Peaches are a popular fruit for eating out of hand, making desserts and ice cream and for making jam. There are two types of peaches, cling stone and free stone. The color of the fruits range from almost white to yellow to red-orange. The trees are normally self-pollinating, meaning you will only need to plant one to obtain fruit. All the fruit will ripen within a week or two Peach trees are hardy in USDA planting zones 5 through 9.
Spread a 2-inch layer of compost over the soil in a 4-foot radius around the tree each spring. Well rotted manure, dried leaves or any other organic compost is fine. This will enrich the soil with nutrients as the tree uses them.
Water the trees once a week when there has not been at least an inch of rain. Stop watering the trees in the beginning of October. Young trees may need more frequent watering during hot, dry weather as they haven't yet established a large enough root system to sustain themselves for long periods.
Place a 3-inch layer of mulch in a 5-foot radius around the tree, keeping it 18 inches from the trunk. The mulch will keep the weeds from growing and competing with the tree for water and nutrition. Hand pick weeds from the trunk to the mulch.
Apply 10-10-10 fertilizer once the tree grows at least 6 inches in the first year. Keep the fertilizer at least 8 inches from the trunk. Apply the fertilizer in March and again in May from the second year on. Follow manufacturer's directions as to how much fertilizer to apply per age and size of tree.
Prune off dead, damaged or diseased branches whenever you notice them. Cut the tree back to 3 feet in height after planting and cut all side shoots to 1 inch. Cut branches from the center, in the following years, to allow for good air circulation and sun to get to the inside of the tree. Prune to shape with strong outward branches.
Thin the setting fruit by hand. Once the small peaches are about 1 inch in diameter, thin to one fruit every 8 inches. This will allow for larger fruit and keep the tree healthier.