Peach and Cherry recommendations for Zone 6B?

Thanks for the answers everyone! I was thinking about just buying custom grafted trees but looks like I missed the deadline on ordering those. Whoops.

For the folks who have grafted peach/plum before, would buying a rootstock and starting to framework it, then grafting after the framework gets established be a good approach? I am figuring a few more chances to succeed this way.

All cherry and peach will struggle in the east. It will be a uphill battle either way. OP mentioned they were going to turn it into a frankentree and graft peaches and plums to it. It does not matter if it needs a pollinator assuming you graft another peach cultivar onto it like OP plans to do. I was under the impression Indian free was a outstanding peach. Dave Wilson nursery has it in their top 100 list.

I’d like to add onto what some others have said. First, if you aren’t an experienced grafter, you may be very disappointed with your success rates when it comes to grafting peaches. I’ve been grafting for about 8 years and I get about 15% of my peach grafts to work. Plums much higher, and apples and pears are in the 90’s. Peach grafting is HARD, as others have said. Also, if you have visions of just creating a nice peach tree with many varieties that you can just maintain and then harvest, it won’t be like that. WHile there are certainly people on here who have multi-graft peaches and do ok with them, lots of us get tired of all the maintenance and then dealing with those grafts that die in future years. Many varieties grow at different rates, so you’ll end up having to constantly prune some of them back several times a year while others won’t grow much at all. Then when one and then another graft fails a year or two or more later, you have to deal with a big empty section of your tree, and by then there is often no good graft position where you need it. I know we all love the idea of having many kinds of peaches and plums on one tree. Its a neat idea. But in my experience and that of many others (not all) multi-graft trees just aren’t the idealized option they sound like. You’d get a lot more fruit and much easier if you just picked one good peach tree and grow it out. The fact that your tree will be 2-3 feet from a fence is going to make it that much harder for you to have a good multi-graft tree.

Not trying to rain on your parade, just giving you some realistic and honest information to try and save you a lot of hard work and disappointment in the future, We have all seen those photos of beautiful, multi-grafted trees with different colored blooms and lots of fruit varieties hanging on a neatly balanced tree, and they look amazing. But like many things in life, they are mostly just nursery-created photoshopped pictures or are trees made and managed by true fruit tree experts who spend countless hours developing those trees. A beginning grower is unlikely to end up with a result to match those dreams and photos - though some here have done it. Good luck.


You make a valid point about the pollinator but I always assume that at some point the grafts may die or never take- especially on a peach tree. If the tree is a self-pollinating then it won’t matter, if its an Indian free, you are left with nothing. I agree that cherries won’t do well in the east but not sure why you say peaches will struggle in the east. South Carolina is about as far east as it gets and they are one of the largest peach producing states in America. We have countless members who do great peaches in New England and other northeastern areas.

As for Indian Free being on a top 100 list with DW, that doesn’t seem too impressive- I don’t think there are 100 varieties that are commonly grown, and of course DW is in CA and we’re talking about NY. It also sounds as if you have never seen or tasted an Indian Free Peach. It seems a bit odd for you to be recommending a peach you have never even grown, tasted, or seen. I think most of us make our recommendations based on personal experience, not on what we heard or read- especially if what you are hearing and reading is based on someone (or some company in the case of DW) who grew it on the other side of the country in a completely different climate. I think its better that recommendations come from experience and in similar areas, otherwise you may be giving bad advice. But that’s just me. You’ve probably said, but may I ask how long you’ve been growing fruit and how many trees you have that are producing? Just curious. Heaven knows we all had to start somewhere and I knew less than anyone when I started, but I also tried not to tell others what to grow or how to grow it until I had many many years experience. But perhaps you feel differently.

2 years with trees and longer with brambles and vegetables. I grow a wide amount of fruit trees. Pears, peaches, Euro pears, cherries (I do own a Rainier that has survived my climate just fine for those saying it does not do well in the cold), I have Euro plums and Asian plums, apples (had a crabapple in the yard all the way through my childhood so not counting those years but have regular apples now), and apricot (also had a apricot as a child but have some of my own now. I am not sure when I started with raspberries and blackberry. Tried two years ago with blueberries and blueberries have too many issues here for me to grow. It would be a different climate than me in New York as well though. My climate is very dry being in CO. I consider myself lucky. That is why I said peaches will struggle in the east. The amount of rain in the east makes big problems for any stone fruit in the east and places like Washington up north.

