when-to-fertilize-peach-trees

When and How to Fertilize Peach Trees

Fertilizing a peach tree doesn’t take much time, but fertilizing gives you plumper, juicier peaches and a healthy, vigorous tree. However, it’s important to fertilize at the right time using the correct amount of fertilizer. Testing the soil for nutrients before planting and occasionally thereafter helps you know how much, and what type, of fertilizer your soil really needs.

Fertilize Peach Trees in Spring or Early Summer

Fertilize peach trees at the time of planting and then each spring or early summer after the tree begins bearing fruit.

For new trees, apply approximately ¼ pound (113 grams) of a 10-10-10 or 12-12-12 fertilizer around the base of the tree one week after planting. Water the fertilizer into the soil immediately after application, and always read and follow the directions on the fertilizer package.

For mature, fruit-bearing trees, fertilize in the spring or early summer, but before the 1st of July. As a general rule, apply ¼ pound (113 grams) of fertilizer per 1 inch (2.5cm) of the diameter of the trunk. For example, if the tree trunk is 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter, apply 1 pound (.45 kilograms) of fertilizer.

Spread the fertilizer evenly around the base of the tree inside the drip line, which is the outermost spread of leaves where water drips from the tree. Water the fertilizer into the soil after applying it. Keep the fertilizer at least 8 inches (20cm) away from the trunk.

Types of Fertilizers for Peach Trees

Peach trees need balanced amounts of the major plant nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, referred to as N, P, and K.

Nitrogen is needed for growth of branches and leaves, phosphorus keeps roots healthy and is used as blossoms develop, and potassium helps the tree resist pests and diseases.

The numbers on a package of fertilizer refer to the percentage of these nutrients in that fertilizer listed in the order of N, P, and K.

Some organic sources of these nutrients and their N, P, K content are:

• Blood meal: 13-1-.06
• Bone meal: 3-15-0
• Kelp meal: 1-0-4

Granite dust and greensand also have similar levels of potassium as kelp meal.

You can create your own powdered, organic fertilizer for fertilizing your peach trees by mixing these ingredients together and applying them in the same amounts as a synthetic fertilizer.

Organic fertilizers also contain trace minerals, including copper, zinc, and molybdenum. High-quality compost and aged manures are other organic fertilizer you can use on peach trees. Apply these at a rate of approximately 50 pounds (23 kilograms) per year for a mature tree.

Test Your Soil Before Fertilizing

Before you plant your peach trees and every few years thereafter, test the soil for nutrients and then adjust how much fertilizer you use accordingly.