Mystery peach, what are your thoughts?


I live in western Louisiana on the 8b/9a line, and had an older failing peach tree in my yard that was likely planted in the mid 1980’s. It was the last of about half a dozen that I have removed over the last few years, most suffered from splitting trunks that had rotted and had ant infestations. Early this spring I noted a number of shoots coming up around the stump, which I assume were from the root stock, I have decided to let them grow and see what happens, as this tree was out of the way in a large backyard. I thinned out the shoots leaving 4 or 5 total, around the base of the old stump. As of today (June 1st) these have grown into a mass of peach looking trees about 7 ft tall and maybe 5 ft wide. I have no idea if this mystery peach will grow edible fruit or not (I have planted 3 or 4 new peach trees in another part of the yard over the last 3 years). I see no down side on waiting to see what happens with these shoots, what are your thoughts? Should I prune them back to a single trunk next winter, …


I’m not familiar with the common peach rootstocks for the south, and even less familiar with the roostocks that would have been common in the 1980s. However, it’s likely that the rootstock, like most modern peach rootstocks, is a peach seedling or hybrid of some sort. If that’s the case, there’s a very low probability that the rootstock will produce edible fruit of any type. I’m not aware of any peach rootstock that produces edible fruit.

Personally, I would let the shoots grow out and then graft onto them next spring. Having 4-5 shoots gives you more chances to have a successful graft. Whatever the rootstock is, it seems adapted to its location, so you might as well take advantage.


Peach roots can be just random peach seeds so if its going to fruit soon you may want to wait and see what you have. Peaches often produce good fruit from seeds, unlike apples or pears.


Not sure how you should prune, but even if it’s a bad peach you have rootstock to graft winners unto. You can have 4 or 5 peaches on one tree if you want?


I’m doing the same thing right now. I had a peach dad back to the rootstock last year. I’ll let it come back in and has one peach on it this year I’m gonna check see what it’s like. Then if I don’t like it I’ll graft another peach onto it


Speaking of “mystery” peaches… I have a 3 year old peach tree that is putting up suckers like crazy. Some are 10 feet away. I think the tree is an Elberta but could be Red Haven or Charlotte.
I want to use these suckers as rootstock for plums, peaches, apricots, etc. How do I know if it is a good quality rootstock? The tree is pretty healthy and the fruit is pretty good but I did get some leaf curl last year.
(zone 6a)


If it’s a young peach tree putting throwing up suckers 10’ away they most assuredly are not peach suckers. The peach is on a plum rootstock and very likely will produce a very low grade plum fruit.

It can be used as other rootstock as you suggest, but I don’t like plum roostock for peaches. They don’t don’t perform well under my peach trees. Plus all the suckering is truly obnoxious. You can’t spray systemic herbicides under the trees with all the suckers, unless you cut them out by hand first.

Most peaches come on peach rootstock Peaches on peach rootstock which come from large nurseries (million+ trees) either use random peach seed (like Vanwell), or use determined roostock seed like Lovell, Halford, etc.

I suspect Vanwell buys their seed from a cannery. Canneries sell peach pits by the bushel, or probably more commonly, by the ton. Cannery peach seed will likely produce fruit like the parent (i.e. non-melting flesh clinstone)

I’ve not fruited Lovell rootstock before, but a long time ago I read someone who had. They said the fruit was very poor quality. Lovell used to be a cannery peach in the early 1900s, so perhaps something changed over time. It’s clearly doesn’t produce a good quality peach now.

Halford seedling rootstock might produce a decent peach because it’s currently a popular cannery peach, but again it’s likely to be non-melting and cling like the parent.


Since I started this I thought I should post back, I have yet to experience any fruit from this tree, it is covered with small fruit this year, with luck the pests will not get all of them. It seems to be a relatively low chill peach as it bloomed between the my 550 chill hour peaches, and my 750 chill hour peaches, online chill hour calculators claim we had just over 600 chill hours this year (we have highly variable chill hours here, ranging from 450 - 1,300 over the last 20 years. Early this spring I cut back about half of the shoots coming up to leave enough room for the remaining shoots to grow, I also grafted some branches from one of my other trees onto it as a test, I am not sure if they will take yet.


Isaac, Years ago I was dying to own a white peach. I bought an end of the season white peach from, as it turns out) a company that went out of business. They took my 40 dollars for the Belle of Georgia Peach. The following spring I had a few very showy blossoms (I was so proud) and posted them on this forum only to find out from Alan and Olpea it was a no name seedling. They were right! It produced peaches like you wouldn’t believe; I thought I’d try them anyway. They were quite small and sour. A bit bigger than a golf ball. But they were great for canning and made a terrific chutney. I still have the tree and a dear friend from Cambodia eats them from the tree! Sour and all! There is some good in everything.


Mrs. G,

Your experience even happens to commercial growers. I have a friend who bought quite a few peach trees from Starks. I can’t remember how many, but I think it was a lot - he buys hundreds of trees at a time. It turned out none of the trees were grafted. They were all rootstocks and produced the kind of fruit yours did.

Unfortunately for him it made no sense to keep those trees, so he had to pull them all out, after several years of caring for the trees.


Thanks for the information. So much to learn, so few lifetimes…

Maybe it’s 4 years old… IDK.
The peaches are actually pretty good but there are many, many suckers. I only have a few various peach trees so cutting the suckers is not a problem but I guess I shouldn’t use this rootstock if it’s going to make more work for me in the future. I did manage to dig up 3 suckers under an “Underwood” plum also.
So it sounds like I should try to graft peaches on peach rootstock if possible. How about “plums” on “peach” rootstock? Which is better for apricot grafting, plum or peach rootstock??
Thanks again


Now that is really bad!!!


I’ve grafted Euro plums on peach rootstock. Many of the old Euro (prune) plums in CA were grafted on peach rootstock. It works.

I’ve had an apricot on peach roots before. It increases the vigor of apricot. I don’t know about longevity since I pulled out all my apricots except one variety (I’ve also pulled out all my plums.)


How hardy is peach rootstock? Around here growing peaches takes a particular microclimate and a certain amount of good luck; generally people are discouraged from even trying.


Hi Mark,

It depends on the rootstock. Nemagard is very winter tender. Gaurdian and Bailey are supposed to be more on the hardy size for peaches.

I think if I we’re going to try to grow peaches in MT, I"d probably put up temporary winter structures out of plywood, like I’ve read before, or build a green house or hoop house.


I guess I need to check this forum more often…
I’m gonna have to find me some peach rootstock and do some grafting. Thanks Olpea