To grow a peach tree in Tucson, gardeners must ensure that the fruit tree can adapt not only to the dry climate and drought conditions, but to the reduced chilling time and high sodium soils. Tucson rests in Zone 9 of the USDA Hardiness Zone Map and Zone 12 of the Sunset Zones. Several peach tree variations do well in Tucson’s climate, including the Desert Gold, Eva’s Pride and the Tropic Sweet. These peach trees reach maturity between mid-May and early June and require very little chill time.
Identify and prepare the planting location in advance. Choose a planting location for the peach tree that provides at least 18 feet between the tree and surrounding trees and plants. Select a location with well-draining soil that receives at least 8 to 10 hours of direct sunlight each day.
Conduct a soil test. Follow the instructions of the soil test carefully. Take soil samples at least 6 to 8 inches below surface level to ensure accurate readings. Make corrections to soil levels over the course of one to two seasons prior to planting, if necessary.
Plant the peach tree during the fall, preferably in September, while the tree is dormant. Soak the tree for about 12 hours prior to planting to ensure that the roots are well-hydrated. Plant the tree in a prepared hole that matches the width and depth of the root system.
Irrigate the peach tree two to three times each week providing the tree with 2 to 3 inches of water. Increase the irrigation levels to provide the peach tree with 35 to 40 gallons each day during late April until harvest.
Control the amount of water being provided by using a slow irrigation process. Irrigate the peach tree in the early morning to avoid the evaporation effects of the afternoon sun.
Cover the peach tree’s planting surface with mulch to protect the soil’s moisture levels. Apply a 3-inch layer of organic mulch under the tree from the trunk to its canopy line.
Prune the peach tree immediately after planting and every year thereafter to develop and maintain a strong framework. Develop an open vase structure to allow limbs to support developing fruit.
Feed the peach tree with a well-balanced, slow-release fertilizer beginning in its second year. Use a combination such as a 15-15-15 or 10-10-10. Distribute the fertilizer evenly around the tree and water it in thoroughly.