Trees developed by Clemson University called advanced peach selection ‘SC-2’ were planted at the Chilton Research and Extension Center (CREC) near Clanton in 2017 to evaluate vegetative growth, phenological development, cropping potential, and fruit quality characteristics in central Alabama conditions.
Early this spring extremely low temperatures in mid-February caused significant damage to developing peach buds in central Alabama, when ambient temperature fell to 15°F between the evening of February 15 and early morning of February 16 and did not rise above freezing until mid-morning February 17. In a peach bud survivability assessment conducted in the peach variety block at the CREC on February 18, early varieties tested had 35 percent bud survivability, while mid- and late-season cultivars had 28 percent, and 22 percent survivability respectively. In comparison, early season ‘SC-2’ selection had 80 percent live buds. Full bloom of ‘SC-2’occurred on March 2. The high crop survivability rate required hand thinning to adjust the crop load (Figure 1).
The fruit crop of ‘SC-2’ started to mature in mid-May and the trees were harvested on May 17, May 21, and May 25 (Table 1). ‘SC-2’ fruit appearance is very attractive with almost 100 percent blush cover and nicely rounded fruit shape (Figure 2). The average yield per tree was 84.3 pounds with the highest crop of 55.4 pounds harvested on May 25, 2021. The mean fruit size varied between 128.6 and 144.4 grams among harvest dates, and was 137.3 grams for the season.
Eating quality was very good as the fruit had juicy, firm flesh. Soluble sugar content averaged 10.4 percent which indicates fruit was harvested a bit early this year.
Table 1. Yield and fruit quality of 'SC-2' selection grown at the CREC, 2021
*soluble sugar content
|Harvest Date||Average number fruit/tree||Average yield, lb.||Mean fruit wt., g||SSC*, %|