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are these fruit trees viable in Pennsylvania?

Posted by armyofda12mnkeys 6B (My Page) on
Fri, Dec 23, 11 at 12:25

I was looking at some fruit trees and most nurseries list the zone information but not the chill hours so I had to dig up some of that info googling. I was curious if these would do well and fruit in suburban Philadelphia,PA (zone 6B)...

Indian Free Peach (on Citation), 700 chill hours
Baby Crawford Peach (on Lovell), 800 chill hours
Double Jewel Flowering Peach (on Citation), 300-500 chill hours?
Pixie Cot Miniature Apricot (on Nemaguard), (600 chill hours)
Spice Zee Nectaplum (on Citation), 200-300 chill hours? crap guess this is low chill. Its ashame cause I already planted this one last summer and it grew impressingly from 15" stick in the ground to 6 feet.

I think I saw Philadelphia gets alot of chill hours(over 1400hrs?).
Im guessing for most of these, the winter will satisfy the plants dormancy requirements and a warm early spring will bring the plant out of dormancy and then kill the blooms when the weather gets cold again, esp the low chill one...
Are there any that have a good chance of getting fruit off of?

Are there any interesting peach/plout/hybrids and possibly unusual nectarine/apricot/Zaiger fruit trees that you would recommend for my east coast area?

Thanks!,
Ari


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: are these fruit trees viable in Pennsylvania?

Ari, in your location don't look at the chill, it is not relevant and is not that related to how early things bloom (there is a relation but its not major). If you look at a nursery closer to you such as Adams County Nursery you will see they don't even list chill hours.

Most peaches work well in your area, and few of the pluots do. The best hybrid for the east is Spring Satin plumcot; it is not a Zaiger fruit. Flavor Grenade is the only reliable pluot. Note that pluots are not really hybrids, they contain almost no apricot genes in them. Sprite and Delight, the cherry-plums, also do well in your area.

Few west coast apricots work well in the east, they may rot, crack, not fruit, get cat facing, etc etc. Tomcat has proved far the best variety for me, it is a great apricot every year. There are other varieties that work as well; look at an east coast nursery to see what they are selling.

Scott


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RE: are these fruit trees viable in Pennsylvania?

Ari:

Adam's County Nursery is a great resource for your area. Funny that they don't sell the Tomcot apricot that Scott mentioned but I'll second it as better than most of the California stuff you've been looking at. My favorite apricot is Robada, not proven in the East like Tomcot but worth a try.

Study past posts on this forum and choose from ACN, you'll be way ahead.

Here is a link that might be useful: ACN harvest chart


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RE: are these fruit trees viable in Pennsylvania?

Cool thanks fruitnut and scottfsmith, you guys are always the first posters here when I post or when i google something here :). I'll check out acn nursery.

fruitnut, I was out of the country off and on for past month, i'll have to read your response to my Dave Wilson 'Pruning B.O.C. decisions' thread. Thanks!


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RE: are these fruit trees viable in Pennsylvania?

Van Well Nursery seems to be the best source for Tomcot- last I checked they had 3/4" trees- I ordered 5. I can't find it from an East coast nursery.


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RE: are these fruit trees viable in Pennsylvania?

  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 23, 11 at 23:28

My only comment is that you are choosing peaches that require more intensive management.

Indian Free rotted bad for me as well as having significant bac. spot.

I have a new Baby Crawford, and expect bac. spot from it too. I planted it not because I expected to keep it a long time, but wanted to taste the fruit to find out if Andy Marini's hoopla over this peach is justified.

California peaches are a minefield to the Midwest or Eastern grower. A few work out, but most of them are not well suited to humid climates.


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RE: are these fruit trees viable in Pennsylvania?

  • Posted by bob_z6 6b/7a SW CT (My Page) on
    Sat, Dec 24, 11 at 2:01

Scott, I notice that you also gave Puget Gold a star in your profile, in addition to Tomcot. Is this based on flavor, ease of growth, or both?


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RE: are these fruit trees viable in Pennsylvania?

Some Zaiger products have performed well for me in the humid northeast. I used to grow White Lady peach which was very productive and not terribly prone to rot. I never seem to get bacterial leaf spot- but then I tend to grow resistant peaches, but White Lady must not be very susceptible to this either. I find its taste boring, however and stopped growing it even though my customers never complained and often love it.

