Tips for Growing a Peach Tree

Do you love peaches and want to grow your own? If so, as long as you live in a suitable zone and have a bit of sunny space in your yard, you can plant a peach tree and harvest fruit within about three years. Peach trees need a bit of annual care, including watering in warm months, seasonal fertilizer and, of course, harvesting tasty fruit in summer.


When is the best time to plant a peach tree?

Late winter or early spring when trees are dormant are the best times for getting peach trees into the ground. Bare root trees are sold at plant nurseries during these months, and starting with a bare root tree is a good way of establishing a new peach tree.

How do you plant a bare root peach tree?

Start by selecting a growing site with well-draining soil and maximum sun. Then dig a hole two times as large as the root system of the new tree. Soak the roots in water for 6 to 12 hours before you plant it. Set the tree’s roots carefully in the hole, making sure the graft line is 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7cm) above the soil. Gently add soil back into the hole around the roots and water the tree thoroughly after you plant it.

Where do peach trees grow?

Peach trees grow in USDA planting zones 4 through 9, and they do especially well in zones 6 and 7. There are hundreds of varieties of peaches and some do better in slightly warmer or colder areas. The top states for commercial peach production are California, Georgia, South Carolina, and New Jersey.

Can I grow a peach tree from a seed?

Yes and no. Fruit trees are not propagated from seeds because the resulting tree will not be the same as the parent which produced the seed. However, you can still germinate a peach seed for a fun and educational experience, and there is a small chance the tree will produce good peaches.

What is the difference between freestone and cling peaches?

In freestone peaches, the pit falls easily away from the flesh. In cling peaches, the pit clings to the flesh and is hard to completely remove from the seed. Freestone peaches are easier to use if you are making pies or jams, but both types have many delicious varieties to choose from for fresh eating or processing.

How much sun does a peach tree need?

The more sun a peach tree gets, the better the tree will grow and produce fruit. Plant your tree in the sunniest location possible, making sure it receives a minimum of six hours of full-sun.

What about water?

Peach trees need plenty of water during the growing season, but too much water or soggy soil can lead to fungal problems. It is better to water deeply every two to three weeks than lightly and more frequently. A new tree needs about 5 to 10 gallons (19 to 38 liters) of water per week. A mature tree needs about 36 inches (91 cm) of water each season.

What kind of soil does a peach tree need?

Plant peach trees in sandy loam soil for best results. If your soil is heavy clay, add a mix of compost and sand to the planting hole before you plant the tree for better drainage.

What about pruning?

Peach trees produce fruit on one year old wood, so pruning is needed once a year to keep the fruiting wood healthy and new.

When do you fertilize a peach tree?

Fertilize the tree in early spring and again in summer.

What kind of fertilizer should I use?

Use a 12-12-12 fertilizer applied according to package directions, or, add a 1-inch (2.5cm) layer of compost around the tree. Water in the fertilizer with a sprinkler after you apply it.

Are peach trees self-fertile?

Yes. With most varieties, you can successfully plant a single tree and it will pollinate itself.

When are peaches ready for picking?

Different varieties of peaches are ready for harvest at different times between late May and the beginning of September.

What kinds of pests affect peach trees?

Unfortunately, peaches are popular with many pests, bacteria, and fungus. Some of the most common peach tree pests and diseases are:

  • Peach tree borer
  • Peach scab
  • Peach leaf curl
  • Brown rot
  • Leafhoppers

How long after planting a tree before I can harvest peaches?

If you take good care of the tree, peaches will be ready for harvest in the third year after planting.