The nectarine tree is a short-lived fruit tree that is self-pollinating. Even though nectarines and peaches are genetically almost identical, nectarines are a healthier snack, with more vitamin A, C and potassium. Nectarine trees can be a challenge to care for; they need a lot of water and plenty of warmth. Plant your nectarine tree in the fall if your winters are mild; otherwise, it's best to plant in the spring.
Provide full sunlight, all day, for your nectarine tree. The nectarine also requires a well-drained, sandy soil with lots of organic loam-type materials, such as compost, manure, lawn clippings and leaves. Create a basin for water around the base of the tree.
Soak the soil around your nectarine tree well, every week if it's a new tree (under a year old), and bi-weekly for a mature tree. Watering consistently and deeply is especially important just prior to harvest, between June and August.
Apply a balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, a week after planting your nectarine tree, and then again three weeks later. Keep the fertilizer at least 8 inches from the trunk of the tree. Older trees should be fertilized in March and May.
Prune the nectarine tree to remove any broken limbs and any that won't blossom. Any branches that are shading the center of the tree should be removed as well.
Inspect the nectarine tree frequently for signs of common pests such as borers, Japanese beetles and red mites. Nectarine trees are also susceptible to certain diseases, such as leaf curl and powdery mildew. Your local cooperative extension can help you identify the disease or pest, and recommend the proper insecticide or other treatment.