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What type of nectarine will grow in the milwaukee area if any?

Posted by davidsteven (My Page) on
Sat, Jun 20, 09 at 4:35

Looking for a little help on this one. The best I can tell is maybe a redgold or fantasia. Im not sure if I can trust what im reading from some of these nursery web sites. It sounds like the tree can handle the zone 5 area, but Id rather get some input from someone not trying to make a sale.
any advise?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: What type of nectarine will grow in the milwaukee area if any

I'd say those varieties are as good as any and better than most. I just planted a Fantasia and used to have a Redgold in Amarillo. They will do better if you can get them some extra heat, provide a little water stress, and keep them from rotting in the rain. A poly high tunnel would be ideal in your climate; esp if you are near the lake.

The Fruitnut

RE: What type of nectarine will grow in the milwaukee area if any


Unless your climate is significantly different from mine, and I don't think it is, you will have great difficulty growing nectarines in the Milwaukee area. But the problems will be with the fruit itself, not the hardiness of the trees or their ability to set fruit. With nectarines in your humid, insect-ridden midwestern climate, fruit set is only the beginning.

Nectarines are attractive to the plum curculio, and perhaps the most fascinating of all fruits to the oriental fruit moth, which will attack the fruits all season long. You simply cannot spray enough, or find powerful enough chemicals to deter these insects on the smooth-skinned nectarine. Nectarines are also subject to various fungal diseases, especially brown rot, which means a lot of spraying with fungicides that still may not do the job.

I have tried at least 7 different nectarine varieties here in Northern Virginia, and have eventually given up and taken out all the trees. However, I can grow good peaches, although it is not easy.

So in response to your question, I would say: None of the above. Plant a good peach variety and you might, with proper tree care and open-center pruning plus some early sprays, be able to grow some peaches.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

RE: What type of nectarine will grow in the milwaukee area if any

I'd see what they are growing in Michigan, since the climate would be similar (if you are close to the lake...away from the lake its gets a lot colder). Michigan grows a lot of peaches, but am unsure of/IF they grow any nectarines.

I find peaches hard enough to grow, i probably wouldn't get ahead of yourself, but its your call!

RE: What type of nectarine will grow in the milwaukee area if any

Don, with all your great input, one thing puzzles me. You still assume that OFM is an equal problem everywhere east of the Missisippi. I have posted many times that in all the orchards I manage, which includes hundreds of peach trees in about a 100 mile radius, consisting of southeast NY, and a wide range of CT, OFM is usually just a minor problem once you've dispatched of plum curculio with pedal fall and first cover spray around mid-spring.

Most sites the OFM damage is negligible even on growing shoots and never in 20 years has it been an issue in fruit that is given the aforementioned sprays in orchards I manage.

David, I wouldn't start growing nectarines unless you've already succeeded with peaches and want to try something more difficult. Controlling insects probably won't be harder than for apples up there, but cracking and brown rot probably will be.

I have one variety that I've grown for years that always cracks but most years I can get a crop with several applications of Indar.

Last year I harvested a few fruit from a very young Summer Beaut that had no cracks in spite of lots of rain. The fruit was great so I have a young Redgold that I left a few fruit on this year and if they don't crack I may put it in my own orchard also(I have a bearing age fruit tree nursery). Red Gold is said to be crack resistant and very high quality.

Expect to have to work harder to keep brown rot from destroying the fruit of any variety of nectarine.

Sorry I don't have more experience with nectarines to provide you with more complete info. Let us know how you do.

RE: What type of nectarine will grow in the milwaukee area if any

According the University of Wisconsin here, OFM is not an issue in Wisconsin.

There are plenty of other bugs to worry about, however!

RE: What type of nectarine will grow in the milwaukee area if any

  • Posted by jean001 z8aPortland, OR (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 22, 09 at 13:50

This 32-page pub from the University of Wisconsin has info.

Here is a link that might be useful: growing nectarines in WI

RE: What type of nectarine will grow in the milwaukee area if any

The first paragraph is so wrong in the publication that I think you can completely disregard any info it contains. These universities let complete idiots write these things- you have to go with the people who supply info for commercial growers. Stonefruit flowers are killed when temps drop below 0 degrees F!!! Maybe if it was 60 degrees the day before.

Thanks all

Thanks for all the input. Ive just come across the Hardired nectarine while surfing the internet. I think this one might give me my best chance for this area.

RE: What type of nectarine will grow in the milwaukee area if any

  • Posted by jean001 z8aPortland, OR (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 22, 09 at 23:54

Sheesh, complete idiots? That's a tad harsh, don't you think?

I found this after a very brief search from U Mass:
"southern New England is on the edge of the northern limit of peach production territory. Unlike apples, which can survive mid-winter temperatures as low as -30 to -35 F., peach trees start to be seriously damaged (shoot death) when the temperature drops below -20, and fruit bud injury occurs once the temperature falls into the -10 to -15 F. range.
It's from

Likely one could find lots more info by spending a little time on an internet search.

Here is a link that might be useful: bud cold tolerance

RE: What type of nectarine will grow in the milwaukee area if any

Read the first paragraph. My assesment is not harsh at all. Bud hardiness is one of 3 of the most essential issues in choosing a cultivar for a colder region and they were off by about 17 degrees!- this is not a forgivable mistake in a supposedly researched based publication. This is tax money supported after all.

Hardired is an older cultivar- I bet you could do better. I'm telling you- in the east, cracking is at least as big an issue as cold-hardiness and I believe Hardired is a real cracker. There has been about 40 years of breeding work since Hardired. At least look into it a little further, I know I initially grew Hardired and it may even be the cracker in my orchard right now- unfortunately I've lost track. It's possible I'm giving it a bad rap.

You can post a direct querry about this variety and see if anyone is growing it in the humid part of the country. It is supposed to be brown-rot resistant.

I still say that it is quite a bit easier to grow peaches where there is high humidity.

RE: What type of nectarine will grow in the milwaukee area if any

The UW-Extension is just very conservative in their publications. I don't think they were wrong or trying to be misleading, but they are using very conservative numbers so they don't get complaints. They're very careful in what fruits they recommend too. They do seem to know what they are talking about within their area of expertise but they aren't experimenters or zone pushers.

RE: What type of nectarine will grow in the milwaukee area if any

I didn't say they were trying to be misleading, but I wonder why you apologize for such an egregious error. This isn't being conservative it is simply blatantly inaccurate, believe me. 2 or 3 degrees would be conservative.

I am a professional fruit grower and work with Cornell all the time. With Cornell, the stuff that goes out to the general public isn't written by the same people who really know their stuff and guide the commercial growers. Similar publications as the one you mentioned that are put out by Cornell are equally full of errors. They also often contain useful information but when a writer is simply sourcing info and is not an expert on the subject, they make a lot of mistakes. When you are writing for a publication of this sort you aren't motivated to go to as much trouble double checking info as if you were writing your own book.

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