Winblo, Intrepid, Carolina Gold -- trying to make a disease resistant choice

We want to add one, possibly two peach trees this year. I’m in zone 6b, Shenandoah Valley area of Virginia. We want to try to garden as organically/low spray as possible so I’ve tried very hard to look for varieties with good disease resistance (as much as one can get with peaches). I grew up with peaches that were never sprayed. . .and never produced anything good as they were usually hit hard with PC and bacterial spot. beautiful ornamentals though. . .sigh.

The three trees we have already planted are: Red haven, Golden Jubilee, and Sentry.

Winblo has been on my list because of the flavor reputation, but I’ve read mixed things about disease resistance. We are in a fairly humid area.

Intrepid is supposed to have excellent bacterial spot resistance according to its patent (developed in the Carolinas). But it doesn’t seem to have many testers/fans here?

I’ve lately seen posts about Carolina Gold. How is it on disease in humid areas?

I have others that interest me like BlushingStar and Harrow Diamond but I don’t know of anyone who has those still available this year. But reviews of them for future reference are welcomed. :slight_smile:

If you’re in a similar area to mine – humidity/disease pressure wise I would especially welcome any suggestions. I have read through many past posts especially the peach reports from year to year so these have influenced my choices so far!

I suppose I should add that we like juicy peaches with a full flavor. I like them on the sweet side and my husband the tangy side ;-). But while we would like to freeze peaches canning is not a quality we need.

Allow me to offer my thoughts.

First Golden Jubilee is an old peach which was highly recommended by a good guy Don Yellman.

Don, by his own testimony, was an old guy years ago. He always made the topics light hearted, and I miss him. Honestly, I don’t know if he is still on the planet.

That said, Golden Jubilee is an old peach which drops before picking. It’s fine for backyard production, but not much else.

Sentry is very shy in terms of production. I’ve grown it for a number of years. I’m considering removing these trees.

Winblo isn’t as good as Ernies Choice, imo.

Intrepid is far from excellent bac. spot resistance. Other varieties are much better in this regard, for this window, imo.

Carolina Gold is pretty decent for disease res, but pretty weak on volume in terms of production.

Blushingstar is a big wow in terms of popularity for commercial growers right now. My opinion is that it’s a pretty weak white peach. Bac. spot susc. and not that great in terms of flavor. I could name several white peaches better, and cut several Blushingstars down last fall.

I’ve planted several Harrow Diamonds, but I doubt they will stand up to Earlystar which is my favorite tasting early yellow peach in this window. Spring Snow is by far the best tasting white in this window. Blows everything else away for this early season.

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Thanks so much for chiming in. I’ve read many of your evaluations and appreciate the wealth of experience.

I actually chose Golden Jubilee precisely because I read tons of Don’s old posts on the Houzz forum. I ran across them last year when I was first trying to research and learn about fruit trees. He is/was not located too far from me (northern VA I think) so I thought anything he liked might be worth a try for me. Can you explain to me what you mean by “drops before picking?” Does that mean the fruit often drops before ripe? As you can tell, despite having a few fruit trees around growing up, I’m really a newbie. :slight_smile:

I read Sentry wasn’t a very dependable yielder but was supposed to have decent resistance to bacterial spot. We haven’t done any grafting yet but in the years to come I figure I can try to graft another variety or two onto it if we don’t like it.

Do you mind telling me what nurseries might carry Ernie’s Choice (even if they’re out this year)? I can’t recall seeing it anywhere.

Intrepid is touted by Stark’s and the patent description sounded awesome but I’m sad to hear it doesn’t quite live up to the disease resistance promised.

Carolina Gold sounds like one that we might benefit from planting and then grafting another variety on perhaps? We have plenty of space to plant trees but don’t need huge yields as our goal is only to produce fruit for our family.

I really appreciate you weighing in on Blushingstar & Intrepid. Sometimes the nurseries & catalogs hype up a variety and the actual growers don’t agree – it’s good to know. I’d like a good white with disease resistance and good flavor so if you have a favorite or two I’d love to hear.

I ordered an Ernie’s Choice from Adams County Nursery for 2017. I do not know if there are any more in stock.