Eastern Glo nectarine has been fine although necs are as a rule harder to grow than peaches. Redgold is also a good nec here. Nectarines may be prone to rot and insect damage, but at least they reliably set good crops and tree ripened are just as wonderful as any pluot to my palate.

I use synthetic fungicides so I don't find rot all that hard to control, but cracking can be an inevitable annoyance. I wouldn't grow nectarines to sell them, but I enjoy growing them myself more than peaches, I think.

Scott, who's the best source for Spring Satin you know of?


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RE: are these fruit trees viable in Pennsylvania?

Scott,

After reading what you have to say about Tomcot apricot here and on another thread I am intrigued.

I had pretty much written of peaches, nectarines, and apricots as requiring too many chemical sprays here in Maryland, so I wasn't going to plant any. How much maintenance does Tomcot require to get fruit?

I saw that Raintree Nursery had Tomcot on Lovell rootstock (probably not a good choice of rootstock in my relatively wet soil here . . .).

To echo harvestman, I am also curious about a good source for Spring Satin.

Thanks!
lind


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RE: are these fruit trees viable in Pennsylvania?

I did see Spring Satin on starkbros website. Think they are a good source based on reviews.
http://www.starkbros.com/products/trees/plum-and-plumcot-trees/spring-satin-plumcot


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RE: are these fruit trees viable in Pennsylvania?

Olpea, I agree about those particular peaches being disease susceptible and neglected to point that out. But, many of the California peaches have done well for me. I should clarify that we are talking about peaches sold pretty much only by the California nurseries today; many of these peaches, including Indian Free, are in fact east coast peaches. Rio Oso Gem, GM Mack, Gold Dust, George IV, Early Crawford, O'Henry (tho it cracks occasionally), and Heath Cling are all easy to grow. Only Rio Oso Gem, O'Henry, and Gold Dust are originally from the west. Oh, I don't think Andy's hoopla over Baby Crawford is warranted, but its a very good peach.

Bob, that profile needs some updating, I have gotten more picky over time and no longer am such a fan of Puget Gold. It is very reliably fruiting, but is too susceptible to peach scab and the fruits don't taste nearly as good as Tomcot, they are more watery and less flavorful. I added a couple new apricots last year in hopes of finding another good one that is a bit later than Tomcot, but at this point Tomcot has a huge lead on every other apricot I have tried.

Hman, Stark is the best source I know of for Spring Satin; I believe I got mine there. I have found Starks to be much improved in the past few years, I haven't had any issues at all. Edible Landcaping now sells it but their trees are potted so shipping is high. They are pretty good about offering easy to grow things only, so the fact that they are also offering it is a good sign.

Lind, all stone fruits require work to keep the plum curculio and oriental fruit moth damage under control. I use organic methods and it requires about four Surround sprays as well as four or so spinosad sprays as well as laying out mating disruption to control the moths. That plus brown rot and bacterial spot require disease sprays. Even if you are not going organic its going to take over six sprays per season I would say. Concerning Lovell, I have lots of Lovell and its been fine. Most of those rootstock remarks I take for commercial growers where they need to get optimal results, or for uncommonly bad soil conditions.

Scott


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  • Posted by bob_z6 6b/7a SW CT (My Page) on
    Sat, Dec 24, 11 at 15:59

Scott, thanks for the info on the apricot.

That you need 10+ sprays for stone-fruit is a bit disheartening. I was thinking I could do it with some combination of dormant oil, bagging (nylon or cotton- not sure which) and maybe a couple surround sprays...I've ordered trees which should (hopefully) be disease resistant- Glohavenn, TangOs, Carolina gold, Winblo, White Lady, and Flamin Fury 1.

Bob


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RE: are these fruit trees viable in Pennsylvania?

Who said you need 10+ sprays in a home orchard for stone fruit? I get peaches at some sites without a single spray here in southern NY- but that's not the norm. Early stoners aren't very prone to rot and I don't spray Methely of Harrow diamond for rot at all- they get only two sprays. Two insecticide sprays and one for rot works well at many sites for early and late peaches and most J. plums here.


