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 Growing O'Henry peach tree in Willamette Valley.Suggestions? 
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Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 9:28 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Albany, Oregon (Willamette Valley)
Post Growing O'Henry peach tree in Willamette Valley.Suggestions?
Hi, I am a new member of this forum and I just planted an O' Henry peach tree in my back yard that I bought at Grocery Outlet. I amended the surrounding clay-like soil with plenty of compost and planted the tree as soon as I bought it. Originally I wasn't going to buy it because I'm reluctant to plant something that came from Grocery Outlet. But then, eventually the gardening fanatic in me rose and I just really wanted to have a peach tree in my backyard. I also have a 1 1/2 y/o plum tree in my backyard planted from seed that has a lot of foliage BTW. Right now, it's been about 2 1/2 weeks since I've planted the peach tree. I'm guessing that it's either 1 or 2 years old. It is about two feet tall and hasn't formed foliage until now. I've been worried about it because it looked dry when I bought it and it has been raining heavily during the past few days. I believe that it has been pruned before it was shipped to Grocery Outlet because the top stem appears to have been cut back to a desirable height. According to the label this peach tree came from La Grange, CA and is an O' Henry cultivar. It was the healthiest looking of the trees because it still was at the stage with no leaves which meant it wasn't too late for me to plant it. Right now it is just beginning to form foliage. NOW, MY REAL QUESTION IS, WILL THIS O' HENRY PEACH TREE GROW AND PRODUCE FRUIT IN MY AREA? I live in the Albany/Corvallis area of Oregon. From the sources that I've read so far, it doesn't seem like this cultivar can survive the climate in Oregon since it originated from Central California. I've heard from many farmers that the Veteran peach is a great one to grow in my area. Now, I've been thinking about removing my O' Henry peach tree and replacing it with a Veteran peach tree. What do you guys think? I found a very healthy Veteran peach tree at Fred Meyer and was mad at myself for not waiting for a more hardy tree to plant. Still, I did put a lot of effort in planting my O' Henry peach tree and caring for it every day. It gives me pain to remove it. I know that since my tree is now forming foliage that it's probably too late to remove it but I just was wondering about the possibility. I still always could just move it to my front yard and put a Veteran peach tree in its old place in my backyard.


Mon May 04, 2009 10:29 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1164
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Growing O'Henry peach tree in Willamette Valley.Suggestions?
“QUESTION IS, WILL THIS O' HENRY PEACH TREE GROW AND PRODUCE FRUIT IN MY AREA?”

First off, I love your enthusiasm – you’re definitely one of us! …and we were all there once. I remember my first two “Veteran peach trees,” they lasted around 4 years. Each year another main scaffold limb would ooze sap, it’s new growth would die and I’d remove ‘that limb.’ Between the two trees it took me around 4 years to finally replace them, with a fig and an apple tree.

Not to ‘give up,’ my Great-grandfather (on the same ‘farm’) grew peaches; a Red Heaven I’ve been told. So I special ordered a “Harken” peach, supposedly immune to peach leaf curl, their first nemesis. It likely lasted 3 years …as I watched the same series of diseases attack it, baring ‘leaf curl.’ ‘It’s’ now a magnificent Asian Persimmon tree!

One of my Uncles managed a large peach orchard on Sauvie Island (just north of Portland, with never-ending topsoil) and described a litany of sprays they’d apply about every two weeks… seemingly all year. There was also ‘some chemical’ that was about to be banned so the owner of the farm bought up pallets of it and said when they ran out of it, he’d stop growing peaches – “because it was the only thing that kept them alive.”

I never tried growing them again…

We’ve gone over this tale before, but we’ve also a bundle of new contributors here. Since it’s now been decades since I’ve tried to grow peaches, someone may have better, if not more recent information and suggestions. …But at the same ‘real nursery’ I’d bought my two Veterans from, the owner, already having sold to a Japanese electronics firm, said, “It should be illegal to sell peach trees in the Willamette Valley.” That’s why I snuck back to buy them when he wasn’t there… Maybe he was right?

