How to Care for Freestone Peach Trees

Overview

The two basic types of peaches are freestone and clingstone. A freestone peach is a peach in which the flesh of the fruit separates easily from the seed or stone. Clingstone peach flesh clings to the pit and does not separate easily. Freestone being used more frequently for eating fresh and clingstone for freezing and making deserts and jams. While the two types of peaches are different, the trees are not cared for differently.

Step 1

Water the tree twice a week for the first two weeks after planting the freestone peach tree, then once a week for the rest of the growing season unless there has been at least an inch of rain during the week. In the following years, the tree will only need water when the weather is very hot and dry, until the two weeks before harvest. At this time the tree should be watered twice a week until all the peaches picked from the tree. Do not water from October until March.

Step 2

Apply 12-12-12 fertilizer about a month after planting. After the first year, apply the fertilizer early in the spring before new growth begins. Refer to manufacturer's directions for amount to apply per size and age of the tree.

Step 3

Prune the freestone peach tree to an open vase form. An open vase form has 3 or 4 strong side branches with an upward angle instead of a central leader. This allows sun and air circulation into the center of the tree. Dead or damaged branches should be cut off close to the trunk. Cut off any branches that sprout below the graft line or come up from the ground close to the tree.

Step 4

Spray the tree with a dormant oil spray in late winter before the tree comes out of dormancy or starts new growth. This will kill any bugs or fungus that has been on the tree for the winter and protect the tree and fruit when it starts to grow.

Step 5

Thin out the fruit to one per every 8 inches. Hand pick or cut the excess fruit when it is about 1 inch in diameter. This will cause the remaining fruit to be larger and the tree will remain healthier without the additional weight.

Things You'll Need

  • 12-12-12 fertilizer
  • Pruning shears
  • Dormant oil spray

References

  • University of Minnesota Extension: Home Fruit Production: Peach and Nectarine Culture
  • Clemson Cooperative Extension: Peaches & Nectarines
  • Ohio State University Extension: Growing Peaches and Nectarines in the Home Landscape
Keywords: peach tree care, freestone peach growing, growing stone fruits

About this Author

Dale DeVries is a retired realtor with 30 years of experience in almost every facet of the business. DeVries started writing in 1990 when she wrote advertising and training manuals for her real estate agents. Since retiring, she has spent the last two years writing well over a thousand articles online for Associated Content, Bright Hub and Demand Studios.