CORVALLIS - Interested in planting a peach or nectarine tree at home? Well, if you live in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, you are in for a challenge. With mild wet winters, heavy rainfall in the spring and bone-dry summers, peaches and nectarines can be tricky to grow.
Although hundreds of peach varieties grace the fruit tree catalogs, only a few have been successfully grown in the Willamette Valley. A 4-page guide from the OSU Extension Service, "Selecting Peach and Nectarine Varieties for the Willamette Valley," (EC 1181) lists and describes the characteristics of those varieties that have proven themselves in this region over time.
Proven peach varieties include, in order of ripening: Springcrest, Gemfree, Early Redhaven, Harbelle, Sunhaven, Redhaven, Harken, Redtop, July Elberta, Fairhaven, Canadian Harmony, Earlihale, Suncrest, Loring, Glohaven, Veteran, Biscoe and Improved Elberta.
Nectarines are merely peaches without fuzz. They are known to be a little more difficult to grow than peaches. Nectarine varieties successfully grown in the Willamette Valley, in ripening order, include: Juneglo, Harko, Redgold and Fantasia.
"Selecting Peach and Nectarine Varieties for the Willamette Valley" includes specific descriptions of fruit, ripening time and bearing and growth characteristics for each of these varieties as well as general information on the growing requirements of peaches and nectarines.
The guide is available online at http://extension.oregonstate.edu/catalog/html/EC/EC1181 or order the printed version, for $1 per copy plus $3 shipping and handling by sending your request and check or money order to: Publication Orders, Extension and Experiment Station Communications, 422 Kerr Administration Bldg., Corvallis, OR 97331-2119.