You said: “Right now, it's been about 2 1/2 weeks since I've planted the peach tree.” …I’d say it’s likely ‘safe’ to carefully remove and quickly replant your peach tree… They’ll begin to form tiny white fibrous roots that easily break off when disturbed. It’s not likely a good Idea, but a good question. Maybe we’ll get some advice on that, too.

One HOS member has threatened for years to build a plastic roof over his peach tree, or something like that… He says the rain spreads the disease that adversely affects them – so figures if he keeps it dry it might survive :|

But, I’ve also got a couple of peach trees planted at a neighboring home that have been totally neglected. I think they are Veterans! A ‘Sister-in-law’ actually planted them (since moved) and I’ve been the only one to prune them. They get morning sun, which is the only reason I think they’ve survived; it must dry them early in the day. They’ll occasionally get leaf-curl, but not bad enough to have killed them. They’ve been in for around… 10 years, and are actively growing. Glad I thought of them! So now we’re totally confused :roll:

Let’s stay tuned for more advice on peaches in the Willamette Valley ~

Hey – check this out, an earlier discussion on peaches, about two years ago: viewtopic.php?p=2095

Skimming through my comments reminded me I’d tried a couple more peaches even earlier than the “Veterans,” …and due to their death, tried the Vets.

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Tue May 05, 2009 8:26 pm
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Joined: Mon May 10, 2004 1:00 pm
Posts: 204
Location: SE Portland
Post Re: Growing O'Henry peach tree in Willamette Valley.Suggestions?
There are so many things that grow well in the Willamette valley, and even they want maintenance and attention. Why work so hard coddling trees that really don't want to be here?

mh


Tue May 05, 2009 8:50 pm
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Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 9:28 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Albany, Oregon (Willamette Valley)
Post Re: Growing O'Henry peach tree in Willamette Valley.Suggestions?
Hey guys, thanks for responding to my post. The main reason I'm growing a peach tree in my backyard is because I would be willing to take the time to care for a tree that can give me a bountiful harvest of juicy, delicious peaches. Part of why I'm doing this is also because I grew a young plum tree from a seed that is definitely very happy in my backyard, growing tons of leaves and. I also have strawberries and zucchini growing on the other side of my backyard. I guess you could say that I just got the hobby of caring for plants from my grandmother. She definitely had a green thumb. Still, she never grew any fruit or vegetables. That is why I have decided to grow plants in my backyard other than dull grass or just flowers. Plus, at least I will have a decent supply of extra food in my backyard. So, anyway, I still didn't get the clear answer to my question though. Will an O' Henry peach tree grow in my area? I did work hard to plant it and take care of it every single day since I bought it. Do you guys recommend any delicious variety that would grow in my area? If I can't replace my current tree, I could still let the O' Henry peach grow and see if it will produce fruit. The real reason why I have asked you guys though is because I don't want to end up growing a tree that won't be able to produce fruit for me. I mentioned the Veteran peach because it is apparently a cold-hardy peach and it does taste good when ripe. I tried tasting one from a farm and it was delicious. SO NOW, MY MAIN POINT COMES UP AGAIN. SHOULD I REPLACE THE O' HENRY TREE WITH A DIFFERENT ONE OR JUST LET IT GROW TO SEE IF IT WILL PRODUCE FRUIT? Because, if I do replace it, I'll just put it in my front yard and put a new tree in my backyard as the main source. Any suggestions, comments, or advice would help.


Tue May 05, 2009 10:00 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1164
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Growing O'Henry peach tree in Willamette Valley.Suggestions?
“I still didn't get the clear answer to my question though. Will an O' Henry peach tree grow in my area?”

My opinion? Yes, it will grow. How long will it last? I’d give it four years. I’ve never heard of that cultivar, which doesn’t mean much. If you give it the ultimate in care (as I did mine), I’d give it the same...

“SO NOW, MY MAIN POINT COMES UP AGAIN. SHOULD I REPLACE THE O' HENRY TREE WITH A DIFFERENT ONE OR JUST LET IT GROW TO SEE IF IT WILL PRODUCE FRUIT?”

