Opened on March 05, 2021. Last updated by The POOG on March 14, 2021.
This document reviews the major peach and nectarine cultivars recommended for Ontario in the Peach and Nectarine Cultivars factsheet. In it, the term cultivar is any horticulturally recognized and named type or sort that can only be maintained through vegetative propagation or the use of selected breeding lines and seed sources.
Cultivars and requirements are described below.
Growth Climate Zones
Spring frost during bloom is a threat in most regions of Ontario. To ensure fruiting, peaches and nectarines should be grown in areas that have some moderating affect from one of the Great Lakes or on a site with a slope that allows for good air drainage.
Winter injury restricts production to the warmest areas of southern Ontario and the most protected sites. Unfortunately, no hardiness zones are recommended so we will assume the same zones as for apricots and sweet cherries, zones 7a and 7b. Depending on your site, choose the hardiest cultivars only. We will assume that the later the date of ripening, the farther away from spring frosts the cultivar may blossom.
See Figure 1 below for an Ontario zone map.
In the factsheet, section Recommended Peach and Nectarine Cultivars, Tables 1 and 2 list recommended varieties from earliest to latest dates of ripening. Tables 3, Table 4 (the factsheet has a discrepancy in table numbering) and Table 5 under Peach and Nectarine Harvest Dates, list most cultivars in order of the average dates of first commercial harvest at the University of Guelph, Department of Plant Agriculture, Vineland. Actual harvest dates and performance characteristics in any region may differ from dates above and general cultivar characteristic descriptions below.
All recommended peach and nectarine cultivars are self-fruitful. There is neither a need to interplant cultivars to improve fruitfulness nor to add bee colonies to the orchard to improve fruit-set.
Following best management practices helps ensure the development of healthy trees that produce numerous, strong blossoms. Examples of best management practices are soil and air drainage (especially at bloom time), satisfactory soil fertility levels, appropriate pruning and integrated pest management (IPM) programs.
Below are cultivars from Tables 1 and 2 referenced above. For pictures of fruit see the Peach Photo Gallery. Name colour codes are: green (#3fd200) for first choice due to the best characteristics of late maturity, fruit properties, and disease tolerance of trees; orange (#d2a400) for second choice for trees that are slightly less than optimal but still excellent; and red (#ff0000) for not recommended because of one or more severe limitations. Names uncoloured in black are considered undistinguished but may still be planted as good trees. Cultivar characteristics that have factored into the colour coding are shown in bold.
- AllstarTM (FA 80) Matures 2 days prior to Harrow Beauty and is a medium-sized, bright red fruit with clear yellow flesh. The fruit is medium firm with fair quality. The fruit and the tree have shown signs of bacterial spot.
- BlazingstarTM Matures 3 days after Redhaven. Highly coloured, round and attractive, firm-fleshed peach. Size and fruit quality are acceptable. The fruit and the tree are susceptible to bacterial spot.
- Bounty New cultivar from USDA-Kearneysville, West Virginia, ripening 2 days before Loring. It has more colour compared to Loring, is rounder in shape and has better flavour. Bounty has had light crops under extreme cold winter conditions in Ontario.
- Brighton Has shown promise as an early-ripening peach. The fruit are medium in size, attractive red in colour and of good quality, but have a clingy flesh. Brighton ripens 5 days after Garnet Beauty.
- CoralstarTM Matures 4 days prior to Harrow Beauty and is medium to large in size, bright red and has clear yellow flesh. The fruit is medium firm with only fair-to-poor quality. The fruit and the tree are susceptible to bacterial spot.
- Cresthaven Ripens 10 days after Harrow Beauty with firm, large fruit. It is moderately susceptible to bacterial spot. The fruit lacks sufficient colour to compete against other cultivars.
- Early Redhaven This Redhaven sport ripens 2 days after Garnet Beauty, but with similar characteristics. The fruit may be more highly coloured and smaller, and the firmer flesh tends to be clingy. Early Redhaven has been widely planted during recent years.