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  • Posted by bob_z6 6b/7a SW CT (My Page) on
    Sat, Dec 24, 11 at 21:02

Harvestman, I'm glad to hear that- I was just adding up 4 Surround, 4 Spinosad, and an unspecified number of disease sprays and it seemed like quite a bit. My thought was that I'd need to actively defend against the bugs and would combat the disease problems mostly though disease resistant plants and location (a few in an almost full sun location and a few in pots I can leave under an overhang until the early spring rains have passed).

I wonder what causes the difference between you and Scott's experience? Is his climate that much worse for bugs (that is what 8 of his sprays are for vs 2 of yours) or are the organic sprays that much less effective than what you're using?

Bob


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RE: are these fruit trees viable in Pennsylvania?

My Surround program calls for 4 weekly sprays beginning at petal fall (of latest apples) to get adequate control of the most damaging insects. Plum Curculio seems to rarely appear before this time. So, yes, the synthetic approach reduces the aps considerably. I think the Surround may often hold up for longer than a week but my fear is that the apples will be unprotected as they expand in size- I'm not sure about this, but it's a problem with synthetic insecticides.

Organic fungicides are not nearly as affective for me as the best synthetic ones. In fact, I have a customer who has us applying myclobutanil with Surround on some scab susceptible ancient and huge apple trees and boy, did we ever get better results with the synthetic addition.

I'm a strong advocate of modern chemistry and think the dangers of exposure to humans from most modern pesticides is insanely exaggerated. It is a media and cultural delusion.

To me the real dangers are to the broad environment in huge scale agriculture. When someone shows me data of farmers suffering from their exposure in obvious ways I'll change my position, but I've seen considerable data that reveals the opposite as far as large epidemilogical studies comparing farmers to the general population.

However, if you can efficiently produce fruit using less poison, synthetic or otherwise, I'm all for it. I love the fact that Surround is a repellent and not a poison. Sulfur, on the other hand, is highly environmentally disruptive, IMO, and I think the synthetics are a better instrument. Scott does get good success with some of the org. material in controlling brown rot but plans to try some synthetic applications this year to try to improve efficiency.


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RE: s viable in Pennsylvania?

I should have added that the number of sprays you came up with may have been exaggerated by the fact that the applications carry multiple materials and you may be counting each material and not each application.


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RE: are these fruit trees viable in Pennsylvania?

For me the problem is there is not a lot of overlap on the spinosad and Surround. Surround here is May and spinosad is June/July. So there are eight sprays there for bug control alone. The disease sprays can be combined with those for the most part so there are about ten per year total for me. I expect one or two more synthetic sprays would be needed in the buggier climate down here compared to NY, but it still is a lot less.

Hman I would watch out on waiting for petal fall on the latest apples to apply Surround, I have been too late starting on Surround every year for the last three because I have been doing that. This coming year I am going to do an early spray where I hit only the trees that have dropped. I have not noticed any problems hitting a few open blossoms with Surround, the bees visit those guys too. I also have had problems on my apricots last year because I waited to hit them on my first spray on the plums, but that was too late for them. It seems like the curc is there the instant the petals fall.

Scott


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Harvestman - Thanks for posting more information about spraying. I am crossing my fingers that I have a good site and may luck out on insect and disease pressure. I am thinking that it is probably no simple coincidence that Edible Landscaping sells both Methley plum and Harrow Sweet Peach :)

Scott - Let me re-phrase my question a bit. Somehow I had the conception that nectarines, peaches, and apricots were much more difficult to grow than plums (maybe because I know more successful plum growers in other parts other country than peach and apricot growers . . .). Before planning to grow plums I knew there would be work required, but I'm growing mostly really easy stuff (ie. berries, figs, persimmons) so that frees up my time to spray plums (I'm sticking to early-ripeners . . . nothing later than Satsuma or Castleton to minimize brown rot issues). Now, I'm questioning the assumption I had made that plums were by far the easiest of the stone fruits (at least to grow with organic methods, like Surround sprays). From reading this board and other sources, now it seems like nectarines are more problematic than peaches. How difficult are early peaches and apricots relative to early plums? You had stated that Tomcot apricot avoided the worst of disease and insect pressures because it ripened early. My thought is that if I'm already spraying 4-5 plums with surround and insect-control spray then it is not that much more work to spray a couple peach and apricot trees. I guess part of my question is if peaches and apricots have additional problems that plums do not have.

