ARS Releases Gulfcrimson Peach to Nurseries By
Sharon Durham July 23 , 2008
A new peach variety that requires less winter chilling will give
growers in the southeastern lower coastal plain an edge--and consumers a more
reliable supply--of early summertime peaches.
The new variety, called
Gulfcrimson, was developed by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in
cooperation with the University of Georgia
and the University of Florida.
Gulfcrimson only requires 400 hours of chilling to flower and set
fruit. By comparison, a commonly grown variety called June Gold requires 650
hours of chilling. However, in years of insufficient winter chilling, June Gold
can't reliably set fruit, resulting in reduced crops for growers.
Beckman at the
Fruit and Tree Nut Research Laboratory in Byron, Ga., developed Gulfcrimson
to overcome the problem, which has become worse in recent years as wintertime
temperatures have tended to be warmer, with fewer chilling hours.
This peach will probably be used as a fresh market fruit, with
substantial red skin blush over a deep yellow-to-orange ground color. The
round-shaped peach has flesh that is firm and does not brown when bruised or
cut. Gulfcrimson ripens from mid to late May, the same market period that June
Gold typically filled.
Gulfcrimson was released in 2007 for grower trials, and budwood is
being made available to nurseries for the production of trees this year. The
first light crops of peaches should be available to consumers in 2011, with
full crops by 2012.
ARS previously developed other Gulf series peaches--Gulfprince,
Gulfking, and Gulfcrest--which now are all considered by nurserymen to be very
reliable fruiting varieties.
ARS is a scientific research agency of the
U.S. Department of Agriculture.