Keeping peach trees healthy and free of pests, diseases and damage can be challenging because they attract a wide range of insects and can suffer from many ailments. First and foremost, make sure your peach trees are positioned so that they receive full sunlight and that the soil has a pH around 6.5. Make sure the soil is well-draining so that your peach trees won't suffer from root rot and stunted growth. Then, follow a care regimen to keep your peach trees healthy all year long.
General Care Tips
Feed your peach trees in early March by spreading a granular 10-10-10 NPK (Nitrogen-Phosphorous-Potassium) fertilizer around the base of the tree in a 3-foot-diameter area. Apply 1 cup of fertilizer for every year of the tree's age, up to 10 cups maximum for older trees.
Feed your peach trees with calcium nitrate in early August, or after the harvest is finished if you have a late-season peach variety. Spread the calcium nitrate around the base of the tree using a rate of 1 cup for each year of tree age, up to 4 cups maximum for older trees.
Water your peach trees deeply, soaking the soil down around their roots immediately after applying fertilizers. Water the trees deeply once per week during the growing season to supplement rainfall, and water more frequently during dry spells or droughts.
Spread a 3-inch layer of organic mulch in a 3-by-3-foot area around each peach tree. The mulch will help retain moisture in the soil, control weeds and prevent accidental damage to the trunk from lawn equipment.
Watch out for diseases infecting your peach trees, including brown rot, scab, bacterial spot and leaf curl. You'll usually see spots on the leaves, peaches and twigs or cankers on the wood. Treat your peach trees with the appropriate fungicide to control these diseases.
Treat your peach trees for pest infestations, such as leafhoppers, borers, scale, oriental fruit moths and Japanese beetles. Spray your peach trees with an appropriate insecticide, following the directions on the label
Prune, Prune and Prune Some More
Prune your peach tree right after planting it. Cut the central trunk back to 26 to 30 inches in height and remove all side branches completely.
Prune your peach trees in late fall or winter. Cut and remove all diseased, damaged or dead branches. Discard any leaves or branches that are diseased.
Cut away all branches that are growing inward toward the trunk or crossing over other branches. Prune back the rest of the new growth to half its length.
Snip back and remove any crowded new growth emerging in the spring to provide better air circulation and sunlight exposure.
Thin out the emerging fruits in late June. Remove enough of the small peaches so that the tree has spaces of about 5 to 6 inches between each fruit.