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Heart for home,

It takes seeing it to really know how frustrating it can be. Something like Belle of Georgia (I’ve grown) is the worst. In short, you want to wait till the peaches are close to tree ripe but come out every day to see a bunch more on the ground. If you pick a peach, three more fall on the ground. It doesn’t sound that bad to a home grower, until one experiences it, in which case it becomes pretty frustrating. I don’t grow peaches anymore reputed to drop. To be clear, Golden Jubliee is one I’ve never grown, just read that it drops badly.

Sentry peaches are very res. to bac. spot in my experience. The foliage and fruit are perfect. You just don’t get very many fruit.

Ernies Choice sources. Hmmm. I have grafted all my own for the last few years, so I’m not sure about the sources. Maybe Zombie is right that Adams occasionally carries it. I’ve planted more of it from my own grafts for the last three years. Alan has mentioned it picks over a longer period of time, but that hasn’t been a negative to me. The only negative I’ve seen is a larger variation in size compared to something like Winblo. But that hasn’t bothered me too much.

Both new North Carolina peaches Intrepid and Challenger haven’t shown strong bac. spot resistance for me. I have about 5 each of these trees planted, but they are still young. Lots of spotty foliage.

I wouldn’t give up on Carolina Gold yet. I have one which has been in production for a number of years. It’s a big tree. It isn’t a heavy producer, but I really like the quality of the fruit. I ordered a couple more of these trees, along with a couple of AutumnPrince to try from Vaughn nursery for this spring.

Be very careful in distinguishing bac. spot from scab. Many backyard growers don’t spray for scab which can be easily confused with bac. spot. I spray for scab and have been able to eliminate it from the fruit, but bac. spot is another issue. I sprayed lots of antibiotic last summer and still didn’t eliminate bac. spot. Because of that I finally started to get more serious removing bac. spot prone cultivars. I cut down over 35 trees last fall.

Some of my favorite whites are those which have very high sugar, and/or have some tartness to go with the white “bland” flavor.

Some high sugar whites I like are the donuts Saturn and TangOs II. Sweet Cap almost falls in that category, but not quite as consistently sweet here.

Some of the more flavorful whites are Spring Snow (extremely good for a white, and extraordinarily good for an early peach. I grafted over a dozen Spring Snow last fall for transplanting in my orchard. Raritan Rose is another good white peach. Lady Nancy also falls in the category. But neither is as good as Spring Snow. Silver Gem also falls in the same taste category, imo, although Silver Gem is a nectarine. Those are my favorite whites.

I’ve probably gotten rid of about a dozen other whites I didn’t like, (Kondike, Early Red Fre, Sugar May, Snowbrite, NJ252, etc). I think I can objectively say that most customers either like very sweet whites or whites with some “flavor”, like me. I’m still trying other whites. I recently planted Galaxy, which is supposed to be a better version of Saturn, and am still waiting for White River to fruit.

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My grandparents peaches used to get both scab and bacterial spot, but with the high humidity (they lived a little further east in VA than I do now and it was super humid) the ooze on the peaches from the bacterial spot was sooo nasty. It may not be AS bad in my area, I hope, since it’s a little less humid, but I’m still worried enough about it that I looked for resistant varieties. We will spray but as it will mostly be my husband trying to spray whenever he can fit in with his work schedule and the weather events I haven’t wanted anything too susceptible, i.e. some that would be a little more forgiving of us being less than perfect at spraying.

I spent a lot of years growing up fighting losing battles on weak cultivars of tomatoes, roses, etc. and have developed a real appreciation for the tough ones and a conviction that it’s better to plant a disease resistant variety than to try to baby along one that is super susceptible. . .it seems like something always goes wrong no matter how much you spray and try to get it “perfect.”


Heart for Home,

I hope you don’t mind me asking, but I’m curious how you found our humble little forum? Glad you’re here btw. :smiley:

At some point in my deluge of reading last year I stumbled upon a post by someone, probably Scott the founder, mentioning this new site dedicated to fruit growing discussions. I bookmarked it and came over and joined.

