in ,

How to Grow a Peach Tree

Peach trees are rewarding fruit trees that call for some care to yield a robust peach harvest. There’s hardly a more satisfying experience than picking a ripened peach right off of the tree right in your backyard. They’re fresh, juicy treats that are easy to grow organically. Explore our comprehensive guide on how to grow a peach tree and get started on a journey that will keep on giving year after year.

upclose pink reddish peaches

Planting

First, choose a planting site that provides your peach sapling with full sun, excellent drainage, and protection from harsh conditions like frost pockets and harsh winds. When planting any tree, it is essential to remember that your young tree will become a large mature tree. For peach trees, this can mean a 20-foot tree or larger, so be sure to take that into account when you choose your planting site.

Plant your tree in Spring or early Summer for the best success. Dig your hole as deep as the plant’s root ball and two to three times its width. If the plant looks to be root-bound, gently loosen the tightly wound roots and clip some of the roots to aid in loosening them. Place the root ball into the hole and fill in the hole with fertile soil, pressing firmly with your boot as you go until all air pockets are gone, and the soil base is firm and level with the ground.

Spacing

Spacing is essential when it comes to planting trees. Trees need room to stretch out their branches as they grow toward full maturity. Proper spacing can also keep fungal diseases to a minimum. Standard-sized peach trees can be spaced 15 to 20 feet apart, while dwarf varieties should be planted  10 to 12 feet apart.

Soil

Peaches prefer a soil pH of between 6.0 to 7.0. on the pH scale. Obtain a soil test before planting and amend accordingly to ensure that the peach tree gets its best start. Try using a soil naturally enriched with fertilizer to provide a healthy boost to your tree. Peach trees thrive best in lightweight loamy, well-draining soil. It is vital to not plant peach trees in low spots in the landscape where water pools, as this can contribute to problems like root rot, which can cause the demise of your tree.

Pollination

Most peach tree varieties are self-pollinators, so all that you need is one tree for fruit production. Maintaining an organic growing space will encourage bees to thrive and assist in the fertilization of your peach tree.

kellogg-garden-organics

Kellogg Garden Organics

All Natural Planting Mix

**Product not available in AZ, CA, HI, NV, UT. For a comparable product in these states click here.

Maintenance

Work to thin out your fruits so that they are about 6 inches apart on each branch. Overcrowding of fruit on any given branch will decrease the overall size and quality of the fruit in your yield. Thinning out the fruit may be a surprising suggestion, but the practice encourages the tree to focus its energy on the remaining fruit instead of spreading itself too thin.

Prune and fertilize to bolster up to 18 inches of new growth during the spring and summer months.

Watering

Peach trees require regular watering for an average of three times per week as the young tree gets established. As time goes on and the tree takes hold in the ground, the young tree should be watered-in well on a  less frequent basis, soaking the soil generously only when the soil is relatively dry. This will encourage the roots to reach deeper into the ground, making for a sturdier, more robust tree.

Japanese Beetle Feeding on Leaves

Pests

Peach trees are susceptible to an array of troublesome pests that peach gardeners will, unfortunately, contend with as they grow their crops. Such insects damage peach flowers and fruit, bore into limbs, and cause trunk damage.  Some of the most prevalent pests are aphids, plum curculio, leafhoppers, Oriental fruit moths, peachtree borers, scale, and Japanese beetles.

Pests can be prevented by instituting a variety of cultural practices. Employing proper watering habits will keep trees healthy and less susceptible to pest infestations. Prune peach tree branches so that air can flow freely through them, thereby preventing fungus growth on perpetually wet leaves. Remove any diseased wood from tree as soon as it is noticed.

There are also organic products like jojoba and neem oils that you can purchase from your local garden center, which counteract peach trees and other garden pests. These are great products that are non-toxic and won’t leave behind any chemical residue.

Pruning

Annual pruning is a crucial component of peach growing. Pruning bolsters productivity and helps to ensure a yearly bumper crop of juicy peaches. Fruits develop on new growth, so it is essential to continually cut back your branches to encourage new growth and regular annual fruiting.

Prune your tree to an open centered shape. Early in the summer months of the first year of growth, prune back the shoots that grow up from the top of the tree at the 2nd bud.

As the tree grows, pay attention to the three predominant branches. They will be the core structure of your fruit tree. In the early summer of months of the 2nd year, aggressively prune the branches in the middle of the tree nice and short, and clip off any sucker shoots that sprout out below the three main branches. Continue to prune your peach tree annually.

Recommended Varieties

There are hundreds of peach cultivars, but they can be broken down into three main categories: clingstone, freestone, and semi-freestone. These categories point to how much the flesh adheres to the peach pit. Freestone varieties pull away from the pit with ease and are an obvious favorite. Check out some of our highlighted standout varieties of peaches worth growing.

Freestone

‘Elberta’ produces a sizeable golden-yellow fruit that is blushed with red tones. It is known for its firm sweet flesh and is fantastic for canning or eating freshly picked.

‘Glohaven’ produces large, bright, yellow-colored peaches that are super smooth without all of the fuzzy peachy characteristics. This variety is less susceptible to freezing temperatures than some other types.

Semi-freestone

‘Redhaven’ is a delicious yellow peach with some blushing red tones. It has a sweet flesh that freezes well and is excellent for canning and eating fresh. It is one of the most favored and standard varieties of peaches.

Clingstone

‘White Heath Cling’ is a late-season favorite that produces medium to large fruit with an intriguing white skin and a slight blush.  The flesh is juicy, and the fruit has a distinctive flavor. This is a cold-hardy variety.

Peach tree with fruits growing in the garden.