I hope this post is helpful to other newbie mid-Atlantic growers!

Thanks, Lind


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RE: are these fruit trees viable in Pennsylvania?

Lind, your question was to Scott, who may have something else to do today (I'm still waiting for my son to wake up and my wife's family to arrive) but even though my experience is more useful to Bob than to you I can offer this.

Peaches hold surround well which is good for protecting the fruit but bad for trying to wash it off. Surround residue is harmless but looks pretty scary. The fact that it sticks and the fact that the hairs also function as a repellent can make insect control for peaches easier than plums IME.

Brown rot pressure varies greatly from site to site, and it's not all about light. Even though I've had no rot on Harrow Diamond I have one customer who has 4 later varieties and HD is the only one where brown rot is a problem.

At most sites, later ripening varieties are much more prone to rot but there is a wide range of pressure site to site. I would have thought that this range would be based mostly on whether the trees have a good eastern or overall exposure but there's more involved than this.

Also, as you already know, there's a big difference between varieties- even ones that ripen at the same time. I've found that older varieties are often less likely to rot. This includes Elberta and Belle of Georgia.


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RE: are these fruit trees viable in Pennsylvania?

Lind, I would say the order easiest to hardest is apricots, japanese plums, european plums, peaches, and nectarines. The problem with peaches is the oriental fruit moth can be worse on them. One big reason why peaches and OFM are a bad combo is the early generations in May/June drill into the shoot tips of peaches only; if you have no peaches they won't have so much good food early in the season.

Scott


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  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Sun, Dec 25, 11 at 21:12

"I should clarify that we are talking about peaches sold pretty much only by the California nurseries today; many of these peaches, including Indian Free, are in fact east coast peaches."

Scott,

Yes, by "California" I mean peaches marketed and grown in California and other arid western areas.

By "minefield" I mean a few work well in Midwest and East Coast but most are going to be more problematic in our humid climates. As you know, Jerry Frecon has done some testing of California peaches (particulary Zaiger's stuff) and has a few successes and popularized those for the East.

It would surprise me if Indian Free originated on the East Coast. According to the 1913 bulletin below, it originated from Mr. K. Carpenter of Victoria county TX, which would have a climate similar to CA.

Have you come across any of the old peach books mentioning growers in the East having success with Indian Free?

Here is a link that might be useful: 1913 TX Dept of Ag Bulletins (See page 102)


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RE: are these fruit trees viable in Pennsylvania?

Hey oldpea,
I thought Indian Free originated in East Coast? RainTree said "this heirloom variety was grown at Monticello [Virginia] by Thomas Jefferson" in the description... or did someone move it to the east coast?


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RE: are these fruit trees viable in Pennsylvania?

  • Posted by bob_z6 6b/7a SW CT (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 26, 11 at 2:33

Ao12M, according to this article, the peach Jefferson planted was the Indian Blood Cling peach (a different cultivar). This post agrees and backs Olpea up on Texas being the Origin. Of course, Dave Wilson says "origin obscure"...

Harvestman, I get what you are saying about the farmers in those studies, but what it says to me is that the healthier lifestyle (particularly exercise, I suspect) outweighs any negative impacts from the chemical exposure. I'm hoping to do even better and live forever by having plenty of exercise, fresh fruit and as little exposure as practical. :)

The trick seems to be figuring out what is needed. Are there any sprays which you know I'll absolutely need? If not, I'll probably start out with thinning out the PC damage, applying Surround footies the remaining fruit and see if it is enough. I think the worst case would be to lose a crop and know better what to do next year? Thank you for all the locally-relevant info!

Bob


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RE: are these fruit trees viable in Pennsylvania?

I am going by the peach bible, Peaches of New York, for the origin of Indian Free. Here is what it states:


Indian Blood Freestone. 3. Am. Pom. Soc, Cat. 28. 1873. 4. Ga. Hort. Soc. Rpt. 25. 1876.

Blood Free was probably raised by John M. Ives, Salem, Massachusetts, and is distinct from Blood Cling in having its stone free. The American Pomological Society placed the variety in its list of fruits in 1873 as Indian Blood Freestone but in 1897 shortened the name to Blood Free. Tree vigorous, hardy; fruit of medium size, compressed; apex roundish; skin greenish-white overspread with splashes and stripes of dark red; flesh blood-red throughout, juicy, coarse, tough and meaty; quality fair; stone free; season very late.