Sweet cherries are difficult in the East. You probably want either BlackGold or WhiteGold as a cultivar as both work well under Eastern conditions. For Brown Rot you will want to spray with Captan or Indar to keep it at bay. To deal with birds you will want to net the tree or hang bird scare tape. I would look at this thread for good advice on cultivars, rootstocks, spraying and other info.

Peaches also have trouble with brown rot. Few cultivars have resistance. Glohaven, Babygold #5, Harcrest and Elberta have some resistance. In most cases you will need to spray to control brown rot. Here is a thread that discusses protecting peaches from brown rot.

Thanks for your honesty. I also hope you didn’t feel I was being too harsh. Trust me, no one knew less than I did the first 3-4 years I grew fruit. I read everything I could get my hands on but soon came to understand that there is no substitute for hands-on experience. You answer more posts and give more advice than almost anyone here. I just worry that all the new people asking the questions you answer may think you have more than 2 years experience. Personally I wish you’d be more transparent when giving advice and let people know that you are new to growing fruit, have almost no personal experience, but are trying to be helpful by answering everyone’s questions and giving advice based on things you have heard or read, not what you have personally experienced. That way, new growers (or anyone) looking for information and answers can decide for themselves how much weight they want to give your reply. It doesn’t mean your answers don’t have value, just that it comes from reading, videos, listening to others, etc instead of your own personal experience- which many people find to be much more valuable.

Anyway, I do admire that you were honest in saying you’ve only been growing your own fruit trees on your own property for 2 years - some people just flat out lie to build up their credibility and “fruit resume”. And you seem like a nice guy for sure. I’m glad you are here and hope you continue to learn (as we all are) and enjoy the hobby. I just think it would be more honorable and genuine if you are a little more transparent when answering all the questions you do. But to each his own. Be well.

Yes i did. I remember picking peaches a bit early to avoid rot. Horrible. Newport, was ‘mildew by the sea’! Horrible, mold, rot and black knot.

Just curious why being by the sea at your location and @jrd51’s has produced quite a different outcome re. peaches and fungus. I remember you did spray, too.

How many years did it take after your peach trees fruited before brown rot showing up? Mine took only 3-4 years and it has never left.

It took about three years. I didn’t complain much at that time, as I was still new to growing fruit and my excitement overshadowed the reality of elements, insects, and mold. I sprayed a lot!. Black knot took longer about seven years before it started.


Black knot is a severe problem. I have endemic wild cherries, which carry it. I’ve totally given up on growing sweet cherries, Asian plums, and all European plums that are not resistant.

For brown rot, it may be microclimate. The trees are on a west-facing slope. The prevailing breeze in the summer comes from the west. I would also note that the earlier ripening varieties have less problem. In addition to Early Redhaven and Redhaven I have Blushingstar, which is impacted worst.

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Some good reading on the thread. I’ll offer a few comments.

Re: Which peach tree to plant.

Redhaven is the standard and I like it (introduced in 1948 by Stanley Johnston, if I remember correctly). I haven’t checked for a few years, but last time I did, it was still the most widely planted peach tree in the U.S.

However, if I had only one peach tree to plant, I believe it would be Risingstar. Of the over 100 peach varieties I’ve grown it edges out Redhaven in terms of overall score, imo.

It’s every bit as reliable a cropper in my area, in both winter hardiness and frost tolerance. It harvests two weeks earlier (same window as Early Redhaven) which means less sprays. And it’s a tad sweeter. It’s slightly smaller, but still very acceptable size. I can’t say much about rot tolerance of either one because we have a rigorous spray program. The only drawback of Risingstar is that it is so productive, it’s easy to overcrop.

I would probably echo Cityman’s comments about creating a Franken peach tree. While it can be done, it would require extra work and some skills which take some time to develop.

In terms of grafting, there are multiple threads on the forum as good resources. As mentioned, peaches are considered one of the most difficult to graft. I’ve pretty good success rates, but it has taken me a lot of years to get the nuances right. And with peaches, nuances are important.

One of the things which has helped a lot is a special tool which cuts a “V” in the rootstock and cuts a corresponding mate in the scionwood. It makes a really nice match with lots of cambium contact. There are lots of threads on the forum about the grafting tool Dax originally recommended. However the timing is the biggest issue, with fall budding or spring grafting. Temperatures and timing has to be right.

