[NAFEX] Nectarines in the northeast (Z6, NY), my favorite "peach"

Alan Haigh alandhaigh at gmail.com
Wed Sep 9 07:50:42 EDT 2009

I posted earlier about the first half of harvest season producing mostly
bland, sugar deficient peaches.  This was largely the result of an
exceptionally cool and wet June and July.  The exceptions were less
established peaches- it seems their root systems didn't pick up as much of
the excess water.  It may also be that their lighter cropping and generally
less vigorous growth caused sweeter fruit.  The weather improved immensely
in August and late peaches have been satisfactory though not great.

It is interesting how much less nectarines were affected by these difficult
conditions.  They seem to also be significantly less vigorous as a group
than peaches- including those on my property that are well established.  Even
on my well established Summer Beaut nectarine, which was not adequately
thinned, the fruit was highly flavored.  Very small fruit had almost as much
flavor (sugar, acid, etc) as well sized fruit.

I have come to the conclusion that my favorite peach is in fact a nectarine
and intend to grow enough varieties to get a harvest that will span the
season.  This evaluation is based on the last 5 seasons that I’ve had any
nectarines to taste.  As a rule they are more intensely flavored than

Of course, as might be expected, there is a price to pay for the pleasure of
high brix nectarines and that is extreme susceptibility to brown rot.  I put
down 3 Indar sprays but stopped a month before harvest and still had
significant brown rot damage.  Even with the prompt removal of rotting fruit
the BR spread to small branches- killing them.  Next season I will rotate
the Indar with Pristine to try to control resistance.   I will continue to
try to avoid spray closer than 30 days from harvest.  The higher sugar also
makes them more attractive to yellow jackets, and birds.  Insects also like
the smooth skin.

So far, Summer Beaut and Redgold seem well suited for East coast conditions.
I salvaged some wonderful fruit from another tree I believe to be Hardired
but cracking, brown rot and wasps (they like the cracks) cost me most of it.
I’d like to know if anyone out there has grown other varieties in a humid
climate that are resistant to cracking.
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