So you are tired of buying those luscious fruits at farmers markets, roadside produce stands, or at the grocery store and are looking to start your own peach tree planting endeavor? Well, then here are a few things you need to know to get started and on the way to enjoying yet one more among the many of summers bounty.
Pick and Choose at the Nursery
The first step in planting peach trees entails selecting the right one at the nursery (or two, or three, depending on just how many peaches you are wanting). Look for vigorous, one-trunked trees with a good, healthy root system.
You may have to pull the tree up from the plant bucket to check it out by holding it by its trunk and rapping sharply against the top edges of the bucket. If the roots are numerous and look strong, you have picked a good tree. If they are few and weak-looking, replace the root ball back in the bucket and continue searching.
Soil, Planting Depth, Water, and Fertilization
For peach tree planting, you will want light loamy soil with plenty of sand incorporated into it that reaches a depth of at least thirty-six inches for optimum growth and peach production. Dig the hole no deeper than the height of the root ball. Planting too deep causes the root ball to hold water and the tree to eventually drown if your area experiences a particularly long rainy season.
Peach trees do need to be regularly watered, however, at least once a week during the summer and twice a week during the winter months, whether by rainfall or by trickling a water hose for however long it takes to wet the surrounding soil to a depth of about two inches (simply stick a finger down into the dirt to test).
Fertilizing and Spraying
Do not add fertilizer at peach tree planting time. Wait until the tree is at least a year old and apply fertilizer around the outside edges of the tree canopy. Fertilizing close to the trunk does not reach the tree’s new feeder roots, which have grown and spread, so you will be simply wasting your time, money, and the fertilizer by putting it next to the tree trunk.
Peach tree planting also entails maintaining your tree(s). You will need to spray at least twice a year to prevent peach-tree borers and other insects from ruining the crop you have so looked forward to. Spray with dormant oil (follow directions on the container) in late winter or very early spring every two weeks beginning about two months before the tree leafs out. Repeat in late fall after the tree has dropped its leaves.
The Waiting Game
Do not expect much of a crop for at least two or even three years after peach tree planting. The tree will be busy expending almost all of its energy growing roots, shooting out branches and limbs, and establishing itself in general. You may be pleasantly surprised with a few peaches the first year, but do not be disappointed. In the next few seasons, your peach trees will make up for lost time with buckets of fruit!
Other than spraying, fertilization, and occasional light pruning, not much else is necessary for successful peach tree planting and maintenance. Peaches are high in vitamins, low in salt and calories, and full of fiber. So what are you waiting for? It is pretty simple: Plant, water, fertilize, spray, and enjoy.