Peaches are a popular fruit crop in Alabama. They grow best in areas where the soil pH is 6.5 to 7.0. If you are unsure what the pH of your soil is, a sample will tell you what amendments should be added to the soil to get your peach trees off to a good start. Also, your local extension office can recommend the best variety of peach tree to plant in your area. Varieties suitable for northern Alabama, for example, may not be a good choice for southern portions of the state.
Locate a well-drained area to plant peach trees. Peach trees do not grow well in a site that holds water. Prepare the soil by adding recommended amendments from the soil test. Be sure the planned orchard is in an area that gets at least six hours of full sun each day. Peach trees don't need to be in close proximity to other trees for pollination. However, good air circulation is important, so plant trees at least 16 feet apart.
Dig holes three times as wide as the root ball of the tree with a shovel. If planting bare-root peach trees, plant in the winter. Container-grown trees can be planted most of the year, except during the hottest part of the summer. The hole should be deep enough so the tree is planted at the same depth it is planted in the nursery container. If planting bare-root trees, look for a moisture or soil line at the base of the trunk and plant it at that level.
Spread out the roots that encircle the root ball while setting the roots into the planting hole. Add water while backfilling the hole with native soil. Adding water while adding soil into the hole prevents air pockets from forming around the roots. Do not cover the root graft--the thick, offset area where the tree was grafted to the root stock. If you cover that area, the top of the tree may die and only the root stock will survive, which may not be a fruit-bearing peach tree. Cover the area around the base of the tree with a 1-inch layer of mulch, leaving a 1-inch space between the trunk and the mulch so mildew does not spread to the tree from the mulch.