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How to Grow a Peach Tree

If you’ve always dreamed of growing a peach tree, you’re not alone. These late summertime fruits are the perfect, juicy snack. Not to mention, they make great landscape trees.

Closeup of peaches on a tree. Knowing how to grow a peach tree means you can enjoy homegrown peaches from your garden.

Eaten fresh, added to a cobbler, or used in preserves, there are so many things you can do with peaches. How much fun would it be to have a supply of peaches in your own backyard?

Are you interested in learning how to grow a peach tree? Keep reading to learn more!


What You’ll Need for Growing a Peach Tree

Before I go over how to grow a peach tree, it’s important to have the correct materials you’ll need to get started. I’ll go into more detail on some of these items further down in this post.

Having these materials will ensure your success in starting your own little peach orchard! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A bare root or potted peach tree
  • A good location to plant your tree in
  • Composted manure
  • Shovel
  • Work gloves
  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning shears
A young peach tree.

Common Peach Tree Varieties

Certain peach varieties may do better in your climate because of their specific required chill hours.

Chill hours refer to the amount of time a fruit tree needs to stay dormant during the winter. During that time period, the tree builds enough energy to produce a good harvest the following year.

Peach trees can be categorized by whether they are freestone or clingstone. Freestone implies how easily a peach’s flesh can be removed from the pit inside.

Peaches can also be categorized by yellow or white flesh. Yellow peaches are typically more acidic than white peaches, but they transport well. White peaches are sweet and make a great snack when eaten fresh.

Closeup of an Elberta peach.
An Elberta peach.

Common peach tree varieties:

  • Elberta – 850 chill hours; zones five through nine; freestone; yellow
  • Belle of Georgia – 850 chill hours; zones five through eight; freestone; yellow
  • Polly White – 1,000 chill hours; zones five through nine; freestone; white
  • Golden Jubilee – 800 chill hours; zones five through eight; freestone; yellow
  • Babcok – 300 chill hours; zones six through 10; freestone; white

Planting a Peach Tree

Once you’ve chosen your variety and purchased your tree, it’s time to learn how to grow a peach tree!

The first and most important thing about growing a peach tree is giving it the ideal conditions to grow in. Once you’ve accomplished that, you can move on to planting the peach tree.

Sunlight Requirements

Peach trees need at least eight hours of sun per day. Why is the sun so important? Fruit trees use the sun to receive the energy they need to produce blossoms and healthy fruit.

Growing a peach tree in partial shade is possible. But, you’ll never see the abundant harvest you would if it was planted in full sun.

A cluster of peaches backlit by sunlight.

Pick a spot that is unobstructed by other tall trees or buildings. Also, follow spacing requirements so the peach tree is not crowded out by other trees.

Soil Requirements

Peach trees receive their nourishment through the soil. Having poor soil will result in a tree with stunted growth and poor fruit production.

For optimal growth, peach trees prefer sandy-loam soil with a neutral pH. These soil characteristics provide the peach tree with a well-draining medium that won’t cause root rot.

Unless you’re lucky enough to have great soil, most soil needs to be amended to reflect ideal conditions.

To encourage healthy soil, mix composted manure and other decomposed materials into the top six inches of the soil. This can be repeated yearly after planting your peach tree.

Person using a garden spade to dig.

How to Plant a Peach Tree

To determine when to plant your peach tree, take a look at the roots. If your peach tree is potted in soil, plant the tree in spring. If the roots are bare, plant the tree while it’s dormant during the winter.

To plant a bare root peach tree, soak the tree’s roots in water. Roots should soak for at least six hours but no more than 24. This will allow your peach tree to hydrate and prepare to be planted.

Now, it’s time to take your shovel and dig a hole for the tree. The hole should be twice as wide and twice as deep as the roots. To give your tree extra stability, you can also install a stake in the hole at this time.

Fill the hole about one-third of the way with soil. Then, place the tree in the hole.

The roots should fit into the hole. If they are too long, trim them rather than trying to make them fit.

