Peaches (Prunus persica) have been grown in the United States for centuries. The juicy fruit ranks second only to apples as the most popular fruit, according to Ohio State University. The tree grows between 15 to 25 feet in height. Their width is equal to their height or often surpasses it in size. Flowers appear before foliage each April. The trees self-pollinate, so planting only one tree still provides the gardener with ample fruit.
The peach tree requires a location in full sunlight or partial shade. It sets more fruit when located in full sunlight, however. The tree prefers well-draining soil and does not tolerate a wet root system. Acidic soil with ample amounts of organic humus is the ideal growing medium for the peach tree. Planting peach trees on a hill often helps the cold air to drain away from the tree to help prevent the tree's delicate blossoms in the spring from suffering damage.
Site preparation should begin at least one year before planting peach trees. Each tree should have an individual planting location prepared that measures approximately 6 feet in diameter and is weed-free. Tilling the soil to a depth of 12 inches and adding organic humus helps prepare the soil for the tree's root system.
For the best success at planting peach trees begin with 1-year-old trees. Trees should stand 3 to 4 feet in height. Always plant a peach tree with its bud union 1 inch above the soil. When the bud union is below the soil line it can easily suffer rot and be susceptible to diseases. Peach trees do best when planted in the spring.
The early blossoming of peach trees makes them susceptible to frost damage. A heavy frost can destroy or seriously limit fruit production. Even though the tree is self-pollinating, planting several cultivar varieties of peach trees will help stagger the blooming season so if one tree suffers frost damage during blossoming the other trees will still produce fruit.
The peach tree prefers light pruning. Pruning the tree in a vase shape allows the sunlight to reach the middle of the tree and better air circulation to occur. Remove broken or diseased limbs as they occur to maintain the tree's health.
Peach trees suffer from a wide range of pests. A regular spray and control regime for the area the tree is planted within needs to be maintained to combat the insects. Peach leaf curl, cankers, powdery mildew, black knot and leaf fungal spots all occur on the peach tree. Regular maintenance and preventative measures help maintain control.
Peach trees have a difficult time competing against weeds. Weeds rob the tree of both water and valuable nutrients. Young peach trees especially have a difficult time competing, according to the Texas A & M University. Chemical weed control can be utilized with care, or hand pulling of the weeds offers control. In the home garden apply 4 to 5 inches of mulch around the tree to help control weed growth.