How to Grow a Peach Tree: Everything You Need to Know
Perhaps the biggest advantage of knowing how to grow a peach tree is the fact that it grows fast. If you buy the peach tree from a tree farm or a nursery, it will start producing fruit in 1-2 years, so you don’t have to wait that much. Meanwhile, if you choose to grow it from a pit, the period rises to 3-4 years. Today we are going to have a look at the steps you need to follow to grow a peach tree.
1. Buy the Tree
Of course, when learning how to grow a peach tree, you always have the option of growing it from a seed or pit. However, this method is more time-consuming and more difficult. A peach seed can reach maturity and become a tree in 3-6 years. Meanwhile, if you buy it from the nursery, in one year you will have your own tree. At the nursery, choose a dormant tree with as few leaves as possible. If you still want to use a seed, choose a tasty and juicy one.
2. Choose the Best Peach Variety
If you go to the nursery, make sure you ask what is the right variety for the area you live in. Colder climates can damage certain types, so in this case, you should go for Avalon Pride or Frost. For deck or patio pots, Honey Babe or Pix-Zee are the right choices since they are only 1.8 m (6 feet) tall.
3. When to Plant
Make all the preparations required for planting in the spring. This is the best time to look up how to grow a peach tree because the tree is still dormant. If you will transplant an active tree in summer, it might get damaged.
4. Choose a Location
Peaches love to enjoy the sun so make sure the tree has a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight every day. Choose the warmest place you can find in the garden. A smart tip when learning how to grow a peach tree is to place it next to a southern wall. In this way, it can get all the reflected heat. The spot you chose must have a sandy, moderately fertile soil with good drainage. Ideally, it should be elevated, so that the tree can enjoy an adequate airflow. This reduces the risk of frost and it also keeps it in direct sunlight most of the year.
Planting a Peach Tree
5. Prepare a Ground Section
Use a garden spade or tiller to prepare a section of ground. This space is used by the plant to spread its roots and grow. Make sure there is no grass next to your future peach tree since it can inhibit its growth. Dig 12 inches deep into the soil (30.5 cm) for the best conditions. Next, spread the roots away from the base. Pay attention not to bend them!
6. Use Organic Matter and Peat Moss
When learning how to grow a peach tree, it is recommended to use a soil tester before planting, so that you can know how much organic matter you need. Make sure you have enough peat moss or compost tea. Mix it all very well and you will get a looser soil. Next, water the area where you want to put the peach tree. Don’t saturate the dirt. In case you have a low pH soil, add a few limes to the soil.
7. Plant the Peach Tree
Make a hole on a small mound of soil and then place the tree there. When you’re done, fill the hole back. Pat the soil with a garden spade to make sure it stays in place. If you bought a grafted tree, then place the inside of the curve of the union as far from the sun as you can.
Caring for a Peach Tree per Season
8. Taking Care of the Peach Tree
Check the state of the tree each day. If it looks like it’s wilted, water it lightly. In general, a peach tree only needs rainfall, but if you live in a dry area, you may need to water it. Also regarding nutrition, you should use organic mulch. It’s easy to do it: simply make a circle of mulch above the root zone. The latter is found 5 cm deep and 1 m (3 feet) in diameter. If you have enough rainfall as well, you won’t even to do anything else.
9. Use a Mild Pesticide
A week from planting, you should use a mild pesticide. This prevents any insects and diseases from damaging the vulnerable plant. Insect borers can be kept at bay by wrapping the plant with pieces from a garden row cover. For fighting rodents, place a cylinder of cloth (mesh hardware one) around the tree. At the same time, using a lime-sulfur spray can help fight peach leaf curl, which is a common cause for many peach trees damage.
10. Use a Nitrogen Fertilizer
Another important step in learning how to grow a peach tree correctly is to use a nitrogen fertilizer two times a year. Six weeks after planting, you need to spread 1 pound of fertilizer evenly over the area. This helps the tree flourish. After the first year, cut it down to ¾ of a pound. In the spring of the third year, when the tree is already mature, use 1 pound of actual nitrogen on the soil. If you want to make your peach tree hardier, use no fertilizer whatsoever for 2 months after the first frost or during the period when the fruits are growing.
Reaping the Peaches
11. Pruning a Peach Tree
It’s not hard to see how to prune a peach tree. Your goal is to get the tree to have an open center shape. In the summer following the first year, you should cut the shoots that appear at the top of the tree. Remove 2-3 buds from them. After a month, check again to see the progress. If you notice that the structure is formed around three branches at wide angles, spaced equally, you should cut back any other branches besides the three main ones.
After another year, also in summer, cut out any shoots in the center of the tree or below the three main branches. Any guide on how to grow a peach tree indicates that the pruning process should take place in early spring or late winter. Cut off any branches that rub against others. If you see any that grow up into the open center, cut those as well. It’s important to prune annually to stimulate production. This helps with new growth, fueling the parts you want to grow with more resources. Each season, you should enjoy 10-18 inches of new growth.
12. Thinning the Fruit
In 4-6 weeks, your tree will bloom. After that, you need to thin the fruit. Space them 6-8 inches apart. In this way, you make sure that the fruit you leave will become juicy and big. If you notice that a fruit will be flowering in the shade, it’s best to thin it out. Make sure the sun reaches all the branches and fruit. If you don’t, then the nutrients will not get as fast to the fruits that need them.
The strategy here is to offer an ‘open canopy’ to the fruit. This means you need to make sure every branch gets as much sunlight as possible. For this reason, you must remove the crossing, dying, or dead branches or blooms. It maximizes the chances for the remaining fruit to grow big and tasty, so don’t overlook this important step in our guide on how to grow a peach tree.
13. Harvest the Fruits
The final step when learning how to grow a peach tree is to harvest the peaches. Keep an eye out for the top and outside areas of the tree. The fruits there will most likely be ready for harvesting before the others. When you don’t see any green spots on the fruit, you can take the peach from the tree. Simply twist it lightly and they should come off.
One thing you should pay special attention to is the bruising. Peaches are famous for getting bruised easily, so don’t be too aggressive when you pick them. Keep in mind that you can store them up to 5 days in the fridge if you place them in a resealable bag. Another option would be to make peach jam. It will have a special taste and you will enjoy it more if you know you are the one who grew the peach tree from scratch.
It’s easy to learn how to grow a peach tree if you follow the steps above. The most important things you should consider are the temperature and the pruning. Luckily, if you live in an adequate area, you may not need to water the plant at all, since it can thrive on the rainfall alone. However, you may want to use some mulch, as well as compost and peat moss for the best soil you can have. Pruning is essential for obtaining big and juicy peaches.
Image source: 1