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How to Transplant a Peach Tree From a Container

By Fern Fischer ; Updated September 21, 2017

Peach trees prefer fairly warm winters and should be grown in areas where late freezes and frosts are not common. Peach trees do need a period of dormancy in the winter, but once they begin to grow in the spring, they need continuous warm temperatures to bloom and successfully set a good crop of fruit.

A container grown peach tree from the nursery will often suffer less transplant shock than a bare root tree. Container grown peach trees usually are older than bare root, and they may bear fruit sooner. Look for a dormant peach tree with an open, uncrowded branching pattern.

Prepare the Planting Hole

Select a well drained area in full sun. Plant your tree away from overhead lines and underground pipes and utilities.

Spread out a small tarp next to the planting hole. Dig the hole, loosening the soil with a tiller first, if desired. Place the soil you remove on the tarp. The planting hole should be at least 50 percent wider and deeper than the roots of the tree when they are spread out. Some container-grown trees are pot-bound, which means they have compacted roots that will need to be spread out, so the hole may need to be much larger than the container.

Mix some compost or tree-starting fertilizer with the soil you will use to fill in the planting hole. Phosphorus encourages root development, so for transplanting, look for a fertilizer ratio with lower nitrogen and potash and higher phosphorus. Phosphorus is the middle number in the fertilizer ratio; a 5-10-5 ratio is acceptable.

Place some of the amended soil back into the bottom of the hole. It will encourage the roots to grow deeper.

Plant the Tree

Loosen the tree from its container. Tap the sides of the container, and press on the sides if the container is soft to loosen the root ball. It should slip away from the container easily, soil and roots together.

Tip the tree and have a helper slide the container off the root ball. If you are working alone, tip the tree and slide it out of the container.

Roll and lift the peach tree into the planting hole. Gently break apart the soil in the root ball without damaging the roots. Carefully separate any pot-bound roots and spread them so they have good soil contact. Enlarge the planting hole, if necessary, to accommodate the roots without crowding them.

Plant the peach tree at the same depth it was previously growing. Add or remove soil under the tree to adjust the depth. If you have a helper, have him hold the tree vertical while you use the amended soil and fill around the tree. Firm the soil so it makes good contact with the roots and there are no air pockets.

Water the tree well. If the soil sinks around the tree when you water it, add more soil to keep the level correct.


Things You Will Need

  • Tarp
  • Tiller, optional
  • Shovel
  • Compost or fertilizer
  • Peach tree in container
  • Helper, optional


  • When you spread the tree roots in the planting hole, don't force them. Stiff roots will break. Instead, gently open the root structure and allow room so the roots can grow in different directions.
  • If your peach tree is in a peat-pot type of container, remove that container even if it says you can plant pot and all. It can take 3 years or more for the container to break down, and your tree roots need to immediately move into the surrounding soil.

About the Author


Fern Fischer's print and online work has appeared in publications such as Midwest Gardening, Dolls, Workbasket, Quilts for Today and Cooking Fresh. With a broader focus on organic gardening, health, rural lifestyle, home and family articles, she specializes in topics involving antique and modern quilting, sewing and needlework techniques.