How to Care for Nectarine Trees

Overview

Nectarine trees produce delicious, reddish-orange fruit that's similar to a peach, only without the fuzz. They can be served fresh, used in baking or preserved. Nectarines purchased at the grocery store are tasty, but nothing can compare to the flavor of this fruit picked fresh from the tree. Nectarine trees reach heights of 8 to 20 feet and do well without an excessive amount of attention.

Step 1

Take a soil sample from the chosen planting location and drop it off at your nearest extension office for testing. Ask what should be added to your soil to achieve the pH level of 6.5 that is recommended for nectarine trees.

Step 2

Prepare a planting site that is 5 to 6 feet wide. Loosen the soil to a depth of 12 inches and add the amendments recommended by the extension office. Remove any damaged or dead roots from the tree prior to planting.

Step 3

Plant in the middle of the bed at a depth that will allow the bud union, which is the bumpy area at the base of the tree, to remain 1 inch above the soil. Replace the soil carefully and make sure that all of the roots are covered well. Use your feet to firm the soil when the planting hole is half full. Finish refilling the hole and water until very moist.

Step 4

Weed a 3-foot area around the tree to prevent competition for nutrients and water and reduce the risk of damage from mowers and weed trimmers. Add a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch around the tree. Water anytime there is less than 1 inch of rainfall per week during the first growing season.

Step 5

Fertilize in March by sprinkling 1 cup of 10-10-10 fertilizer over a 3-foot area around the tree. At the beginning of June and in August add 1/2 cup of calcium nitrate. After the first growing season, fertilize twice each year, once at the beginning of March and again in early August.

Step 6

Prune all diseased, damaged and low-growing branches in winter. Cut off half of the previous year's growth to encourage the development of healthy stems, branches and fruit. Remove any of the previous year's fruit that may remain on the tree.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not add more than 4 cups of calcium nitrate.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden fork or tiller
  • Shovel
  • Mulch
  • 10-10-10 fertilizer
  • Calcium nitrate
  • Lopping shears

References

  • Ohio State University Extension: Growing Peaches and Nectarines in the Home Landscape
  • Clemson University Extension: Peaches and Nectarines
  • Purdue University: Nectarine
  • University of California: Peaches and Nectarines - Calendar of Operations for Home Gardeners
Keywords: nectarine trees, nectarine tree care, grow nectarine trees, grow nectarines, plant nectarine trees

About this Author

Annita Lawson has been working as a freelance writer since 2004. Her work has been published in various web and print outlets, including The Dabbling Mum, A Virtuous Woman, and Pediatrics for Parents. Lawson is pursuing an Associate of Arts degree at Southeast Kentucky Community College. She enjoys sharing all that she has learned about parenting, healthy eating and living a frugal lifestyle.