- Flamin Fury® PF-5B Early results from a grower CanAdapt trial indicate that it ripens 1 day after Harrow Diamond and is medium sized with good crops. The fruit has an attractive red blush with few split-pits and medium-to-good tolerance to bacterial spot.
- Flamin Fury® PF-15A Early results from a grower CanAdapt trial indicate that it ripens 1 day before Redhaven and is medium sized with good crops. The fruit has an attractive red blush with very few split-pits. It has medium to good tolerance to bacterial spot.
- Flamin Fury® PF-17 Ripens 2 days after Harrow Beauty and is medium sized with good crops. The fruit has a dark red, highly coloured blush with good quality. It has good tolerance to bacterial spot.
- Flamin Fury® PF-23 Ripens 6 days after Harrow Beauty and is medium sized with good crops. The fruit has a scarlet red, highly coloured blush with good quality. It has fair-to-good tolerance to bacterial spot.
- Flamin Fury® PF-24 007 Early results from a grower CanAdapt trial indicate that it ripens 10 days after Harrow Beauty and is large sized with good crops. The fruit has a fair colour and blush with good quality. It has medium-to-good tolerance to bacterial spot.
- Garnet Beauty This bud sport of Redhaven ranks second in number of trees to its parent in Ontario. Garnet Beauty is a good-quality peach, ripening about a week after Harrow Diamond. It is attractive, usually not subject to split-pits, but not fully freestone.
- GlowingstarTM Ripens 11 days after Harrow Beauty and has medium-to-large-sized fruit with good crops. The fruit has a bright red colour with good blush and quality. It has good tolerance to bacterial spot.
- Harbrite Ripens 4 days after Redhaven. It is bud-hardy and a good peach for its season. Fruit is medium to large, round, with an attractive red colour. The fruit are resistant to bacterial spot and brown rot.
- Harcrest Ripens just before Redskin and promises to be a late-season cultivar with good disease resistance. The fruit of Harcrest are medium large, quite firm, good quality, and have good winter hardiness and disease resistance but no better blush than other cultivars in this late season.
- Harken Ripens 2 days after Redhaven. The large, attractive peach has a good red colour covering most of its surface and a bright yellow ground-colour. The flesh is firm and of good quality. Because it oxidizes slowly, Harken freezes well. Resistance to bacterial spot and brown rot is good.
- Harrow Beauty Ripens with Loring and Canadian Harmony but is more winter-hardy. The very firm, highly attractive, medium-sized fruit ships well. The rich yellow flesh has a red pigment around the pit cavity. Leaves and fruit have good resistance to bacterial spot and brown rot.
- ACTM Harrow Dawn (PBR 0573 formerly HW 254) This new AAFC-Harrow introduction ripens 11 days before Redhaven. Tree is hardier than Redhaven, vigorous, productive, and medium-to-high field resistance to bacterial spot, brown rot and canker. Fruit is very attractive, bright red blush on a yellow background, uniform ripening, medium size, firm yellow flesh, usually freestone when ripe, medium-to-good quality, very few split-pits.
- Harrow Diamond Ripens about 1 week before Garnet Beauty. It is winter hardy, disease resistant and has few split-pits. The fruit have an attractive red blush over a bright yellow background; the deep yellow, low-oxidizing flesh is of good quality and is nearly freestone when fully matured. Because the fruit is small-to-medium sized, this cultivar must be thinned early and adequately to obtain suitable size.
- ACTM Harrow Fair (PBR 0574 formerly HW 259) This new AAFC-Harrow introduction is harvested a week before Harrow Beauty. The medium-to-large, round fruits are brightly coloured, juicy and flavourful. The trees have good disease resistance. A good variety to precede Harrow Beauty.
