How To Grow A Peach Tree

How To Grow A Peach Tree

Growing your own peaches can be a rewarding and fun process, however they are not quite as easy to grow as other fruit trees. Whether you want to grow a peach tree from seed, or you want to start with a seedling, there are some simple steps to follow. Starting with the right peach variety and ensuring you have the right conditions for growing peaches will give you the best chance for success.

(Featured Image: Peaches by L. West)

Selecting The Right Type Of Peach

When growing peaches, the first step is to select the best variety of peach for your region. While many peach varieties are suitable for southern states, there are fewer that are appropriate for lower hardiness zones in colder regions. These are some of the best varieties of peaches to grow:

  • Reliance: This variety is known for its cold hardiness and disease resistance. It produces medium-sized, flavorful fruit with a bright red skin.
  • Redhaven: Redhaven is a popular variety that produces large, juicy fruit with a yellow flesh and red skin. It ripens in mid-July and is well-suited to cold temperatures in the Midwest climate.
  • Madison: This variety is prized for its high-quality fruit, which is medium to large in size with a bright red skin and yellow flesh. It ripens in late July to early August.
  • Contender: Contender is hardy in the winter months and produces large, flavorful fruit with a red skin and yellow flesh. It ripens in mid-August and is known for its resistance to fungal disease.
  • Cresthaven: Cresthaven is a popular variety that produces large, juicy peaches that are sweet with a yellow flesh and red skin. It ripens in mid-August and is well-suited to the Midwest climate.

When selecting a peach variety for your area, it’s important to consider factors such as cold hardiness, disease resistance, and ripening time. You may also want to consult with a local nursery or extension office for recommendations based on your specific location and growing conditions.

Fresh peaches growing on a young peach tree that was grown from a peach seed.

Peach Tree with Fruit by Watts

How To Grow A Peach Tree From Seed:

Growing a peach tree from seed comes with its own challenges, but it can be successfully done if the germination process is properly followed.

1. Obtain a fresh peach pit:

You can either save a seed pit from a peach you’ve eaten, or buy one from a local grocery store or farmer’s market. Make sure the pit is fresh and hasn’t been dried out or exposed to high temperatures.

2. Clean the pit:

Wash the peach pit under running water to remove any residual flesh or sugary residue that might attract pests.

3. Crack the pit:

Peach seed pits have a hard outer shell that needs to be cracked before the seed inside can be planted. Use a nutcracker or pliers to carefully crack the pit open without damaging the seed inside.

4. Soak the seed:

Once the seed is exposed, soak it in a bowl of warm water for 24 hours. You can also dampen a paper towel and wrap that around the seed to keep it moist. This will help to soften the hard seed coat and improve the chances of germination.

5. Plant the seed:

Fill a small pot with well-drained soil and plant the germinated peach seed about 1 inch deep. Water the soil well and cover the pot with plastic wrap to create a humid environment.

6. Provide light and warmth: 

Place the pot in a warm, sunny spot, such as a windowsill or under a grow light. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged, and remove the plastic wrap once the seed has sprouted.

7. Transplant the seedling:

Once the peach tree seedling has developed a few sets of leaves, it’s ready to be transplanted into a larger pot or outside in a sunny, well-drained location. Make sure to protect the seedling from frost or extreme temperatures during its first year of growth.

It’s important to note that a seed-grown peach tree may not produce fruit identical to the parent plant. This is because most peach trees are grafted onto rootstock to ensure consistent fruit quality and disease resistance. However, growing a peach tree from seed can still be a rewarding experience and a fun way to learn about plant propagation.

A pile of peach pits waiting to be planted to grow a peach tree from seed.

Peach Pits by P. Sableman

How To Grow A Peach Tree From Seedlings

Growing a peach tree from a seedling is a great way to ensure that your tree will produce the same type of fruit as the parent plant. Here are the steps to follow:

1. Purchase high quality seedling rootstocks:

You can buy a peach seedling from a local nursery or garden center. Look for a healthy seedling with a strong root system.

2. Choose a planting location:

Peach trees need full sun and well-drained soil to thrive. The best site will have good air circulation and plenty of room for the tree to grow.

3. Prepare the planting hole:

Dig a hole that is twice as wide and deep as the root ball of the young plant. Mix some compost or aged manure into the soil to improve drainage and add nutrients.

4. Plant the seedling:

Gently remove the seedling from its container and place it in the planting hole. Make sure the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Backfill the hole with fertile soil and water the tree thoroughly.

5. Stake the new trees:

Young peach trees need to be staked to provide support as they grow. Use a sturdy stake and tie the tree to it with a soft, flexible tie. We use rubber coated metal ties for staking up young trees and tall plants. They are soft and flexible, and can be used on any type of plant.

6. Mulch the tree:

Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as shredded leaves or bark, around the base of the tree. This will help to conserve moisture and suppress weeds.

7. Water And Fertilize:

Peach trees need regular watering, especially during their first year of growth. Water deeply once a week, or more frequently during hot, dry weather. Apply a balanced fertilizer that is gradually distributed to the roots. We always use Jobe’s Fruit & Citrus fertilizer spikes. We highly recommend this product because it is organic and can release nutrients into the soil over time, preventing root burn.

With proper care and attention, your peach seedling should grow into a healthy, productive tree that will provide you with delicious fruit for many years to come.

Young peach trees grown from seed are producing fresh peaches ready to be picked.

Peach Trees by B. Tijs

What Type Of Soil Do Peach Trees Need?

Peach trees prefer well-draining garden soil that is rich in organic matter. The ideal soil for peach trees is loamy, with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. Avoid clay soils that can become waterlogged and cause root rot. Sandy soils can also be problematic, as they tend to dry out quickly and may not provide enough nutrients to support the tree.

To improve soil quality, you can amend the soil with organic matter such as compost, aged manure, or peat moss. These materials can improve soil structure and fertility, as well as help the soil retain moisture. It’s important to note that excessive nitrogen can cause peach trees to grow too vigorously and reduce fruit production, so it’s best to avoid high-nitrogen fertilizers and opt for fruit specific fertilizer spikes instead.

How To Prune Peach Trees

Pruning peach trees is an important task that helps to promote healthy growth, control the size of the tree, and maximize fruit production. Pruning should be done in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins. Start by removing any dead, damaged, or diseased wood, as well as any water sprouts or side branches that have grown from the base of the tree.

Peach trees tend to produce a lot of interior branches that can block sunlight and air circulation, which can lead to disease. Thin out some of the interior branches to promote better air flow and light penetration. Make heading cuts on the remaining branches to encourage new growth and promote the formation of lateral branches.

It’s important to note that over-pruning can reduce fruit production, so be sure to prune selectively and avoid removing too much wood at once. Also, it’s important to use clean, sharp pruning tools to prevent damage to the tree and the spread of disease.

Ready To Plant More Fruit Trees?

We love growing fruit in our own backyard! If you’re just getting started, check out some of our best how-to guides on our favorite fruit trees and shrubs.