Fertilizing Peach Trees
Peach trees (Prunus persica) are hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9. Like many fruit trees, peaches perform best when grown in full sun and fertile, well-draining soil. For the soil to achieve fertility levels which are adequate for growing healthy, juicy peaches, fertilizer and other alterations have to be added at appropriate times.
Soil Amendments Before Planting
Ideally, you’ll start preparing the soil well in advance of purchasing the tree. Although you shouldn’t amend the soil with fertilizer before planting, materials like compost, peat moss, and sulfur or lime may all be used to modify soil nourishment, drainage, moisture retention and pH. Peach trees need soil that drains well, with a pH of approximately 6.5. Organic materials like compost and peat moss improve soil fertility, drainage and moisture retention. Organic materials may also have an acidifying effect. For example, each 2.5 pounds of peat moss added into your square yard of earth lowers the soil pH by one unit. That is the reason why soil pH should be measured after organic materials are added into the soil. You can measure the pH of your soil with a soil meter bought from a local nursery or garden center. Alkaline soils benefit from extra applications of peat moss or iron sulfate, while acidic soils need programs of agricultural lime. Soil additions that alter soil pH may take weeks, months or even years to fully take effect, therefore advanced preparation is important.
After planting, you need to wait 7 days before distributing the first application of fertilizer. A 1/2 cup of 10-10-10 fertilizer, broadcast evenly above the ground, will do. Fertilizer has to be kept away in the back of the tree, leaving a 12-inch ring of bare earth around the tree. Once the fertilizer was distributed, then you need to water the tree deeply and wait. Your second application of fertilizer will be a duplicate of the first, this one applied 40 days after planting.
At the third and second year of development, your peach tree will need two programs of 10-10-10 fertilizer — one in March and one in May. These programs should be raised to 3/4 of a cup. You have to put on the fertilizer as you did previously, broadcasting the fertilizer evenly beneath the canopy of the tree, keeping fertilizer 1 foot away from the back.
Trees 4 decades and older need 1 pound of 10-10-10 fertilizer applied once in March and once in May. Increase this number by 1/4 cup each year, and stop increasing when the software reach 2 pounds. Broadcast the fertilizer around the drip line of the tree, staying well away in the back. Water deeply after every application of fertilizer.