- Harson Ripens with Redhaven. The highly coloured, attractive medium-to-large-sized fruit are nearly freestone, firm and of good quality. The crop is uniform and packs out very well. The strong and productive trees have above-average field resistance to bacterial spot, brown rot and Leucostoma canker diseases.
- Jim Wilson Ripens 1 day before Veeglo at Vineland and may provide a good alternative for that season. The large, round fruit are attractive, and the firm flesh is freestone. The vigorous, strong trees are capable of sizing the fruit with full crops. The cultivar is more resistant to bacterial spot than Veeglo.
- Loring This late-season peach is large, firm, yellow-fleshed, freestone and known for its good quality. Loring lacks winter hardiness and should not be planted on marginal sites. Once an industry standard, it now lacks sufficient red skin colour to compete with newer cultivars.
- RedstarTM Ripens with Redhaven and is medium sized with good crops. The fruit has a scarlet-orange colour with good blush, fair quality and few split-pits. It has good tolerance to bacterial spot.
- Redhaven This older mid-season peach is an attractive red colour with good fruit quality. Trees frequently set heavy crops and must be adequately thinned to attain size. The crop ripens unevenly, and trees must be harvested several times. When well grown and properly handled, Redhaven is a superior cultivar with good winter hardiness.
- Redskin A medium-sized, good-quality, late-ripening freestone with fairly good colour. Trees tend to be somewhat willowy but are very productive.
- RisingstarTM Ripens 1 day before Garnet Beauty and has medium fruit size with fair-to-good crops. It has an orange-red colour with good blush, fair-to-good quality and few split-pits. It has good tolerance to bacterial spot.
- Springcrest Ripens 2 days prior to Harrow Diamond and is considered an early peach for the local fruit stands and fruit markets. Fruit size is small and has several early split-pit fruit. Skin can be very deep purple as it matures. This cultivar is also winter sensitive.
- StarfireTM Ripens 1 day after Redhaven and has medium fruit with good crops. It has scarlet orange-red blush with good fruit quality and few split-pits. It has good tolerance to bacterial spot.
- Veeglo A cultivar between Redhaven and Loring. The round fruit have a bright yellow undercolour and are suitable for freezing and canning. Veeglo is only moderately resistant to bacterial spot.
- Vivid Has bright red, attractive, firm fruit that are above average in size and of good quality. The trees are vigorous and productive. Vivid has become an important cultivar to follow Redhaven. It is less winter hardy than Redhaven. Do not plant on marginal sites.
- Vollie NEW (formerly V55061) A late-season cultivar between Loring and Cresthaven seasons with medium-large, attractive red fruits. The fruits have a very good flavour and nice melting flesh. The trees have moderate-to-good disease resistance. This variety consistently crops well.
The following fresh market peach cultivars have been dropped because they are no longer considered important:
Canadian Harmony, Candor, Clyde Wilson, Correll, Cullinan, Derby, Earliglo, Earlired, Elberta, Ellerbe, Envoy, Ernared, Flamin Fury® PF-1, Golden Monarch, Harbelle, Harvester, Jayhaven, Jerseyglo, Madison, Newhaven, Redkist, Reliance, Sentinel, Sentry, Sunhaven, Velvet, and V75013.
- BlushingstarTM (FA 18) Harvested 2-4 days after Loring. Round, medium-to-large fruit attractively blushed with pinkish-red overcolour, firm flesh of good quality. Good tree, productive but moderately susceptible to bacterial spot disease.
- White Lady Ripens 5 days after Redhaven. Round, firm and very attractive. Low acid flavour with moderate aromatic character. It is also moderately susceptible to bacterial spot disease.
- Babygold 5 Once considered a standard in Loring season due to its large size and quality, tree hardiness, productivity and winter hardiness. Due to its susceptibility to bacterial spot, brown rot and the upright tree growth habit, it is being replaced by cultivars with greater disease resistance such as Venture .
