Peach trees grow to 15 feet high and are deciduous, meaning they lose their leaves for a portion of the year and go dormant. In Phoenix, that period may be as little as 30 days in late December. Trees are available bare root in December and January and in containers in the spring. They flower in January and February before their leaves come out.
Peach trees will grow in Phoenix given ample water during the summer. Not all varieties will set fruit in the warm climate. Peaches require a chilling period from 150 to 850 hours depending on the variety. Chilling is when the temperature is between 45 and 32 degrees F. Because Phoenix is warm climate, choose a variety that has a low chilling requirement, such as Floridaprince, EarliGrand or Desert Gold.
Peach trees grow quickly. Use them as a specimen tree. Construct a living fence by training the tree as an espalier. The structure of the branches remain as a fence even when the leaves drop. If the tree receives enough chilling it will blossom and develop fruit. Protect the fruit with netting from the birds. Fruit trees, other than citrus, attract birds as soon as the fruit begins to ripen.
Pick when the fruit is blushed with red and yields to the touch. Mushy fruit is over ripe. Eat the fruit fresh. Freeze the excess. Peaches make luscious pies, jellies and jams. Dry the fruit for snacks.
Peach trees need a planting hole that is several feet deep and wide according to George Brookbank, author of "The Desert Gardener's Calendar." Caliche, hardened calcium carbonate, is common in Phoenix. It's rock hard and, like a large rock, sometimes has to be jack hammered to break it up enough to remove it.
Pick the fruit even if you don't plan on eating or preserving it. Rotted fruit attracts rodents. Rodents attract snakes, including the poisonous rattlesnake. Throw the fruit away in the trash can instead of the compost pile for the same reason.