I am looking for a recommendation for an early peach variety that will perform well in Spokane WA (Zone 6a). I already have Early Redhaven (and a Glenglo on order), but want something to ripen even earlier. Looking for something to ripen 20 days or more before Redhaven.
Mark speaks highly of Earlystar, Spring Snow, and Harrow Diamond. I am liking what I can read about Harrow Diamond with respect to disease resistance, cold hardiness, quality, and earliness (-25), but personal experience from forum members is the best information.
I grew PF 5D Big for several years, but could never get happy with the flavor so I pulled it out.
Hmm, that’s a tough one. Earlystar is a yellow peach which has high sugar for such an early yellow peach. It’s also a fairly dependable cropper, doesn’t drop, has a beautiful deep red color, but is a bit prone to split pits. Tree form is terrible. Produces lots of straight up growth. It has to be managed carefully to avoid lots of blind wood.
Spring Snow is in a different category. It’s a much less dependable cropper (although it has produced some crop for the last 4 years here). Tree form is nice. It also produces beautiful dark red peaches. The white fleshed peaches are some of the best I’ve eaten (probably the best) out of 15 varieties of white peaches I’ve grown.
Spring Snow is not an easy peach to grow, but if productivity isn’t paramount, and you want to mix up the flavors of your harvests, then you might try Spring Snow.
If you want a dependable, good tasting, early yellow peach, then you might go with Earlystar.
Well, it’s always interesting to hear from @Olpea, so I’m looking forward to seeing what he has to say.
I have limited experience with Harrow Diamond, Earlystar and Spring Snow. All three ripen in yor desired window approximately three weeks before Redhaven. They are all good. For yellow peaches, I might give Earlystar the edge over Harrow Diamond. Harrow Diamond seems less resistant to fungal issues. If I could only have one, I might go with the white peach, Spring Snow. It develops good sugar levels here in Spokane.
For something right after Rich May, you are probably looking at Desiree or PF5b, or a few other peaches which ripen in that window. I would not recommend PF1, which ripens right after Rich May. Desiree and PF5b ripen about 5 days after PF1 here, but about 4/5 days before Harrow Diamond, Earlystar, Spring Snow.
We got rid of all the super early peaches. Flavor was just too inconsistent for our area. Heavy rains in June are not uncommon here. We found these heavy rains very negatively affected flavor for June ripening peaches. So now, our earliest peaches are Harrow Diamond, Earlystar, Spring Snow.
Over the last 5 years, I’ve shifted to preferring Harrow Diamond to Earlystar for a yellow peach. Earlystar has a very slight edge on flavor compared to HD, and color is better, but HD is a bit more consistent cropper here and is about a year faster to come into production.
Spring Snow is a fantastic tasting white peach here. At one time we had about 15 trees of it. Slowly we have culled these down. We only have 4 left. They just aren’t very productive, except in the very best years, with perfect weather. That doesn’t happen very often here, so eventually the number of Spring Snow trees here will be zero.
Almost all early peaches are going to be pretty “clingy”. It’s just the nature of peaches that the earliest peaches are clingstone, then semi-cling, and by the Redhaven season they are pretty much freestone.
My tree is in pot and productive (different from Mark’s SS in-ground in KS). Unfortunately, it rained about the time the fruit ripenedtwo years in a row. Thus, I did not eat fruit at optimal condition. I trust @Olpea’s assessment, however.
I have a feeling that SS’s flower buds may not be very cold hardy. Mark’s trees have been unproductive growing in KS’s fluctuating weather.
We really liked the fruit on Rich May when it fruited
We found that our early Peaches failed to fruit too frequently in years with frost and freeze. They produced too many split pits in years with frost when they did fruit. Eventually, we got tired of pruning trees that did not produce fruit. The trees grew like crazy when they did not fruit which required even more pruning time.
Gala is our first Peach now which is about a week ahead of Redhaven.