Oldmixon Free peach - low chill late season peach?

I was surprised to find this, but all 3 of my test grafts of Oldmixon Free peach have set fruit, fairly abundantly. I am located in Inland San Diego. I get around 300-400 chill hours a year. It has not leafed out yet, but neither have many other varities locally.

I will be curious to see how late a harvest it offers. Will this be the latest peach of the season for Southern California? Or will it end up not being able to leaf out? This is my first year of naturalized study (it was grafted last year). I wanted to share this since it was not expected to be low chill but certainly apepars to be. It was known for high flavor, and has the Thomas Jefferson pedigree (the stuff he liked seems to turn out to be really good - like Esopus Spitzenberg, Yellow Newtown Pippin, Indian Free etc)

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He sure did like some good stuff.
Including freedom/rights.

I have Spitzenberg, but will have to wait at least a year for fruits.

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I have some questions please on Oldmixon Free if anyone has any info about it. My questions obviously relate to more commercial aspects of growing the fruit.

  1. How productive are these trees, compared to other peaches you grow? Does Oldmixon always have to be thinned heavily?

  2. Do you see any shothole on the leaves from bac. spot? Any spotty fruit from bac. spot?

  3. Does the fruit hang well at all, or does it drop badly?

  4. Is the fruit large, medium or small?

  5. Is the fruit extremely soft at harvest. I know virtually all peaches are soft at harvest, but I’m asking if it’s super soft. I had to get rid of Raritan Rose because it was just way too soft at harvest. We had to handle it like babies, and the fruit still wanted to bruise.

  6. I already know it’s supposed to be a great tasting white peach. Is there anyone on the forum who didn’t like the flavor?

  7. When does it harvest in relation to Redhaven?

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I would rate it well on all your questions. It sets well but does not need excessive thinning.

The variety available today is not the original, it is perhaps Oldmixon Free Improved. That variety is larger than the original. By modern standards it is about average in size just guessing.

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I would take this is a sign that all these varieties didn’t get enough chill. All peaches/nects have leafed out here (Northern California) at least a few weeks ago.

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Thanks for sharing notes. It is a striking anomaly. The twig is full of fruit but bare of leaves as we approach May. The longer this goes on, the more of a problem it is. I had hoped that photoperiodicity would be the answer. However, right now the day length difference between the Bay Area and San Diego appears to be about 10 minutes. That probably rules out photoperiodicity.

Vegetative chill requirements and floral chill requirements are not necessarily the same. Amnon Erez (low chill researcher) wrote about that and perhaps that is what I am seeing.

If it is possible to have a cultivar with adequate chill to make fruit but not timely leaves, then it should be possible to do a multigraft where a low chill cultivar serves as a “nurse branch,” making enough sugar to keep the tree healthy. I accidentally have that experiment going on this tree (August Pride with a full canopy on it’s 1/3 of the tree), which may be why the fruit have not yet dropped.

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Hmm, I forgot to answer this one (was typing on my phone). It is the same as Lady Nancy. In general it is similar to LN in about every way other than diseases (LN is much worse). It might be a little more firm than LN.

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Looks like my “high chill” peaches with the delayed leafing out are now leafing out, with synchonicity. This could be from heat forcing growth, or could be from photoperiod (early May in San Diego is the same photoperiod as mid-April in more northern parts of USA). Or it may be an entirely different cause. I do find it interesting. And encouraging!

#1 is one of the Oldmixon grafts. #2 is Raspberry Red nectarine, developed from Indian Free peach.

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Hi James,

Did you ever taste the Oldmixon Free peaches? How were they? And any fruit set for you this year? Thanks.

I’m probably midway between Tracy and SD in terms of chill hours. One year grafts of Kitt Donnel and Baby Crawford are only leafing out now (sorry don’t document them accurately). Kaweah probably 1 week earlier. Low chill peaches like PeachyKeen and Sauzee Swirl likely 4-5 weeks back. All of them have abundant fruit sets - thinning is a major job this year.

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Hi Martin,

Yes, my notes say I had one afflicted with oriental fruit moth on August 3 that was not that good, and another on August 8 that was very good. I actually don’t like white peaches, this was just a test experiment on a couple grafts but it definitely fruited well for me in inland San Diego. The Oldmixon is more rich than other white peaches I have had or currently grow (Sierra Blanca, Silver Logan, Tropic Snow).

Thanks for your reply. Are there any fruit sets this year so far? I’m curious if the fruit set last year was from chill hours at the scion’s origin location vs your chill hours at your location. I can’t seem to find much info on required chill hours for this variety.

It looks to be fruiting this year. You never know whether the fruit will reach maturity when the fruit are the size of raindrops. But it did set. The graft was mature when it fruited last year.

Since you asked, I will share my experience, but it is complicated and makes one scratch his head. Zone pushing in peaches does appear to be more amenable to hacks than for apricots. For example, I have 3 microclimates in my yard, literally only 20 yards from each other. I have named these jokingly, sorry if it confuses people but I actually literally think it corresponds to what I can grow in my microclimates:

10B: on a ridge, full sun in morning, full sun all day. Bananas and avocados fruit here.
10A: low part of yard, full sun an hour after sunrise, full sun all day. Bananas and avocados die here of frost.
9B: low part of yard, along my eastern fence, shaded for the first 3 hours after sunset (though it varies)

Here are some of my contradictions:

Cal Red grafted to a young rootstock was moved from 9B to 10A this winter. It soon flowered and set fruit all along its short 1 foot high graft. I had to remove them because I want it to grow. This should be a high chill cultivar. Cal Red in 10B is just starting to flower, 2 months later than 10a.

Indian Free in 9B is in peak bloom right now. No signs of inadequate chill at all. Indian Free in 10A is totally chill confused and has peaked out a couple flowers. The rest is dormant. They were both purchased from the same nursery, the same year, planted at the same time, on identical rootstock.

Springtime flowered 2 months later in 10B than in 10A.

Liz Late flowered compactly, just exploded out with flowers, in 9B. It has been on a slow rolling wake-up in 10A.

August Pride was a month or two later on 10B than in 10A.

That being said, there are some other contradictions that do not fit this paradigm, like grafts in 10A behaving differently on tree A than tree B, literally just within feet of each other, or select grafts doing earlier in 10A than 9B. And it definitely does not work for the Moorpark apricot!

My conclusion is that peaches and nectarines seem to be sensitive to temperature, and if you are zone pushing, it is okay to give them full sun most of the day but see if you can extend the AM coolness a couple hours by keeping them in the morning shade of a tall eastern tree. Since you are in a better climate than me, go for it!

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Darn. I had originally crossed off Indian Free because of the higher chill requirements but now you’ve made me want both Indian Free and Oldmixon Free!

I think you’re right about giving shade in the early morning hours though. My Korean Giant pear, which was rated at 800 ch on the tag, was planted bare root in January 2020 in a corner that gets morning shade until 9am before getting full sun the rest of the day. It’s blooming this year! I couldn’t believe it. My other experimental pear next to it is Harrow Delight, which is also rated at 800 ch so we’ll see what happens. My daytime temps are 77 today, but this morning it was 43.

In the other corner of my yard I’ve kept a young mango tree alive with incandescent Christmas lights all winter. This has gotten quite addicting.