How to Get Larger Peaches From Your Peach Trees

Overview

Is there anything more luscious than a home-grown, juicy peach on a warm summer day? Growing big, plump peaches starts with growing a peach variety that is known to create large fruits. Then, by ensuring the tree is healthy and not stressed by drought, thinning out the fruits causes the tree's energy to be focused on making fewer but larger fruits.

Step 1

Nurture the overall health of the peach tree. Place 3 to 4 inches of organic mulch or compost over the root zone of the tree. Irrigate the tree so the soil is moist in periods of drought, and apply a granular, slow-release fertilizer in spring in the dose recommended on the product label.

Step 2

Monitor the flowering of the peach tree in early spring. Promote pollination of the flowers by bees by avoiding the use of pesticides or asking a local beekeeper to temporarily situate a beehive near the tree to facilitate better pollination.

Step 3

Allow young peaches to begin to form on the tree. The small peaches will first become noticeable in April or May. Remove any pest-eaten or dead fruits with a pinch of your fingernails or by cutting them with hand pruners.

Step 4

Once the small peaches are about the size of a nickel, begin thinning out the numbers of peaches in clusters on branches. For example, if there are four young peaches developing in one cluster, remove two peaches to allow the two remaining peaches to grow larger.

Step 5

Monitor the peach growth, and when the peaches reach the size of a quarter or silver dollar, selectively remove peaches. Any malformed, damaged or multiple clusters of peaches should be again thinned out, so that one peach remains every 12 to 18 inches on each branch.

Step 6

Harvest the peach when it is firm but fragrant. Peaches will continue to grow and enlarge on the tree up until the point the fruit becomes soft, fully ripe, and drops. The key is to not pick too early or too late.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not cut away flowers or young developing peaches too early, as many fruits may naturally die and drop off. Wait until you can see the overall abundance of small fruits to selectively thin out fruit numbers.

Things You'll Need

  • Organic mulch
  • Compost or granular slow-release fertilizer
  • Hand pruners

References

  • Rutgers Univ.: How to Grow Big Peaches
  • The Ohio State Univ.: Growing Peaches and Nectarines in the Home Landscape
  • Univ. of California, Davis: Fruit Trees: Thinning Young Fruit

Who Can Help

  • NatureHills: How to Thin Your Fruit Tree (Video)
Keywords: growing peaches, large peaches, thinning out

About this Author

James Burghardt has written for "The Public Garden," "Docent Educator," non-profit newsletters and for horticultural databases, becoming a full-time writer in 2008. He holds a Master of Science in public horticulture from the University of Delaware and studied horticulture and biology in Australia at Murdoch University and the University of Melbourne.