Planting Date: 3/8/2021
The nursery near me had 3 varieties of semi-dwarf peach trees. My desires are pretty general. I want a delicious peach that can reliably ripen before a frost (as early as early September) and one that is hardy.
Ultimately I chose between the varieties, ‘Elberta’ and ‘Redhaven.’ These trees are very similar. They have pink, fragrant flowers in early spring and are self-pollinating. Their peaches are yellow, sweet, freestones turning a red color in late summer. Freestone types are preferred for eating fresh, while clingstone types are for canning.
These varieties have same chill hours of 800-950 hours of below 45 degree temps. The microclimate of the planting hole may bring extended spring warming / fall heating. Having a lower chill hour requirement will insure this tree can take the climate long haul.
Elberta peaches are large and juicy and Redhavens are medium and firm. Redhaven ripens from July to August, and since the fruits do not mature at the same time, you can have 2-3 harvests. Fresh peaches for a month? Yes please! And I can be sure to get a harvest before an unexpected frost.
I love every bit of the peach tree. Its wood is so sooo lovely. The topside is reddish and bottom is yellowy green. I have been using cuttings as a screen for birds to see a window is there. It’s definitely reduced bird strikes.
The Chinese also considered peach wood (t’ao-fu) protective against evil spirits, who held the peach in awe. In ancient China, peach-wood bows were used to shoot arrows in every direction in an effort to dispel evil. Peach-wood slips or carved pits served as amulets to protect a person’s life, safety, and health.
Here she is all planted up.
Don’t worry that’s not a plastic pot in the ground. The left over edging makes a great well to keep the compost mulch in place. Now a peach tree flanks either side of the shed. Hopefully next year I can get some scions from this little one to graft onto its happily robust big brother which is a rootstock variety like Prunus persica ‘Lovell’. I will also need to keep some of the root stock in flower to boost the productivity of this variety. Though they say its self-pollinating.
Will the winner on paper be a winner in the ground? We shall see.
To avoid sunscald (and since I forgot to get tree wrap at the nursery) I have added a temporary solution of white packing materials surrounding the trunk.
For more permanent solution I am going to paint its trunk once it warms up enough. I will use a 50:50 Interior flat white and water. The white will have a cooling affect on the trunk.
If you don’t want to grow your own there is always Palisade Peaches.
Update 3/10/2021 – Big snow is expected this weekend.
Our temp swings continue and I do worry my little Raven the Redhaven will not be able to stand the crazy conditions.
Pests to be on the watch for:
Peach Tree Borer if found in spring nursery stock would be evidenced as partially grown larvae found below the soil, and under bark or on larger roots. As it warms up most activity occurs a few inches below ground on the trunk and larger roots. I will be doing a check every few days to see of any activity around the sand I put next to the trunk is disturbed this spring.
Information on right plant, right place, pests, and more see: OSU Fruit Tree Presentation