Plant large, vigorous 1 year-olds. Standard-size trees will bear fruits at 3 years of age, dwarfs at 1 to 2 years.
Most varieties are self-fertile, so it is not necessary to plant more than one tree.
Choose varieties that are right for your area and resistant to disease.
A standard-size peach tree will stand 15 feet at maturity if kept pruned, 25 feet if left unpruned. Dwarf trees reach 6 feet in height.
Choose a site with well-drained, sandy soil. Avoid low-lying areas that can become frost pockets.
Plant standard-size trees 15 to 20 feet apart, dwarf trees 10 to 12 feet apart.
Fertilize young trees with nitrogen in early spring and early summer. Fertilize older trees at a rate of 1 pound of actual nitrogen per year. Do not fertilize within 2 months of the average first fall frost date or when fruits are maturing.
Prune trees to an open center shape.
Thin fruits to 6 to 8 inches apart 4 to 6 weeks after bloom.
See our article Fruit Pests and Diseases for controls of common peach pests such as peach tree borer, plum curculio, brown rot, and peach leaf curl.
Prune trees, thin fruit, and pick fruit when ripe to increase resistance to fruit diseases.
Pick peaches when fully ripe. There should be no green on the fruit, and fruit should come off the branch with a slight twist.
Store peaches in a cool place.
Photo by Keith Weller/USDA Agricultural Research Service
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