This description (besides the fair rating) seems accurate, in particular the "very late". This description is also quoted in the ARS system which likely has the Indian Free that nurseries are propagating today. I looked at that Texas bulletin and it stated mid August which seems too early. So, I think the Indian Free of today is this same peach with reasonably high probability. There were many red-fleshed peaches floating around the US so there always could have been a mix-up somewhere over the years.

Scott


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I'm not disagreeing with you Scott, but a peach that ripens in Texas in Mid Aug would ripen in NY as late as peaches ripen here, I believe.

Bob, a sizable portion of those farmers are in a pesticide fog for much of the growing season pulling mist sprayers with an open tractor as well as breathing known carcinogen solvents, diesel fumes, etc. on a regular basis. Of course their overall better health isn't because of the positive affects of these compounds (although I'm surprised there isn't a corporate propaganda campaign at least suggesting it).

I think it's a fine idea to start off using nothing and finding out what's needed as you go. That's how I developed my least input schedule. When I started there was no Surround so organic fruit production wasn't a practical option.

What I'm suggesting is that you make your decisions about using synthetics based on more than the current state of group think amongst people with concerns about the environment. I believe I'm as concerned about the environment as anyone but I don't think it's helpful to push mythology for any ideal.


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  • Posted by bob_z6 6b/7a SW CT (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 26, 11 at 19:20

I agree- "Synthetic" vs "natural" isn't the deciding factor for me- I'll check into the individual impact of each spray (to the applicator (me) and the consumer (family)). I majored in chemical engineering and worked in a research lab in school where I exposed myself to plenty of nasty stuff. Now that I'm older I want to take a more cautious approach. Thanks for sharing your experience.


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  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Tue, Dec 27, 11 at 15:48

"flesh blood-red throughout, juicy, coarse, tough and meaty; quality fair; stone free; season very late."

Scott,

Interesting description. Mine weren't "blood-red throughout". I'm not sure I would describe them as "tough" either, although the description of the exterior, and harvest time, match exactly.

I would have thought they would mention the tart flavor which (in my opinion) is the most distinctive characteristic of the peach.


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Whatever they grow at Montecello is not blood red, but has lots of red streaks. I sampled it at a Virginia NAFEX meeting about 10 years ago during a Montecello tour and really liked it. I can't remember if Tom Burford called it Indian Blood Free or just Indian Blood, but as I recall it was a freestone.


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  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Wed, Dec 28, 11 at 12:16

"lots of red streaks"

Yes, that's how I would describe it.

Here is a pic that looks similar to what I grew:

Here is a pic that more matches the description Scott posted:

Both Websites list them as Indian Free. Wonder if the difference is related to environmental factors?


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RE: are these fruit trees viable in Pennsylvania?

Flesh color of stone fruit with reddish or red streaked flesh is very much affected by growing conditions. The higher the brix and flavor, as brought on by water deficit, the redder the flesh. The skin is also usually darker. I'd bet the bottom picture above is sweeter fruit than the smaller picture.

I sometimes see pictures or videos of fruit or people sampling fruit. They say it's great but by the color I can tell it likely isn't.


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Hey all,
olpea, I think I remember that extremely red pic from some guys blog article.
http://www.tallcloverfarm.com/525/two-peaches-are-better-than-one
He states "Last year the Indian Free peaches were unusually crimson, but just as sweet when left to ripen on their own time."
The other pic on that article looks more close to 'streaking' pic posted (thats from RainTree i beleive).
Think both pics there were from same tree, so one year he had really purple-red flesh... maybe?

-Ari


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  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Wed, Dec 28, 11 at 20:08

Thanks Ari,

Yes the one pic is from that blog and the other Raintree has posted on their site. I hadn't noticed the different pics on the blog showing a red streak fleshed peach and solid red fleshed peach from the same tree (different seasons). His description of the peach is spot on.

He indicated no difference in flavor on the different colored fruits, which has been my experience with peaches as well (with a couple of exceptions). One exception would be that fruit from the lower interior of the tree is generally of poorer color and lower brix. The other time I've noticed a correlation is when I placed a shade cloth over a peach tree two weeks before harvest. The peaches colored poorly and weren't as sweet.


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