I don’t remember how I found the original discussions, probably by searching for info about a specific disease resistant cultivar. But once I found them I started reading most everything I could find especially posts from Don Yellman since he was the closest to my area. It’s hard to find real-life info that applies to one’s given climate issues so this forum is such an wonderful resource. I feel so bad for those who rely only on big box garden centers or catalogs like Gurney’s when they are buying fruits and veggies and have high hopes only to be disappointed. Probably many backyard folks get discouraged after a few failures and give up not realizing success could be within their grasp with the right variety(ies) and some basic info on care.

My husband and I both grew up around vegetable gardens and a handful of fruits but didn’t really pick up many specifics like how to prune or spray (my grandparents didn’t spray their trees at all and we cut lots of worms out of apples. . .) so are really starting from scratch. We have 2 little kids with a 3rd on the way so we hope to be able to inspire them with some delicious fruit. :slight_smile:



Have you thought about Contender? From my limited experience it is cold hardy (blossoms) and disease resistant. I am near you but Zone 7A.

I have, in passing – what do you think of the fruit quality?

I am relatively new to growing fruit. A friend has grown Contender for years and has consistent results (blooms/fruit when other trees don’t make it from frost). The fruit is good but I like other varieties better but I am no tasting expert on peaches. Having a good peach (vs a great) on a late frost year is better than having no peaches :slight_smile:. You may get better opinions from others. I am on the edge of the Blue Ridge and late frosts are common, I can’t imagine the Shenandoah Valley being much different frost wise.

For me the #1 issue for peaches by far is brown rot. Bacterial spot, canker, and peach scab are usually more in the cosmetic category, not always but mostly. I am not selling them like Olpea so the bar is lower on damage.

Yellow peaches I really like include Gold Dust, Clayton, Winblo, Ernie’s Choice, Kit Donnell, Red Baron, Rio Oso Gem (sometimes susceptible to spot though). Carolina Gold is also good but is low sugar relative to other ones. For white peaches I like Nectar and Oldmixon Free Improved.

You make a very good point. We had a late frost last year that wiped out the blossoms of the old crabapple on our property (our other fruit trees were just planted last spring). I haven’t really looked into the blooming times of the peaches I’ve considered. Something else i need to think about :slight_smile: Thanks!

Brown rot might be a real concern here too because of the humidity and heat. I’m just not familiar with it. There aren’t many resistant to it, though, are there? I think I remember reading about maybe Elberta and Baby (-something?). I guess perhaps the thing there is just to avoid those that are extremely susceptible.

We have lots of room in our orchard but don’t need too many trees or we’d never be able to keep up with the upkeep or the harvest. So I have to weigh which trees to get and which varieties to possibly graft in later. I’ll look at some of the ones you mentioned and see what’s in/out of patent. We got our Red Haven from Lowes on clearance before I had done any research on trees at all. . .just couldn’t wait to get the first fruit tree in the ground. :wink:

All peaches get brown rot to some degree. In my head I put varieties into categories of very susceptible, susceptible, and only moderately susceptible. I have eliminated all the very susceptible ones, not only do they cause problems themselves, they will spread their spores to the less susceptible varieties which in turn can get it really badly.

Another thing you want to do to help here is to clear out any rotting fruit on the tree, this will reduce the spore count. Brown rot is also on the shoots so clearing out the fruit will only help so much.

If you orchard has no brown rot spores nearby it can take several years for it to be a problem, so don’t think you are going to avoid it if its not a problem for several years of fruiting.

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Thank you very much. Our trees were just planted last year and there aren’t any nearby fruit trees that I know of. We have 8 acres and all our surrounding neighbors don’t have fruit trees. I definitely want to try to avoid anything super susceptible.

I’ve got a Carolina Gold and have been pretty happy with it. It has produced relatively well for me, though maybe I didn’t thin it enough, as the tree almost collapsed one year (when you have to tie it up, it isn’t a good sign).


I’m not sure which type of spots these are. That year, it got just a single shot of MFF.

I think that’s what happened for me. In 2016, we had a hard frost in early April that really thinned things out for most of the trees. Carolina Gold had a decent crop on it, but I lost most of it to brown rot. It is right next to a NJF16 TangO, which has been a bad rotter for years. It seems to have finally rubbed off on the CG.

CG can be interesting in terms of sugar. I’ve seen a bunch of examples where the two sides of the same piece of fruit have wildly different brix- like 11 and 18. The 18 part is fabulous, while the 11 is OK. I do like the acid kick they have.


