My peaches are gross!

Hi folks. I just harvested in advance of the cold weather. My peaches are gross. Like bad for grocery store. Trulf awful and im both sad and at a loss.

Starting from the start:
Im in denver. We have three varieties, all havens (cant recall which).
We got pounded by hail twice and had a cold spring. June drop didnt happen till july. During hail i thinned badly damaged peaches and then after july drop i thinned as always.
One tree lost a lot of fruit but ripened early sept. We always let the peaches get pretty close to fully ripe on the tree. This tree was delicious as always. When the peaches had rich peach aroma and felt the right amount of soft we picked them. Had run down your arm juciness and loved every bite.
The other trees are supposed to be later blooming/ripening. In sept the f the other two were still green.
Shortly after the peaches got fully red but remained rock hard. As usual we explained to the neighbors that they were not ripe. Neighbors picked one or two of them and said “mmmm” we thought “huh?” And tried one. Rock hard, no peach smell, tasted totally green.
Last week friends came and asked to pick a couple. We said not ripe but aure. They said “delicious!” We said “huh?” And picked one…barely any peach aroma, rock hard.

Today some feel right and have 1/3 the aroma id expect. I thought yay! Ripe. Cut one and just gross. Mealy, very little peach taste, no juice. Sampled half a dozen more, firmer and soft, all just yuck. Couple strangely appeared over-ripe be overripe because the pit seemed to be putting out roots into the peach. Didnt taste over ripe, was the same mealy gross.

Im at a loss.

Can i do anything with these to make it not a total waste? Ideas on what happened and what i could have done wrong/differently?

Additional info- this is the first real crop from one tree but the others have made dreamy delicious perfect peaches before.


Mealy equals overripe. Sounds like they were left on too long. Or the stress was so bad they didn’t ripen properly. You said you have havens, they should have ripened months ago. Like mid to late August. Maybe the late start or hail damage did more than you think? Oh well maybe next year.

The plan was an early aug and a late aug between te varieties. They were straight up green in aug :frowning:

Yeah that is strange.

If overripe, how to know when to pick?they were fully red for a long time, but they always are. We dislike picking them “grocery store” ripe.

I go by cultivar info, then test them. If too early I will not harvest or if close I’ll let them ripen on the counter. I also keep a garden journal of what I thought. Ripe, not ripe, what date etc. They seem to ripen with a 2 week period every year. So I take good notes. Some are very tough and not just peaches. I grow White Gold cherries, and they take forever to ripen fully. It was 3 years before I figured out when they are totally ripe. I picked them early the first year, a little later the 2nd, the third even later and they were pretty good! So now I have an idea.


My peaches were all three weeks behind this year but my halehaven was ready by september 14th or so i think redhaven most years is august first week here in denver?

You could grill or sautee them, cooking can help ripen them, I counter ripen peaches in the mid seventies and it seems to work well here.

Strange weather this year for sure and hail affected peach taste for me also (had to cut out hail spots) i manually control my sprinklers to make sure and not overwater and with our weather this year some stuff wont ripen as well as others, I have my Indian Frees in brown paper bags on there side and open to slightly speed but still monitor ripening.

Peaches set fruit abundantly. Like @Drew51 said keeping a log/journal. Make a note what date you picked them this year and how they tasted.

If they were overripe, next year, pock the first peach 3 weeks earlier.
If they are under ripe, wait a few more days and pick another one. Keep log of each pick.

Varieties and location influence when pieaches ripen. Don’t go by red color. Some varieties do not turn all red at all.

Mealiness in peaches can be caused by other factors including your local weather and the varieties you grow.

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Thanks for the info!! I will make a log for sure. Ill have to look at photos of the kid picking them to see when we did the first. I wish i could remember what varietes we have. I know haven and i know i picked on purpose to have one more frost tollerant, one earlier and one later. One is for sure a starhaven but i could t tell you which.

We never go by color. This is my biggest struggel with neighbors, they see red and say “you better pickthose, they are ripe”…yeah, no. Not how it works.

I will have to learn more about weather/watering. I have sprinklers and the trees are in a lawn. I do not care one ounce for the lawn so ill happily let it die to help the trees.

I think perhaps our error was going mostly by touch/smell but we did eat a few and they were soooo under ripe. I probably didnt sample the tree well enough, the tops are for sure the worst.

You could try baking them if they are mealy without underripe bitterness. Some of my early peaches were mealy. I couldn’t eat them raw, but they were fine when used in cobbler.


I had a sprinkler system installed before I started fruit crazed. These days, I do not turn the sprinkler on at all. Too much water is not good for fruit trees. In addition, water from sprinkler interferes with my Surround spray.

Peach quality usually depends on how much sun peaches get and how many leaves per fruit they have. It is not how high or low they hang on a tree.

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Mark, you are not alone in your quest to understand the mealy peach problem. As Andrew states, a mealy peach is an over ripe peach. The problem is getting your mind wrapped around how a peach can go directly from under ripe to horribly over ripe without ever being ripe.

I have begun to think of the ripening process as being dictated by two separate factors. One is “cell breakdown time”. The peach cells will only live for so long before they begin to breakdown and the peach turns mealy. I think of the second factor as “ripening time” which can be sped up or slowed down by environmental conditions. Heat, sunlight, and lack of water all work to accelerate ripening while cold, shade, and water work to slow down “ripening time”. When ripening time exceeds cell breakdown time, you get peaches that go right from under ripe to mealy.

Again, this is just the way I have begun to think of it lately. Maybe someone else has a better theory…

I will say that I have had trees ripening - with fruit softening nicely and some dropping by themselves - then get some cool weather and rain and the tree just seems to want to hang on to the fruit. If I let it hang on too long the peaches go mealy.

Here in Spokane, I have great difficulty getting late season peaches to ripen before they get mealy. Anything later than (+24) after Redhaven is pretty uncertain. I think there is just too little heat late in the year. This year, Summer was cooler and wetter than normal and the cold weather came early. No luck again with my late peaches.


Holy cow Kevin that made a ton of sense and really brought this home for me. Ive been reading about brix and solids content and a whole bunch of other things that are confusing to a casual newbie like me…your explaination really hits it.

We got late and then later and then super dry. The peches are in the lawn so what did i do, watered more for the lawn…it sounds like i should have let the grass die so the peaches thought it was time to get gojng, right?

I really like your explaination, thank you!

Mark, I’m trying to figure this stuff out just like you. I would like to think my theory has at least a little bit of validity to it. There are others on this forem with a lot more experience than me. Please make your own observations and help us all learn. Good luck!

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Hi Mark,
Those will be peaches for cooking, and that’s it. My neighbor has a peach tree she grew from the pit of a store bought peach(doesn’t know variety). Last year was it’s first crop and peaches were exactly as you described yours as being. I was thinking of gradually top-working the trunks over to something better for her( the tree is a big multi-trunk unruly thing, she has no idea and won’t really listen to pruning advice) but this year the peaches were good. They have just ripened in the last week or two. She also has a small Red-Haven and that ripened quite awhile ago and the peaches were very good. And we are in Centennial. So, my point is maybe it’s something you can’t really control? It might not hurt to mulch out an area around the tree and control the water better, but who knows if that really is the problem.

What are your night temperatures looking like? The only thing I know of that makes fruit mealy before ripe is cold. If there is not enough heat to ripen it before it would normally become mealy, it will become mealy under ripe. Another possibility is the repeated warming and chilling caused by the day/night cycle. I am not an expert on peaches, but I know they need good heat and light to ripen well.

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If it makes you feel any better, the colorado peaches I bought from Costco were all awful as well. Mealy and gross. My guess is it was a weather thing. Here it has been a cold and wet year- how about there?

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it was a very cold and late start, not horribly wet, but damp. summer was dry and fall never got a start. winter appears to be on schedule for tomorrow. I hope the trees don’t die.

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thanks! I’m absolutely going to learn about watering. I’ve hated the side lawn that the trees are in forever (full of weeds, pain to mow, never used). this is all I need to remove the grass. I think I might plant creeping thyme under the trees. fortunately it’s a 12x45ish area so not too too much work to get the grass out. I have a fancy pants sprinkler controller so I’ll leave the system in and program it to be best for peaches (once I learn what that is)

have you had any palisade peaches lately? not the ones from the store, i mean the good ones from a farmers market or a kid selling them? we didn’t buy any boxes because we expected a big harvest. our other tree that we did harvest on time was delicious as always.

also peaches for cooking…all of them? we have some that are still firm and under ripe. my wife made a yummy compote out of them so we will keep more of those. what about the mealy ones, what do I even cook with them?
it makes me sad to think that what I’m used to is bringing in a peach still warm from the sun and having to eat it over the sink because it is so juicy and they taste so good I go right back out and get another. my pre-schooler could eat 4 of those in a row twice a day. nobody wants more of these :frowning:

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I’d say the bad peaches are too late maturing for your climate. The early peaches when you had heat and sun were great. The later ones ran out of heat and growing season. So plant more early peaches and get rid of the late ones.