I’d also echo the comments about Indian Free. I’ve grown it. While it is nice to have a refreshing difference in peaches (when you grow enough peaches, traditional peach flavor can get old). Indian Free is very different, which is a nice change. But I wouldn’t recommend it as a stand alone peach. Everyone here who grows it also grow (or has grown) lots of other peaches.

Re: Dave Wilson top peach taste tests

I used to put a lot of value in their taste testing because they bring in people and do blind taste testing. They seem to put a lot of effort into it.

But I’ve learned that there is a wide variance of flavor in any given variety. I can go to just about any tree in our orchard and pick a peach which is good or one pretty crappy.

New customers (and new peach growers) have difficulty detecting this unless they have a side by side comparison. People new to tree ripe peaches tend to be “wowed” by any peach which is juicy regardless of the flavor. They just want a soft wet peach. But people who eat lots of peaches can discern very quickly a poor vs. a good tasting peach.

The first picking of any peach is going to be the best, while the third picking is horrible. Of course the amount, and timing, of rainfall from year to year has a huge impact (although I’m not sure if that plays into Dave Wilson’s nursery because large parts of CA don’t get much rain).

I recall Dave Wilson rated Harken peach very highly for several years of taste testing. When I was new to peach growing, I thought it was really great too (after all Dave Wilson recommended it, so it must be good was my thought). But then I hadn’t developed a discerning palate for peaches. After years of growing and tasting peaches, I would never recommend Harken. The flavor isn’t bad, but Clayton and PF 9a-007 (both of which ripen in the same window) are better. Size of Harken is small and uneven, and it has lots of fuzz. Production isn’t great.

I still have a dozen Harken trees which I will not replace with Harkens.


Olpea! Redhaven is a huge seller in France. Most nurseries carry it and it is grown commercially as well. I was expecting a French peach, but no, Redhaven and Dixie-? Are the two favorites.


My experience if limited, but I do see a trend such that the early varieties do better. I have nothing that ripens after August. My Early Redhaven starts ripening in late July and it’s almost trouble-free.

For some reason. I’ve also never had trouble with insects (other than hornets) here on peaches, other than hornets. Birds do the most damage. Deer browse on whatever leaves and fruit then can reach – on hind legs! I think the mold damage is often is opportunistic infection after the bird damage.

At a prior location, I had a horrible time with OFM. For three years, I struggled very diligently without good success. Then I stopped spraying and the damage nearly stopped. I wondered if there might be a natural predator that took over when the spraying stopped. But that was just a wild guess. Do hornets eat OFM caterpillars?

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That was not my experience this year! In the spring I sprayed twice for curculio and Japanese beetles (late spring), and bagged the few fruits that I have (a handful on half the second leaf trees). I decided not to spray for the rest of the season as I have a great diversity of insects and I hate to kill the beneficials. Comes late July through early September, my nectarine trees are suffering from heavy attack from OFM…


I ordered from this nursery and so far they are all doing well. They are in NY.

Schlabach’s is also in NY

I got my Redhaven from Tractor Supply for $6… it was a tiny whip but its doing well.

Personally I like an Early Peach…and a Late Peach… For late peach i really love the taste of O’Henry… a neighbor down the road grows them. They are very hard to find though.

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Mehrabyan and Cummins both are in Ithaca, NY. Both are good and closest nurseries to the OP.

A little update on this. I went to visit a community farm on Friday that’s a few miles from where I live. They had some peach trees going that were planted about 8 years ago. I believe he said they were Reliance and Redhaven. One had born fruit, nothing from the others. They seemed to be healthy.

Y’all have sold me on not creating a franken tree that is peach or plum. Thanks for the nursery suggestions, definitely will be checking them out!

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there is always a toss up between Reliance and Contender… Contender usually wins as far as i can tell…but then some people prefer Reliance.

One of my neighbors has about 20 sum peach trees and when he prunes them extra hard they dont produce the next year.

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I have a Redhaven on order from Trees of Antiquity and a Sugar Giant from Cummins. I got the latter to eventually groom it to also accommodate a Hakuto graft down the line. If I lose my mind in the next few years, I might try grafting some great variety of nectarine to the Redhaven. Otherwise that will be all I plan to have for now.

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