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How to Grow Peach Trees in North Carolina

peach tree flower image by Lovrencg from

Peach trees are a popular fruit tree in North Carolina. The southeastern United States is an ideal part of the country to grow peach trees. The hot, humid summers combined with mild winters provide an ideal climate for peach trees to thrive.

Choose a cold-hardy peach tree that has a chilling hour requirement above 750 hours. Chilling hours are the required number of hours that the temperature must be between 33 and 45 degrees F for the tree to bloom properly. A tree with a lower chilling-hours requirement can bloom too early in the spring and cause the blooms to be damaged by a late-season frost.

Plant your new peach tree from late fall to early spring. Early winter is the recommended time for North Carolina. Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the peach tree's root system. Put a layer of native top soil at the bottom of the planting hole. Place the tree in the hole and cover the roots with soil. Water the tree to firm the soil and remove air pockets.

Fertilize in early spring just before bud break. Use a 10-10-10 fertilizer and apply 1/4 to 1/2 poiund of fertilizer around the tree for the first year.

Mulch around the peach tree using pine straw or hay. It should be kept at a depth of 4 to 5 inches.

Thin the fruit out for an optimum peach crop and to prevent breakage of the tree's crown. Fruit should be thinned out so that there is one peach every 6 to 8 inches along each branch. Thinning should be completed within 40 days of bloom.

Prune your peach tree to maintain an open, "vase-like" shape. This open canopy will keep light penetration adequate into the tree and keep fruit production high. Prune undesired growth in early summer.


Pruning may also be done during the dormant season just before bud break.

Peaches are borne on 1-year-old wood. In the dormant season, this can be identified by its reddish coloring. Try not to remove an excessive amount of 1-year-old wood.

Fertilizer requirements of the peach tree will increase with each year in the ground. Once peaches are in the ground more than 10 years, they need 5 to 7 pounds of 10-10-10 fertilizer per tree annually.

Fertilizing may be split up into two applications in the spring. Apply half in late February or early March and half in late April or early May.

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