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Peach tree, grow delicious peaches

Peach tree

Peach tree is an exceptional fruit tree, but needs special care to produce a nice harvest.

Peach tree facts, a summary

Name – Prunus persica vulgaris
Family – Rosaceae
Type – fruit tree

Height – 6 ½ to 16 feet (2 to 5 meters)
Climate – temperate and warm
Exposure – full sun

Soil: ordinary, well drained   –   Foliage: deciduous   –   Harvest: summer

Planting, pruning and caring for it is important to avoid diseases.

Planting a peach tree

Planting peach treeOur recommendation is to plant your peach tree in a sunlit and wind-sheltered spot so that dominant winds don’t sweep through.

Once the spot is chosen, plant your peach tree in fall or in spring.

  • Prepare a blend of soil mix and garden soil, which will make the soil lighter and add nutrients that the tree needs to grow well.
  • If your soil is clay and loamy, add about ⅓ sand to your blend of earth and soil mix.
  • Spread mulch to protect it from frost spells in winter, and it also adds organic matter and avoids weed growth.

Planting, pruning, and caring for a peach tree

Peach trees tend to not have apical dominance, which means that after pruning, they will sprout new shoots from the base rather than from the top.

Peach tree flowersEvery year, it is important to prune your tree at the end of winter just above a well-formed wood bud. Don’t prune if there’s still a risk of freezing.

  • Check that the pruning is well balanced.
  • In most cases, there isn’t a dominant central stem, but rather a number of evenly-sized branches, jutting out from knee-height.
  • You’ll have to remove any shoots emerging from the trunk.
  • However, you can leave select shoots that come out from the scaffold branches. Eliminate any branches that crossover and that grow straight up or inwards. Only keep those climbing out to an angle.

It is important to perform a fruit-inducing pruning to trigger appearance of many beautiful peaches.

A peach tree is very vulnerable to peach leaf curl, and, clearly, proper pruning will give your peach tree vigor and a make it more resilient.

Can I prune peach trees when fruits are already forming?

Only prune out of season for the following cases:

  • suckers shooting out from the base
  • dead wood
  • infection or illness of certain branches

One last possibility is to perform summer “tip pruning”. For a peach tree, this means pinching or snipping off the last 2 inches (5cm) of as many stems as you have the patience for.

  • This slightly increases the size of fruits on the tip-pruned branch.
  • The main goal is to trigger more branching out from both main scaffold and secondary branches. This makes it easier to choose which branches to leave or remove during the following end-of-winter pruning.

Diseases and parasites that frequently attack peach trees

Start treating your peach tree at the end of winter or at the very beginning of spring, spraying Bordeaux mixture.

After that, spray every two weeks to keep peach leaf curl and other fungus from appearing.

The best peach varieties

From the many peach tree varieties, we’ve selected the following interesting cultivars. Although taste is always subjective, there are still among the most delicious varieties to grow in our temperate climates.

  • Peach harvest‘Springtime’ – harvest end of June, white, fruits require thinning, prune short.
  • ‘Royal Gold’ – harvest from June 30th to July 15th, yellow, fruits require thinning.
  • ‘Robin’ – harvest from July 1st to July 15th, white and soft flesh.
  • ‘Redhaven’ – July 15th to 20th, yellow, light productivity.
  • ‘Anita’ – July 10th to 20th, white flesh, vigorous, large fruits.
  • ‘Dixired’ – July 20th to August 5th, yellow flesh.
  • ‘Charles Roux’ – July 15th to August 15th, white, vigorous, very productive.
  • ‘Redwing’ – August 1st to 15th, white, tasty, vigorous.
  • ‘Orchard Queen’ – August 25th to September 10th, white, for colder areas.
  • ‘Michelini’ – August 25th to September 10th, white, late blooming, prune long.
  • ‘Sanguine’ – September 1st to 15th, regular and late production.

The best smooth peach varieties, called nectarines

  • ‘Fantasia’ – harvest end of August, a tasty nectarine.
  • ‘Flavor Gold’ – harvest mid-July, prime quality fruits.
  • ‘Fuzadole’ – harvest August 15th, white nectarine, grows anywhere.
  • ‘Large Violet’ – end of August, vigorous and its fertile stone can be sown.
  • ‘Independance’ – harvest around August 10th, large yellow fruit.
  • ‘Morton’ – harvest end of July, beginning of August, fertile stone, prune short.
  • ‘Nectared 4’ – harvest August 1st to 15th, early, juicy, sweet.
  • ‘Nectared 6’ – harvest end of August, one of the best nectarines.
  • ‘Nectarose’ – harvest around August 20th, very sweet, resists European brown rot.
  • ‘Olympia’ – harvest August 15th, nectarine with white flesh, very fragrant.
  • ‘Silver Lode’ – harvest August 10th, white and very sweet nectarine.

Learn more about peach trees

Unripe peachesWho has never dreamed of standing up after a nice family feast to go fetch a few peaches from the tree in the garden?

This dream is within reach, if you simply care for your tree and considered location, pruning and fertilizing.

You can also treat your peach tree before the first leaves appear, with organic acaricide (mite killer) or a spray containing Bordeaux mixture.

Smart tip about peach trees

Learn to use organic products, because nowadays they have become very effective and won’t contaminate the fruits you’re eating…

Images: Pixabay: Alicja Juskowiak, Anita Fontana, Emilian Robert Vicol, Unsplash: Kelly Neil, Ian Baldwin
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  • David wrote on 13 May 2021 at 6 h 11 min

    Hello Simon,

    I bought a peach tree at the local mart, it is about 4’ high and has a inch thick trunk. It is in the ground now, its early spring and I have one question. The tree had small peaches on it when I bough it, should I pick off the small peaches? Or should I leave them on the tree?

    • Gaspard wrote on 19 May 2021 at 14 h 31 min

      Hi David, it’s quite ok to leave them on the tree. If there are dozens of fruits, for the first year, maybe remove all but a handful, but if there are only three or four it won’t be a problem. Just be extra careful to water whenever it gets dry, because the slightest stress would make the tree drop its fruit. If you’ve planted it in direct sun and it was in a sheltered nursery before, it might help to pull a shade mesh over it to keep the leaves from getting sunburned. Other than that it should be fine. If you’re lucky you might even have your first peaches this year!

  • simon walker wrote on 17 May 2020 at 17 h 46 min

    Hi folks ,I would like to ask a question ,once the fruits arrive ,around ten mm in size ,should you tip prune all of the side branches,It doesn’t explain this in the peach pruning guide,thank you Si

    • Gaspard wrote on 17 May 2020 at 20 h 21 min

      Hi Si! It’s worth going through tip pruning if you’ve only got a few trees, since it slightly increases fruit size and branching (which is good for the following year’s harvest). But since it’s very time consuming, not many professionals perform it on their peach trees. They stick with the once-a-year pruning session.

      • simon walker wrote on 17 May 2020 at 21 h 42 min

        Hi,I live about as far east you could possibly get in Suffolk England Three years ago I grew peach pits and the two resultant seeds grew amazingly quick and strong hoping now for one two three succulent fruits I have read a lot of information about peach trees some of it rememberedI am try to render more energy toward the fruits and slow the unrelenting growth of this plant.Because of this I have grown the tree in a two foot pot.I imagine I should have a book with dates hours and minutes for this roadrunner beepbeep HeHaw,get back kind regards Si

      • Gaspard wrote on 18 May 2020 at 10 h 13 min

        Wow that’s really fun! We have a small peach pit sprouting, too! Only about a foot tall though (25-30 cm). It’s fun but it’ll take a while to bear fruit. Taking gardening notes definitely helps remember where we’re at!