Peach trees grow surprisingly easily and only require a minimum amount of attention. The succulent fruit is a favorite of many and is especially loved by children. If you move into a home with a year-old peach tree, keep these tips in mind in order to care for it properly and produce fruit in the third or fourth year.
Fertilize the peach tree during the first year of its life. You want the soil pH to be around 6.5 to 7. After heavy rains, spread one cup of 10-10-10 fertilizer around the tree about one foot from the tree trunk, not touching. Apply the first round of fertilizer about seven to ten days after planting, then apply it again 40 days into its growth. You will not need to add fertilizer again until the second and third years of growth.
Apply about one-half of a cup of calcium nitrate around the peach tree's base about a foot away from the trunk sometime in early- to mid-summer. When the tree starts to produce tiny fruit, remove these, along with any that are damaged or insect-infested.
Prune the peach tree in early spring. Use pruning shears to remove dead or diseased branches, then remove any small branches that are dense and blocking out sunlight from the bottom parts of the peach tree. Don't remove the smaller red branches, as these are the fruit shoots. Ideally, the peach tree should be v-shaped to let in fresh air and sunlight to the base. Pruning a peach tree should remove about 40 percent of the tree each winter. This will help stimulate adequate fruit growth and production.
Spray the peach tree twice in the spring about three weeks apart with a fungicide. Peach trees can be susceptible to disease and bugs, as they love the sweet flavor just as much as you do. Always read the labels on the products to follow the directions carefully. This will help avoid mildew. Always pick up rotted fruit from the ground.
Consider staking the peach tree during the first year for support and safety. Strong winds may be able to blow it over, so stake near the roots and tie the tree securely. This will help the roots grow stronger and deter animals from gnawing on it.