If the tree was potted, break up the root ball to encourage the roots to spread. Once the tree is in the hole, place soil around the roots up to the top of the root crown.

Step around the tree to remove any potential air pockets in the soil. Water deeply, and you’re done!


Caring for a Peach Tree

A peach tree with lots of fruit.

Fertilizer

Fertilizer is an important part of growing a peach tree. You may not even think about fertilizing trees, but fruit trees can benefit greatly from added nutrients.

You don’t have to go out and buy a special fertilizer. Just use an all-purpose fertilizer with a balanced NPK ratio of 10-10-10 or 20-20-20. Apply the fertilizer every year after planting according to the package instructions.

There are several different types of fertilizer you can choose from, such as liquid, granular, and fertilizer stakes. Each type has a different application method and price point. So, pick out whichever fertilizer best matches your budget and schedule.

Pruning

When growing a peach tree, you can help shape and increase your tree’s productivity with pruning.

Prune the peach tree in early spring as the tree is beginning to bloom. You should limit pruning in the first few years of growth to only shaping.

Once the tree is established, choose three or four main branches to leave on the tree to promote air circulation. Other large branches should be removed using long-handled loppers.

You can also trim back any small limbs on top that are too tall to harvest fruit from.

Every year, remove any gray, diseased, or dead branches from the tree. You should also trim any small shoots that are growing from the ground or lower trunk.

For more in-depth information, read our guide on Peach Tree Pruning.

Common Peach Tree Pests

All your work of learning how to grow a peach tree can be ruined by annoying pests and diseases. To prevent this from happening, monitor your peach tree often for any signs of distress or damage.

A common peach tree pest – peach tree borers gnaw their way into peach tree stems as larvae. This often causes fatal damage to a peach tree.

Peach tree borers appear similar to a black and yellow wasp in their adult form. The best time to spot them is during the day on the tree trunk. They can be treated with an insecticide.

Closeup of a peach tree borer.

Oriental fruit moths are another example of a common peach tree pest. These tiny gray moths feed on developing foliage and fruit in their larvae form.

They can go through five generations in one year, so control of these pests is important. They can be treated with an insecticide upon spotting.

Common Peach Tree Diseases

One of the most harmful peach tree diseases is bacterial spot. Common signs of the disease are yellowing leaves or fruit that’s pitting or cracking. It is spread from rain or dew splashing off of fruit cankers and wounds.

To prevent this disease, look for disease-resistant varieties to plant, especially if you live in a hot, humid climate.

Your peach tree can also succumb to brown rot, which is a fungal infection that causes rotting spots in mature fruits. To treat this disease, remove any diseased leaves, twigs, or fruit from the tree, and apply a fungicide.

Read our blog post on Peach Tree Diseases for more information on how to identify, treat, and even prevent them.


Harvesting

A man holding a box of harvested peaches.

Harvesting is the best part of learning how to grow a peach tree. You get to enjoy the fruits of your labor – literally!

To harvest a peach, look for ripeness indicators such as soft flesh and skin changing from green to yellow. It should be easy to simply pull the peach from the tree. If not, the peach may not be ripe yet.

Storing Fruit

After growing a peach tree, you’ll want to store as many fruits as you can. For peaches that are ripe and ready, keep them in the fridge until you are ready to eat them. They will usually last about a week or two.

Fresh peaches.

You can also leave peaches out on the counter if they still need to ripen. Separate them out to where they don’t touch, so they don’t spoil as quickly.

If you want to keep some peaches for the off-season, bag them, and put them in the freezer. They will be great to add to ice cream and frozen smoothies later on.


Wrapping Up How to Grow a Peach Tree

Learning how to grow a peach tree means you can have unlimited access to juicy peaches during the summer.

Closeup of peaches growing on a tree.

Forget going to pick some up at the grocery store. All you have to do is walk outside! With a little care and maintenance, growing a peach tree is easy and rewarding for the whole family.

Your journey of learning about peaches doesn’t stop here! Visit our Peach Trees page where you’ll find blog posts on harvesting peaches, pruning peach trees, plus more information about caring for your peach tree.