time I’m up I’ll put tanglefoot type stuff around the trunk. Due to the layout of the situation it will be of limited use, but it may slow them down at least.

I also did a lot of pruning to open it up and get some sun in on the fruit. Is it dangerous to remove very large branches that are going much too high? or should I wait for the winter for that?

Edit: Tried Upload a photo showing side by side comparison with the commercially grown peach, but the file sizes too big for this form.


I hope they ripen for you

I picked most of my Harglow apricots yesterday and noticed that where the Japanese beetles had gnawed through the netting, the fruit was starting to rot

First, let me say congratulations! It was just 2 years ago that I picked my first peaches and I remember how thrilled I was and how proud it made me. While people on here are good at it and make it work every year, the fact is that many people have a very hard time getting peaches all the way to maturity, so its quite an accomplishment and you should be proud. Those are nice peaches and quite large, so you did a great job. The fact that you did it completely organic makes it a much, much more impressive feat.

The last thing in the world I’d ever want to do is diminish your enthusiasm in any way, but I am a little worried that you might have picked them too early. Then again, the fact that they were bagged might have kept them from coloring up as much as expected. Hopefully they have plenty of sugar and will soften up and be delicious! Great job!!!


Being that you’re in Japan, makes it very difficult for any of us to
give you advice. You 're better off seeking opinions from people
and authorities where you live.

Well, in spite of Ray Rose’s sage suggestion to seek local advice, I’m going to give you some all the way from New York. Don’t wonder if fruit is ripe enough before harvesting it- take a bite and see if it has developed adequate sugar- especially with stone fruit that doesn’t really do much conversion of starch to sugar after harvest.

There is no real value in picking fruit no fun to eat because you think it may be destroyed, unless you like your own waxed fruit for artistic purposes :wink: (thank you Japan of emoji).

I’m guessing ants were moving aphids because that is the only other species I know of that ants have that relationship with- unless they were moving ant larva or prey. I assume outdoor ant stakes are available there and they are one low-toxic way to deal with ants. Low toxic because all the poison reaches the pest without leaving any on trees or fruit.


I’ve got a single Scarlet Prince peach growing now and I have no clue when I should pick it. It has a little bacterial spot buy has grown a lot recently. If not going much about this variety other than its freestone so I assume it’s after Red Haven. If a critter doesn’t get there first I’ll just watch it’s color and check its firmness I guess.

Scarlet Prince ripens 13 days before Elberta, and should be ripening
now in zone 8. Since you’re in zone 6, yours should be ripening soon.
The Prince series usually colors up to almost all red right before it’s ripe.


Thanks a lot guys.
Alan, thanks I got tanglefoot-esc tape today, I’ll look for those spikes.
Everyone was pretty surprised. One of my students gave us a couple of grade-A store-bought ones (5$ each), and my wife said ours tasted sweeter. When I planted them last year, a local farmer with much more experience than me said she gave up on peaches as they are always filled with bugs inside when she went to harvest them and cut her trees down. The cheapest you can buy them here are two dollars apiece if you buy them in a box of 15, and they look exactly like the ones you see here.
All of them, even the harder ones, taste pretty good. Possibly the color from being bagged, and the blue box throwing off my camera’s RGB sensor, they look more “green” than they really are. Or maybe they really are too green. I have no idea as Ive never done this before.
What’s the deal with those ants? Are ants on fruit like this a death nell? Or normal nothing special to be concerned about?
On consequence of bagging is I had to go completely by feel. If the fruit gave at all with a hard squeeze I picked it. I know softer would be better, but again, the bugs question.

Well congratulations then. You got to learn without the usual pain of it being from a mistake. And if your wife is pleased also, you have achieved orchardman hero status!

Congrats Mr. Nice Guy,

That box of peaches does look striking. I’m sure it’s the bags which prevented red pigmentation (although as you point out the picture makes them look a bit green). I wonder what that variety would look like if left unbagged?

Your post of a distinctly looking box of peaches prompted me to post a pic of an assortment box of peaches I sold to a customer today. It’s pretty much the opposite of yours, with the different colors.

That’s truer than you know Cityman. Around here almost no one gets peaches from their backyard peach tree (I hear about it quite often) but somehow think it’s easy for a commercial grower to get the same fruit from a larger planting. But in many ways it’s more challenging to get commercial fruit. It has to be better quality taste-wise, look better, bigger, etc (at least for a direct farm marketer). Most people will accept amazingly poor quality fruit from their own trees, but when they spend their dollars, they don’t even want a peach which has a small hail scar (The box I pictured above has a little rougher looking peaches than I generally sell.)

Commercial growers still deal with all the same pests and more. I’m still catching coons and opossums by the handfuls - almost one a day. They’re eating and knocking off boatloads of fruit. I can’t keep the deer from eating the apples. On and on it goes. We’ve had frosts, hail, varmits, storms blowing branches down - all in a year’s work. Honestly, I’d sell the orchard if I got a decent offer (and I may, as land prices here have gone up). There’s more money by far in a day job, not even counting the lost opportunity on the investment tied up in the land.


That photo illustrates the natural difference between varieties - some are dark red, some shading into green, like the OP’s

what are the varieties in the box?

Kansas fruit farming is very challenging and those peaches look amazing! Like many other orchardists the ants and Japanese beetles try to eat my fruit on the tree. The coons, possums, deer, birds, etc. definitely don’t let me sit down very long. Let’s hope the weather is a little more even next year.
Great looking peaches! Nice to see success in fruit growing! It’s what it’s all about!

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Can you guess any of them? :wink: (The two rows on the right are the same variety.)

From the left: Saturn, Tangos II, Tangos, and two wild guess: John Boy and John Boy II

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Good job!

Saturn TangOs and John Boy are correct. TangOs 2 is a good guess, because it ripens about the same time as TangOs, but TangOs 2 is a solid green peach. JohnBoy 2 is also a good guess because it also ripens around TangOs and TangOs 2 (although a couple days later).

The one’s on the right are actually Redhaven and strangely the one’s second from left are Flat Wonderful. Flat Wonderful would be a hard one to guess because it generally ripens two weeks prior to Redhaven, but this tree is so shaded by a shade tree, it slows its fruit development considerably.

Not bad considering all I’ve grown of those is Tangos. Guess I’ve learned a little from everyone here.


I was able to catch on film the ants I’m talking about. Are these a concern?

I’m thinking that under those covers that the little white maggots are probably baby ants. In other words they’re setting up home there. If so they probably aren’t feeding on those green peaches. Certain ants will feed on my ripe fruit but not the green fruit.


This method has worked well for me.