Gardening Articles: Edibles :: Fruit & Nut Trees

Peach Essentials

by National Gardening Association Editors

Planning

Planning

  • Plant peach trees in the spring.
  • 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.

Preparation

  • Choose a site with well-drained, sandy soil. Avoid low-lying areas that can become frost pockets.

Planting

  • Plant standard-size trees 15 to 20 feet apart, dwarf trees 10 to 12 feet apart.

Care

  • 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.

Harvest

  • 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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