That’s your decision, I doubt anyone on the fourm will ‘tell you’ what to do. We can provide as much on, or in-the-ground experience as anyone, but your delimia remains yours. I don’t know how much reading you did, but the very last post on the link I gave had the best varietal info I’d seen as of yet: viewtopic.php?p=2095 When responding to “my peach advice” (which is actually quite discouraging), Tstoehr repeated my comments, then gave his own:

> I know, I shouldn’t be discouraging anyone from growing nectarines or peaches,
> but as one who's given up - I thought I'd at least explain way


“Give up on peaches? Not yet. My Avalon Pride is loaded with peaches that are already ripening. My Oregon Curl Free appears to have a decent crop too. Charlotte is a shy bearer, but still manages an offering. Although I find that my peaches are sometimes soft and watery on one side, and hard on the other. Still decent flavor, though. If they do succumb and die due to disease problems I think I would replant them. As long as I got, say, five years of production.

This year's peach crop is my best so far. Last year I switched to summer pruning and that may have made all the difference. It could also be that the trees are just naturally maturing into productivity. Or this has just been an exceptional peach year, hard to say.”


There you go – “Avalon Pride” – “Oregon Curl Free” – “Charlotte” -- There are three cultivars from a dedicated Oregon Orchardist! It doesn’t get much better than that :)

Tell us what you decide :?:

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Wed May 06, 2009 10:47 am
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Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 9:28 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Albany, Oregon (Willamette Valley)
Post Re: Growing O'Henry peach tree in Willamette Valley.Suggestions?
Hey Viron, thanks for your thoughts on this matter. I have decided that I will probably let it grow and see if it will produce fruit. It seems to be too late to remove it because it's quickly forming foliage and I'm too afraid of hurting it to remove it. I guess that's that then. I'll just let it grow and hopefully within a few years it'll produce fruit for me. Meanwhile, I'll just wait until the peach season starts so that I can eat peaches again. Even though I didn't move my beloved O' Henry peach tree, I am happy that you guys responded promptly and gave good responses that helped me make a decision. Still, just to be safe, do you think it would be okay if I just kept the O' Henry peach tree in the backyard and plant a different peach tree on my front yard just in case my O' Henry peach tree doesn't produce fruit? That way, I could enjoy both peaches or one of them and if I have too much the kids in our neighborhood would be more than willing to eat them. Besides, I do have plenty more years to look forward to seeing it grow. So if I'm 13 y/o right now then by the time I'm about 15 or 16 I should have peaches, right? If so, I'm definitely taking care of the peach tree as best as I can. Anyway, thanks for everything and I'll keep you posted when something happens later on. ^_^ :wink:


Wed May 06, 2009 5:41 pm
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Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 11:28 pm
Posts: 485
Location: Willamette Valley near Scio
Post Re: Growing O'Henry peach tree in Willamette Valley.Suggestions?
Wow. I wish somebody had taught me some fruit growing at 13! Hang around here, Albany kiddo. You'll be wearing diamonds big as horse turds before you know it. Or is it horseturds big as diamonds? Whatever. stickaround!

Come by my place sometime and I'll teach you how to graft. Anytime this rainy weather ends I will start grafting again. You are welcome to watch and learn. Bring your parents!


Wed May 06, 2009 7:23 pm
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Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 10:57 am
Posts: 1369
Location: Portland, OR
Post Re: Growing O'Henry peach tree in Willamette Valley.Suggestions?
Don't worry about hardiness. That's the least of your problems. Peaches are really hardy. Disease is your problem. Plums are really a good fruit to grow around here. Most HOS'ers have them. Very few try peaches, apricots, or nectarines, despite the fact that they are all delicious. Those three hate wet Springs. Look outside. They won't pollinate right, they get diseases, you have to spray them like crazy. I may try someday. One idea I heard was that if you prune your peach tree like an espalier apple, you can cover it with a tarp in January and February, and you won't get peach leaf curl. Now you will still get bacterial diseases. You might try compost tea for that. You have to prune them like crazy, and they don't live long even in dry places like Yakima. I would try Avalon Pride or something else vigorous.
John S
PDX OR


Wed May 06, 2009 8:32 pm
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