- Babygold 7 Ripens 9 days later than Babygold 5 and extends the season for processing peaches. Like Babygold 5, the large fruits are of exceptional quality for processing. The upright trees, although productive and winter hardy, are difficult to train. The fruit is susceptible to brown rot disease and tends to drop at maturity.
- Catherina® (FredericaTM) This new clingstone cultivar, formerly tested as NJC-83, was developed at the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. Introduced in France by the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), it ripens 10 days before Babygold 5. The moderately vigorous and spreading trees consistently produce good crops of medium-to-large fruit that are round and firm with an orange-yellow flesh and a sub-acid flavour. The trees are moderately resistant to Leucostoma canker and bacterial spot diseases. A good choice for a processing peach cultivar that ripens between Veecling and Babygold 5.
- Veecling Ripens 17 days before Babygold 5 (2 days after Redhaven), The strong, productive trees produce large, good-quality fruit. Veecling is tolerant to bacterial spot but is subject to split-pits and red colouration in the flesh. The processor is not supporting any new plantings as superior cultivars are introduced.
- VentureTM (formerly V75024) This new cultivar, introduced in 2000, ripens 2 days after Babygold 5 and is capable of producing large crops of large fruit of good quality and firmness. The fruit has some red in the flesh near the pit under certain conditions but no more than Babygold 5. The fruit has good resistance to bacterial fruit spot and brown rot and hangs well on the tree. The strong and productive tree is less upright than the Babygolds and easier to train. An excellent variety to replace Babygold 5.
- Vinegold Ripens 8 days before Veecling and is a good choice for an early-season canning peach. The strong and spreading trees are productive and moderately disease resistant. The medium-large fruit are of a uniform round-blocky shape and process into a richly coloured product. Split-pits have been observed during some fruiting seasons.
- Virgil Ripens 5 days before Veecling. The large, round and uniform fruit has firm flesh and good quality. The fruit is also free of red colour and resistant to split-pits. The trees are moderately resistant to bacterial spot, brown rot and Leucostoma canker. The uniformity of harvest makes this cultivar a good choice to precede Veecling.
- VitallTM NEW (formerly V851610) A very late processing peach with medium-sized fruits. It ripens 5-7 days after Babygold 7. It can be a good choice for Southwestern Ontario peach-growing regions. This cultivar should be planted away from the Lakeshore area in the Niagara region to ensure it receives adequate heat units during the ripening period.
- Vulcan Ripens 12 days before Veecling, this commercial cultivar is the earliest maturing processing peach. The medium-sized, round fruit have a red over colour and a firm golden flesh. Vulcan is surprisingly free of split-pits for the early season. The trees are vigorous, winter hardy and resistant to bacterial spot and Leucostoma canker, but moderately susceptible to brown rot disease.The following fresh market peach cultivars were described in the previous issue of this publication, but have been dropped because they are no longer considered important: Suncling, V68272, V7911105.
The following peach cultivars have been dropped because they are no longer considered important: Sugar Giant, Sugar May
Nectarine fruit, unlike peaches, have smooth skin, a distinctive flavour and texture, and are usually smaller. The fruits tend to be more susceptible to aphid damage and brown rot disease. Nectarines must be carefully thinned to attain marketable size. Trees and fruit buds tend to be less winter hardy than peach.
- Fantasia Ripens late in the season with Cresthaven peach. The fruit are medium-to-large, attractive, bright red with a yellow ground-colour, freestone and firm-fleshed. The trees are moderately hardy and moderately resistant to bacterial spot. Fantasia is the main commercial nectarine in the Niagara Peninsula.
- Flavortop Ripens just after Loring. Fruits are large, ovate and freestone with excellent quality. Skin is highly blushed over an attractive under-colour. Flesh is yellow, firm and smooth textured. Trees are vigorous but produce light crops and are tender to winter cold. Fruit are also susceptible to bacterial spot.
