Care of Peach Trees
The peach tree is a deciduous stone fruit tree with a relatively short lifespan. With good care and proper irrigation, the peach tree will thrive for up to 20 years, producing 30- to 50-pound yields each season. Native to Asia, many peach trees are self-fertile, which is ideal for the backyard cultivar.
Plant the peach tree in a sunny, well drained location. Ensure that the location receives at least eight hours of direct sunlight each day. Select a location with nutrient rich soil that has pH levels that rest between 6.0 and 6.5.
Select a peach sapling that is approaching 1 year old. Choose a tree that is healthy with a strong root system that matches the size of the tree. Pick smaller, healthier trees with good root systems over larger, stately trees with poor root systems. Avoid stunted and diseased trees with root-bound root systems.
Plant the peach tree in the early spring just after the season’s final frost. Prepare the tree by removing any burlap or restrictions from around the tree. Lay the tree on its side and gently remove the excess soil from the root ball. Avoid pulling or stretching the root system to prevent damage. Trim away approximately 1/3 of the root system to promote good establishment after planting.
Dig a hole for the peach tree that is only as deep and as wide as the root system. Till and loosen the soil in the hole, if the area is impacted. Promote good aeration in clay soils by poking holes around the inside walls of the hole.
Fill the prepared hole with tepid water and allow the water to rest. Place the peach tree in the center of the hole and fill the hole with soil. Complete the hole so that the tree’s planting area is slightly elevated from the surrounding surface. Press the soil gently around the peach tree to secure its upright position. Water the tree thoroughly.
Prune the peach tree immediately after planting. Trim the tree’s branches to develop a vase shape. Always remove any broken, low-hanging or diseased branches and stems. Prune the tree regularly throughout its life span. Prune the tree twice each year, in the early spring just before the growing season and, again, in the late fall after the final harvest.
Irrigate the tree regularly, providing it 1 to 1 ½ inches of water each week. Increase the irrigation schedule during the hot, dry summer months. Always keep in mind to water deeply and infrequently rather than in shallow, frequent amounts.
Feed the peach tree with a well balanced, slow release fertilizer in the early spring, early summer and after the final harvest. Select a granular fertilizer such as 10-10-10 or 20-20-20. Broadcast the fertilizer evenly around the peach tree and approximately one foot from the trunk of the tree. Water the fertilizer into the soil with approximately 1 ½ inches of water.
Treat the peach tree for peach leaf curl before symptoms begin to show, as the tree is quite susceptible to the disease. Use a fungicidal spray designed for peach trees and peach leaf curl. Apply the fungicide spray in the early spring, just before the growing season and before the spring fertilizer application.