Growing fruit in the backyard is the dream of many gardeners. The fortunate ones who have room for an orchard can attest to the hard work required as well as the joy of supplying the family with fresh-from-the tree peaches. Peach trees do not have a long life span. Add to that the tree’s susceptibility to disease, and replacing peach trees is not an unusual project. When the dead tree has been chopped down, and the stump removed from the ground, proper preparation of the soil is the next, and most vital, step to replacing a peach tree in the same location. If the previous peach tree succumbed to a fungal disease, you may need to remove a substantial portion of the infected soil or fumigate the soil before planting the new tree. Plant the new peach tree when it is dormant, in the winter or early spring.
Deliver a soil sample to your cooperative extension office for analysis. The agent will provide you with suggestions on which amendments, if any, to add to the soil. Consult with the agent as well on whether your soil requires replacement or a fumigant. Replant disease, although more prevalent in apple orchards, may be a concern if the tree you are replacing succumbed to a fungal disease. The agent should be able to supply you with recommendations of suitable products to use in your area.
Fumigate the soil, if required, according to instructions received from your county cooperative extension agent.
Place the peach tree in a bucket of water and allow the roots to soak for 24 hours.
Remove all weeds from within a 3-foot radius of the planting site. Cut back or remove any plants that will shade the new tree.
Add any required soil amendments and mix them into the top 12 inches of soil.
Dig a hole that is twice the width of the peach tree’s root ball and the same depth as it was growing in the nursery. There should be a soil ring toward the bottom of the trunk that will let you know the depth to plant it. The bud union (knob on the lower portion of the trunk where the peach tree was grafted onto the rootstock) should be 1 inch above the surface of the soil when the tree is planted.
Place the peach tree’s root ball into the hole and cover it with soil. Pack the soil with your hands, add more soil and pack it again. Repeat this procedure until the hole is full.
Water the tree until the water puddles.