Peach/cherry varieties for zone 5 Colorado

I was planning on getting 2 honey babe peaches and overwintering them in the garage but it appears as though my Bing and one of my Utah Giant cherries did not make it through it’s first winter despite websites stating it is hardy through zone 5. My Utah Giant in the front and both my rainier made it however. What cherries or peaches are very tasty but do well in zone 5. I hear in terms of peaches Indian free and frost are big bangers but now I question certain hardiness. For example why did the rainier and Utah Giant survive while the Bing and the Utah Giant did not survive in the back I don’t know.

I’m hoping to follow in your footsteps with peaches. Purview Nursery and Orchard is a good source for cold hardy stone fruit. They include Utah Giant on their list for cherries, which I’m hoping means your experience was a fluke.

I have one Utah Giant that is alive and one that is dead. The one in the south is alive but the one in the north is dead or looks like it is dying. The rainier in the north side a few feet from the Bing and Utah Giant are thriving. I just bought these trees this year so maybe I was sent a bad tree. Who knows.

Read up on cherry diseases including canker. The pathogens are everywhere waiting for a right condition to attack your trees.

Kristin is described as one of the most cold hardy sweet cherries.

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I just got Kristin and Hartland cherries this year. I’m anxious to see how they do.

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Red Haven has done well for me for four years. Contender has made it through the past two winters.

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Bing and utah giant died because of the snap frost and how much winter sun they recieved but they in general are not front range hardy. Raineer is sadly not long for this world would be my assumption?

All the sour cherries do great. Sweet cherries are going to be really iffy.

All the late blooming cold hardy peaches are going to do good. The z4s will do better. Indian free only lives a few years here but i feel its also a rootstock issue and if we could get her on bailey she may do better?

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Sounds like conditions are tough. You basically want a sweet cherry with high cold hardiness and that blooms late to escape as many late frosts as possible. You also need a good rootstock that handles the cold and can tolerate your soil conditions. If you plant trees with these characteristics I think you would maximize your chances of success. But sweet cherries are difficult grown if you don’t live in an area with an ideal climate for them.

I would suggest the following:


All of these are very cold hardy for sweet cherries. They also bloom very late for sweet cherries. For me, BlackGold blooms after my Montmorency tart cherry although there is a lot of bloom overlap between the two. BlackGold and WhiteGold are both self-fertile.

Cummins nursery lists BlackGold and WhiteGold as hardy to zone 4. With BlackGold they actually list the orchard site and the minimum temperature that the trees survived.

Gold is an older cherry with cold hardiness and is one of the parents of BlackGold and is just as hardy if not more so.

For rootstocks I would go with Krymsk 5 or Krymsk 6. These rootstocks were bred in Russia for cold hardiness and tolerate a wide range of soil conditions.

You can get WhiteGold and BlackGold on Krymsk from Schlabach’s Nursery. They also have a fairly good selection of apples and stone fruits. All the trees run <$20. I bought a Black Pearl and a WhiteGold from them this year and both of the trees looked good.

They are Amish so you will need to write a short letter asking for a catalog and send them a check for $2.00.

Schlabach’s Nursery
2784 Murdock RD
Medina, NY 14103

I have thought about replacing them with white gold. Does the Amish nursery have it on Krymsk 6? That sounds like the smaller of the 2.

Both of my trees were on Krymsk 6. But it’s possible that they use Krymsk 5 sometimes. From what I have seen Krymsk 5 is more common in the nursery trade since it is preferred by some of the commercial growers. When you request your catalog you could also request an inventory list for the upcoming year which will have the cultivar and rootstock listed for each tree.

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Raintree has Gisla 3 and 5. How hardy are those compared to the roostock you are suggesting?

I think Gisela 3 is too dwarfing and it also isn’t as productive as Gisela 5. I would avoid Gisela 3 as I think you would want higher vigor to deal with harsh conditions. Gisela 5 is about the size of Krymsk 6 probably a bit smaller but it’s hard to be really precise about this since the scion makes a difference.

I have a number of tart cherries on Gisela 5 and they do well. But I don’t have sweet cherries on Gisela 5. I am on the zone 5B/6A border in Illinois and I haven’t had any problems. I don’t think Gisela 5 was tested as much in colder zones. For cold hardiness I think Krymsk would be a better choice.

I am not familiar with Colorado as far as growing conditions. Are you in zone 5A or zone 5B? What kind of soil do you have?

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I am zone 5b. Clay soil though I am growing them in pots right now.

Both Krymsk and Gisela 5 should both be fine in clay as long as the drainage is good. Did you winter the cherries you lost in your garage or were they outside? Keeping trees in pots outside exposed is equivalent to it being 2 zones colder. For you pots outside exposed will be the equivalent of zone 3B.

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I kept it outside but put a agribon frost cloth over them when it got chilly.

Also I just did a scratch test and it does appear that it is green under the bark for the Utah Giant and Bing. I am wondering if they are just coming out slower.

It’s possible they are late to wake up. What about other trees in the area are they leafing out?

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They are leafed out. Like I mentioned the 2 rainier in the back and 1 Utah Giant in the front are leafing out or all leafed out.

Isn’t a concern that although the Kristin tree may survive, none of the pollinators can?

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