Where Do Peaches Grow?

Peaches are successfully grown around the world. China is the world’s leading producer of peaches, and the United States boasts being the fifth leading producer of the juicy and delectable fruit. In the United States, peaches do their best growing in USDA zones 5 through 9, where you find hot summers and winters with temperatures that dip below 40°F for an extended period. In fact, most peach tree varieties require this cold spell each winter to set their fruit for spring.

The top four states for peach production in the United States are California, South Carolina, Georgia, and New Jersey. But peaches can be grown in USDA Zones 4 through 9; they just do particularly well in USDA Zones 6 through 8.

How Big Do Peach Trees Get?

A peach tree can attain heights of up to 25 feet tall, and almost as wide if left unpruned. Dwarf varieties of peach trees can grow 6 feet in height and width. Ideally, however, you should keep your standard peach tree pruned to 12-15 feet for best airflow and reachability. A standard peach tree can easily yield 100 to 150 pounds of fruit per year, and a dwarf variety can yield 50-60 pounds of peaches, respectively. So, pick your most appealing variety of peach and get planting, so you are one step closer to a bountiful harvest.


Share The Garden Love


up close peaches with text, "What variety of peaches should I plant?"
Peach tree with text, "8 tips growing a peach tree"

If you still have any questions, here is a list of FAQ’s for tree planting. Make sure you take a look here for a bunch of answers to questions that you might not have even known you had.

14 Comments

Leave a Reply
  1. My recently store bought Young peach trees are very stiff with dark red limbs with no buds.i have pruned to the v shape trunk with a few upright. I’m afraid they are not alive. I have fertilized with garden soil and water regularly. Our weather had a march month of downpours and then a 90 s 2 weeks ago. No change

    • Hi Jane, if it is a newly purchased tree it may still be young and not ready to bloom and fruit. Peach trees first fruit between 2 and 4 years of age, but do not produce significantly until they’re about 4 years old. It is hard to diagnose an issue without seeing the tree. It may be best to snap a few photos and contact the store you purchased it at. They will know more about the trees and the area you are growing in.

    • Hi Louna, here are some methods to control and get rid of fruit flies from your peach tree. One way is to hang pheromone-based traps in the fruit tree. This is to find out whether fruit flies are active in your garden. The traps will attract and kill male fruit flies, so they’re a useful indicator of when you should start a spraying program. Another way to protect fruit flies is to covering fruit trees with a very fine netting such as mosquito netting or place paper bags over fruit. You should start covering the fruit as early as possible during the growing season. Fruit flies tend to target fruit and vegetables that are maturing or ripe. To reduce fruit flies, collect and destroy any rotting fruit, whether it’s on the tree or on the ground, to reduce the risk of the maggots developing and leaving the fruit.

  2. Something is attacking my peaches. They look like they were poked by something and there is a clear residue coming out of the punched area. I sprayed my tree with neem oil in the winter and also early spring every year but this still happens to my peaches. What could it be? I also fed tree with an organic fertilizer in early spring. I also thin out the peaches each year.

    • Hi Camille, backyard peaches are delicious but they can be a bit of work. Peach trees are prone to pests and diseases. It sounds like you have fruit caterpillars how you address this depends on where your tree is at in the growth cycle. Since it is summer you will most likely need to apply Spinosad, a natural bacterial insecticide, this helps when caterpillars or peach twig borers are a problem. Spray it in the early morning or late afternoon and be careful to watch out for the pollinators they should be less active at the time but you want to make sure you do not spray them.

      There are three times in the growth cycle to treat your trees, before bud swell, pre-bloom, and after petals drop. Apply horticultural dormant oil or a Bordeaux mixture just before the buds swell and daytime temperatures have reached 40 to 45 F. Spraying peach trees at this time will help you get the jump on fungal diseases and overwintering pests. In the pre-bloom stage spray peach trees with an organic fungicide when buds are in tight clusters and color is barely visible. You can also apply insecticidal soap spray to control pests that feed at this stage. After most petals have dropped, usually in the fall spraying peach trees with a copper fungicide, or using a combination spray that controls both pests and diseases will help you avoid this issue next season. Remember to wait until most of the petals have dropped; spraying earlier may kill honeybees and other beneficial pollinators.

  3. How much gromulch and steer manure can I use in the soil when planting a young peach tree? Do I really need to use any of the native soil or can I just use the above? The soil in Vegas is horrible (like cement)

    • Hi Randy, the amount of soil amending you need will depend on your soil composition. You will be using the gro mulch to create better spacing for airflow and drainage, so you will need to test the water flow as you add it. You can also use it on top of the soil as a mulch to keep moisture in the soil. The composted manure is for added nutrients, if you are laying it on top then about a 1/2 inch worth, if you are mixing it in then about 1 or 2 inches or 25-30% of your mix. Peach tree roots spread 10 to 20 feet so the soil quality has to be able to accommodate that spread. If your native soil is not good then you can grow your peach tree in a container to control the soil. Happy gardening!

    • Hi, we recommend purchasing a peach tree or peach sapling from a local nursery or garden center as they will be able to advise you on which tree will best thrive in your region as well as provide you with planting and care information. If you’re interested in ordering one online and having it shipped to you google, “peach sapling for sale’ and you’ll find lots of great online retailers. Happy gardening!

    • Hi Frances, this can occur if the tree is stressed during the summer sending the tree into dormancy. Trees can be stressed by excessive heat, lack of water, or other factors. As the weather cools moving into fall the tree can come out of dormancy and flower as if it were spring. The trees do not usually expend all their blossom buds at this time, so there should be more flowers next spring, and hopefully, fruit depending on the age of the tree.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *