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Winter Care for Peach Trees

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Native to Asia, peach trees thrive in the U.S. when planted within U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 5 through 8, where the temperatures do not fall below minus 20 degrees F in winter. Known as the "queen of fruits," according to Ohio State University Extension, peach trees require year-round care in order to produce bountiful amounts of fruit year after year. Preparing your peach trees for their winter dormancy will help to ensure good health and vigor.

Prune the peach trees back in the late fall, when they are dormant, using a pruning saw. Remove at least 40 percent of the branches during the fall pruning. Heavy pruning will encourage new growth and fruiting in the spring.

Remove mulch from around the base of the peach trees before the ground freezes. Mulch is warm and inviting to rodents and insects that may also try to bore their way into the roots and trunks of the peach trees. Use a rake to remove the mulch; replacing it again in the spring after the winter thaw.

Paint the trunk of the peach trees and the lower branches using a white latex paint. Painting the trunks and lower branches will help prevent sunscald, which can cause the bark to split.

Refrain from watering the peach trees after the month of October. This will encourage dormancy and promote winter hardiness. Watering should resume in the spring after the ground thaws.

Cease fertilizing after the month of September. Fertilizing promotes new growth, which is not necessary during the winter. Giving the peach trees a break from fertilizing, promotes dormancy and increases spring vigor. Resume fertilizing after the winter thaw.

Care For First Year Peach Trees

Cut back newly planted peach trees to 24 to 30 inches tall, using pruning shears or a pruning saw. Remove shoots that have less than a 45-degree crotch angle with the trunk. Water trees enough to keep the soil moist. At peak times in July and August, this may be up to 3 gallons of water per day. If you can form a ball out of a handful of soil, it has the right amount of moisture. Spread 1 cup of 10-10-10 fertilizer in a 3-foot radius around the tree. Add the fertilizer after the first soaking rain in the spring, at least six weeks after the tree is planted. At the beginning of June and again at the beginning of August, broadcast one-half cup of calcium nitrate over the root zone.


Pruning paint is not a requirement for peach trees.


Never use oil-based white paint on your peach trees.

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