I finally found something I was searching for – my list of peaches that stood out the most (or consistently) in my deep diving of old Houzz forum posts and other recommendations on the internet. I had 12+ on the list BUT I really don’t want us to end up with 12 trees. We just wouldn’t be able to keep up with either the upkeep or the harvest if we succeeded with the upkeep! (We’re already planning to try to keep all our fruit trees on the smaller side.) We were eager to get started last spring so we planted 3 peaches off the list that we were able to find (Sentry, Red haven, Golden Jubilee – best I could tell these all ripen about 5-10 days apart from each other). My hope is to increase the varieties we have at least partially by grafting (I think I’ll wait til next year to attempt that though.)

Carolina Gold is I THINK the only one on my list that is still patented so I would need to get that as a tree. Perhaps Harrow Diamond is as well?

All these below I read had good or at least decent disease resistance to bacterial spot (usually other diseases weren’t mentioned).
Gold Dust
Harrow Diamond
Contender (I had it on there and had forgotten! lol)
Carolina Gold

Some others that I noted for consideration were Clayton, Harcrest, Norman, (but these are hard to find I think), and Glohaven.

I know taste is a subjective issue for everyone. The only thing my husband and I have to judge against at this time is the grocery store. I like white peaches and yellow, my husband only likes the yellow, but we both generally prefer a peach that is juicy and has a full flavor – sweetness but a bit of tang is good too. And while we will eat plenty fresh, cooking into pies/cobbler and flavoring dishes like oatmeal is pretty forgiving. :wink: So I’ve made disease resistance my primary focus though Winblo and Biscoe made the list more from recommendations about the taste.

I never really thought about the blooming time. I guess if I have a mix of bloom times then I should get at least some if a late frost hits.

I think they are scab. Because I grow commercially, I think it’s fair to say I spray more fungicides than most others on this forum. Please don’t take offense Bob, but I’ve never seen such ugly fruits on Carolina gold (keep in mind I have to sell these fruits).

In terms of a larger disease issue, I’ve rarely see brown rot (regardless of the rain the last few years).

Brown rot can be a pretty big issue. Scott, et al regularly battle brown rot issues, but some of the new chemistries I use result in very little brown rot or scab loss.

Indar combined with Captan at the half rate almost produce perfect fruit. I will concede in extremely wet weather, the fruit will rot in a couple days after picking, but most of the time the spray regimen produces perfect fruit. Nay, beautiful fruit.

Not complaining, but most of the time, in the rare instances I’ve received scionwood, it has lots of spots from scab because backyard growers don’t spray much.

In humid climates, if you don’t spray much, you will get spotty scab fruit and brown rot. I’m not being judgemental, that same fruit has been less sprayed, less residues, but much more blotchy and more rot.

That’s pretty much the way it goes in humid climates. You either have the pests (diseases) or the pesticides.

I really hope I don’t sound judgemental. It all depends on one’s goals.

No offence taken. I actually laughed out loud when I read that. I agree, I’ll eat fruit which isn’t pretty at all. If you think this is bad, you should see any of my Goldrush apples. At least, those I didn’t bag. I suppose the ultimate worst would be a sooty/flyspeck apple with insect damage that I cut around, possibly extracting the worm. Believe it or not, there is actually a vendor at the farmer’s market which sells “no spray” apples, insect damage and all for $2/lb.

I had a large enough crop (in the above pic) that I shared them with the neighbors. Evidently, they weren’t bothered by it either, because they were asking for more. Maybe they figured that anything which looks that ugly must be really good for you :smile:

But, brown rot is a real problem, as I have no desire to eat the fruit affected by it.


We’ll be trying to be as low spray as possible since one goal is to provide fruit for our little kids. I don’t mind ugly fruit but it has to be edible and the tree needs to stay healthy to continue to produce. I think each person has to find their balance. Most backyard growers probably get to spray less than a commercial orchard because they can have lower beauty standards, and maybe can manage things more integrated like bagging, encouraging beneficial insects, etc. The best I can do for disease is try to make smart decisions and be alert. . .if only there were beneficial insects that ate diseases. :wink: