Nectarine trees (Prunus persica nucipersica) are members of the family Rosaceae, which includes the peach. Nectarines are medium-sized trees, averaging from 8 to 12 feet tall. They make perfect trees for the home gardener looking to grow smaller-sized fruit trees. Although typically living only 12 years, properly maintained nectarine trees will give an abundance of fruit throughout their lifespan. Planting and growing nectarine trees is not complicated, and with most varieties, you need only one tree for pollination and fruit-bearing.
Select an area in your yard that receives full sun and is large enough to accommodate the nectarine tree, which will grow from 8 to 12 feet tall with a width of 8 feet, depending on the variety.
Amend the soil in the area you will be planting so it drains efficiently; nectarine trees will not tolerate wet soil. Work sand and peat moss into heavier soils that do not drain well. Work organic matter, such as peat moss or compost, into sandy or poor soils.
Create a mound approximately 6 inches high and 5 feet wide if the tree is growing in heavy soil that tends to retain water. Pile the soil up, after amending, and create the mound, packing it down firmly. Water the mound to settle and firm the soil before planting the nectarine tree.
Trim off any damaged, broken or bent roots, particularly if the roots were packed into a burlap bag.
Dig a hole three times wider than the nectarine tree’s root ball, but no deeper. Do not wind or bend the roots to fit them into the planting hole.
Plant the tree in the hole. Fill the hole halfway with soil, and pack the soil firmly to release any air pockets. Finish filling the hole and pack the soil firmly again.
Mound soil around the tree’s drip line to create a water ring and assure the perimeter roots receive moisture. Mulch around the tree to cut down on weeds and help the soil retain its moisture.
Water the newly planted nectarine tree well. Keep the area moist but not soggy for the first three weeks. Continue watering the tree approximately twice per week, keeping the area moist.