Peach trees offer ease of growth. They begin to bear ample fruit crops at four years of age. Maximum fruit production begins between eight to 12 years of age. Self-fertile, the home gardener does not need to worry about planting two peach trees to ensure pollination. Peach trees grow well in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 4 to 8. One of the earliest fruit trees to blossom, the peach tree often sustains damage to its flowers from early frosts that renders fruit production poor or nonexistent. Plant peach trees in the fall or early spring for best results.
Choose a planting location that offers full sunlight. The peach tree thrives best when it receives at least eight hours of sunlight per day. It does not tolerate shade or partial shade. The peach tree grows best in well-draining soil with a soil pH around 6.5.
Space peach trees at least 15 to 20 feet apart or away from other trees. Dig a hole that is twice the size of the tree's root system. Mix organic compost, aged manure or peat moss into the soil until it feels crumbly to the touch. Gently place the tree into the hole. Plant the tree at the same depth it was planted in its nursery container.
Tamp the soil down around the tree's root system so all air pockets are removed. Apply 2 to 3 inches of mulch, such as peat moss or bark chips, around the base of the tree to keep weeds at bay and help the soil retain moisture.
Water the tree thoroughly. Keep the peach tree moist but not waterlogged.
Prune away any lower side branches. Prune back the remaining branches to approximately 30 inches.
Apply a general purpose 10-10-10 fertilizer around the base of the tree six weeks after planting. Use one pound of fertilizer per tree and water thoroughly into the soil. Fertilize the peach tree each spring.
Thin fruit so each fruit is spaced approximately 6 to 8 inches apart. Discard any fruit that shows signs of insects or disease.
Harvest the peach when it exhibits an all-over soft coloring with a slight blush. Avoid harvesting any peaches that are still green. Gently pull the peach from the tree by hand. The fruit will easily snap away from the tree with no effort.