Peaches are synonymous with summer, and gardeners throughout the United States can enjoy their own backyard peach tree with proper knowledge and tree care. Peach trees should be planted in the spring when the soil can be worked and frost danger has passed. Plant container peach trees, choosing yellow or white peaches per your personal preference. White peaches are sweeter; yellow less sweet, but more complex in flavor. Peaches can be enjoyed fresh, baked into pies, canned, cooked down for jam or grilled.
Planting your Peach
Choose a site that offers your peach tree full sun and well-draining soil. Test the soil in this site with a home pH test kit, which has you place a color change strip up to a soil sample, then match the color the strip changes to a pH value chart.
Amend your pH to the ideal range for peaches. Peaches dislike alkaline or acidic soils, preferring the barely acidic pH of 6 to 7. Add sulfur to your pH to lower it or lime to raise it, following the guidelines for your type of soil.
Dig a hole twice the size of your peach sapling, removing rocks or weeds from the hole.
Pull the peach tree from its container. Break apart the root ball in your hands, untangling any tangled roots. When all the roots are free, place the peach tree in its hole so it's planted at the same depth as it was in the container.
Fill in the hole with soil, pressing lightly around the tree trunk. Then water the newly planted peach tree until the soil compresses around the trunk and becomes saturated with water.
Proper Care of Your Peach Tree
Fertilize the peach tree seven to 10 days after planting with 1/2 lb. of 10-10-10 fertilizer. Apply the same amount 40 days after planting, advises Ohio State University. In the second and third years, apply 3/4-lb. 10-10-10 fertilizer in March and in May. Trees four years and older receive 1 to 2 lb. of 10-10-10 in March and May.
Scatter fertilizer in a ring around the tree trunk, then water the tree to work the fertilizer into the soil.
Water your peach tree the first year with 7 gallons of water in April and May; 14 in June; 28 in July and August; and 21 in September. Water no more than twice weekly, spreading the suggested watering amount over the month (i.e. 7 gallons per week in July).
In the second year, offer 14 gallons in April and May, 28 gallons in June, 56 gallons in July and August and 28 gallons in September. Divide the watering up as you did earlier.
Cut back your newly planted peach tree to a height of 26 to 30 inches right after planting. Then allow the tree to grow through the first year. The spring after planting, once frost danger passes, prune suckers from the tree trunk and dead or damaged branches. Select three strong upward-growing limbs to serve as fruit bearing limbs and cut off all competing limbs, leaving only those three branches. This begins training the peach tree to the open vase system.
Prune the peach tree in its second year by removing suckers and branches that compete with the fruit-bearing limbs. Cut branches that grow from the fruit-bearing limbs that grow upward, into the tree canopy. Remove dead or broken branches. Prune the fruit-bearing limbs back to a lateral branch to prevent the tree from growing too fast.
Continue to fertilize, water and prune your peach tree. In the third year, a peach tree should begin bearing fruit. Harvest the fruit when it is ripe to the touch.
About this Author
Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.