Fresh Offerings from ARS Peach Breeders
Durham February 15, 2007
Growers may soon have more options for meeting marketplace demand,
thanks to two new freestone peaches developed by the Agricultural Research
Service (ARS). By planting varieties that
ripen at different times, growers are able to extend their harvest season and
provide a steady supply of fruit to consumers.
Okie, at the ARS
Tree Nut and Fruit Laboratory, Byron, Ga., developed the new varieties,
Early Augustprince and Augustprince. Because the fruit of both new peaches is
very firm and softens slowly while on the tree, both can be picked over a
longer period than comparable southeastern varieties.
Early Augustprince, first planted at Byron in 1996, ripens in
mid-to-late July, at about the same time as one of its parents, Sunprince,
which was also developed at Byron by Okie and his predecessor, V.E. Prince. The
other parent was from a cross involving Byron varieties Flameprince and
Blazeprince. Augustprince ripens in late July to early August at Byron, about
three to seven days after its earlier sibling.
Both new varieties yield large, round fruit that's nearly three inches
in diameter. At maturity, the peaches are 70 to 80 percent bright-red, with an
attractive yellow background. Their flesh is yellow, with some red coloring if
allowed to mature on the tree. The fruit has excellent texture and very good
After 10 years in test orchards at Byron, and in trials conducted in
South Carolina in cooperation with Clemson
University, Early Augustprince and Augustprince appear to be superior to
currently planted varieties in that season. Since the vigorous trees are
relatively tolerant of the southeastern climate and diseases, they are
recommended for trial in the Southeast.
Small quantities of budwood of Early Augustprince and Augustprince
will be available from the NRSP5/IR-2
Fruit Tree Collection at Washington State University in
Prosser. Trees are available from Tennessee nurseries supplying the
commercial southeastern peach industry.
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.