- Harblaze This cultivar has promise as a commercial-type nectarine that ripens during the late Redhaven season. The vigorous, productive trees bear attractive medium-to-large-sized fruit that are semi-freestone. The fruit tends to soften quickly near maturity during final swell. Harblaze is relatively winter hardy and has a good level of resistance to bacterial spot, brown rot and powdery mildew.
- HarflameTM Ripens 1 day before Harblaze. Tree is as hardy as Redhaven, medium vigour, somewhat upright and moderately productive. It has good field resistance to bacterial spot, brown rot and canker. The fruit is attractive, medium size with 80% blush on yellow background. It is semi-freestone, ripens uniformly with a medium-firm yellow flesh, medium quality and a low incidence of split-pits.
- Redgold A late maturing nectarine. The fruit is freestone with a rich red blush over a yellow ground colour. Flesh is yellow with red around the pit and has the ability to hold firmness, making it an excellent storage and shipping nectarine. Trees are vigorous but produce light crops and are tender to winter cold. Fruit are also susceptible to bacterial spot and mildew.
The following nectarine cultivars were described in the previous issue of this publication but have been dropped because they are no longer considered important: Hardired, Harko, Nectared #1, Nectared #4 and Nectared #6.
Bailey is considered to be one of the best rootstocks currently available and is recommended for peaches in Ontario. It is an old peach cultivar released from West Branch, Iowa, and is a very hardy peach that produces small, white-fleshed, freestone fruits having no commercial culinary value. Pits germinate readily, and scion cultivars budded on to Bailey seedlings develop into uniform trees that are medium-to-large in size.
Bailey propagates easily, is compatible with recommended scions, productive and tolerant to cold winter temperatures. This rootstock has been reported to confer some degree of cold hardiness on some scion cultivars. In addition, tree survival on this rootstock has been good after severe winters. Bailey seedlings in the nursery are susceptible to powdery mildew under moist conditions where air movement is poor.
Chui Lum Tao (CLT) Very cold-hardy, moderately vigorous, are easy to stratify and give consistent high germination percentage. As nursery seedlings, they are quite uniform in height, stem diameter and growth habit being similar in vigour to Bailey. Seedlings are much more resistant to powdery mildew than Bailey. CLT tends to have a shorter budding season than Bailey. Root systems are more vigorous and hardier than those of Bailey.
Lovell Although not normally used in Ontario, it has proved to be a very dependable standard rootstock and is still used today by many nurseries in the Southern and Eastern United States. It is widely compatible with commercial cultivars. It is not as winter-hardy as Bailey and not resistant to nematodes.
Tzim Pee Tao (TPT) A very cold-hardy, moderately vigorous rootstock that is easy to stratify and gives consistent high germination percentage. As nursery seedlings, they are quite uniform in height, stem diameter and growth habit being similar in vigour to Bailey. Seedlings are much more resistant to powdery mildew than Bailey. TPT tends to have a shorter budding season than Bailey. Root systems are more vigorous and hardier than those of Bailey.
The following nectarine cultivars have been dropped because they are no longer considered important: Halford, Siberian “C”
American plum (Prunus americana), Nanking Cherry (Prunus tomentosa) and Western Sand Cherry (Prunus besseyi) seedlings are all unsatisfactory as peach rootstocks because of poor anchorage, suckering and incompatibility problems.
Brompton A clonal European plum (Prunus domestica) propagated vegetatively by hard wood cuttings. It has had limited use as a rootstock for peach and is generally restricted to replacement pockets of trees in imperfectly drained soils.
- Central Leader Pruning of Peach Trees. OMAFRA. Last Modified: February 12, 2021.
- Foodland Ontario Produce Facts – Nectarines. OMAFRA.
- Foodland Ontario – Peaches. OMAFRA.
- Crop Protection Guide for Tender Fruits, 2020–2021. Publication 360D (PDF). OMAFRA.
- Peach and Nectarine Cultivars. OMAFRA.
- Peach and Nectarine Production. OMAFRA. Last Modified: February 12, 2021.