[NAFEX] Zone 3 Peach Update

Jim F bonfire58_2000 at yahoo.com
Fri Jun 25 08:21:14 EDT 2004

    Last winter, the temperature dipped to -35° F and I've got four healthy Pequot Peach trees left, one of which has a partially killed riser.  Two others that had slight winter damage last year died above-ground and started shooting up from the roots.  They were in my way anyway so I dug the (2½" to 3") stumps out.  My seventh peach tree is in limbo, half dead and half not; I have yet to decide what to do with it.  The scionwood that any of you received came from the most winter-hardy.     I planted 216 peach seed last Fall, out of which 52 germinated.  Eighteen of these were greeted by Cutworms before I discovered them - I put plastic barrier rings around those I get to before the Cutworms find them. I also put barrier rings around the cut-off ones - some of these are growing a second shoot.
    Fifty-two out of 216, that's 24%.  I got less than a 10% germination from the seed I planted which produced today's bearing trees.  Some NAFEXers have warned me to not freeze my peach seed while I figure that a frozen survivor is more apt to produce a hardier tree.  The next step is to plant the seed from the newest survivors, and so on.  With a few more generations, I hypothesize having a truely hardy strain.  A younger person should be doing this research because, at age 63, how many more generations of peach trees can I live through?
    One more thing:  Last year the thermometer dipped to only -25° F and my four hardiest trees produced bountifully.  The temperature dipped to -35° F this last Winter and only two trees each produced only one blossom.
Jim Fruth
Pequot Lakes, MN 

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