Peach (Prunus persica)
Peaches are very popular fruit trees that can be grown successfully in many parts of California. They require adequate summer watering, deep and well-drained soils, high nitrogen fertility, fruit thinning, and pest control sprays to prevent peach leaf curl and brown rot.
Peach trees are short-lived trees (15-20 yr). Peaches (like nectarines) are self-fruitful (self-compatible), which means that they do not require a pollenizer tree. Plant trees 12×16 ft. to 18×18 ft. apart.
Calendar of Backyard Gardening Operations for Peaches
Winter Dormant Season
- Spray trees with dormant oil to control San Jose scale.
- Spray fixed copper to control peach leaf curl December 1 and February 1.
- Prune out 50% of last year’s wood to thin the crop, insure good shoot growth and fruiting potential for future years.
Spring Bloom Season
- Apply fungicide during bloom to prevent brown rot, which may require 1–3 sprays, depending on weather. Rainy periods require more spray.
- Fertilize young trees monthly with high N fertilizer beginning April 1. Use 0.5 lb. urea or 25 lb. manure/appl/tree. Mature trees need 50% more. Water fertilizer in. If drip irrigated, do not exceed 1 oz. urea/emitter/mo.
- Thin fruits to about 6" apart when marble-sized. Thinning reduces fruit numbers, but increases size, prevents limb breakage.
Summer Growing Season
- Fertilize young trees monthly. Use 0.5 lb. urea or 25 lb. manure/tree/appl. Mature trees need 50% more. Water fertilizer in. If drip irrigated, do not exceed 1 oz. urea/emitter/mo.
- Drip irrigate daily or sprinkler irrigate about every 3 weeks.
- Maintain a weed free area around the base of the trees within 3' of the trunk with an organic mulch 3–4" deep.
Fall Harvest Season
- Spray for shot hole fungus in November before first heavy rain; use fixed copper.
- Fertilize and irrigate just after harvest.
- At leaf fall, remove and destroy or compost leaves to prevent the spread of peach scab.
- Remove mummies from tree.
- Fresh Market Stone Fruit Links, UC Fruit and Nut RIC
- [PDF] Peach Varieties for Planting in the Home Garden, Paul Vossen and Deborah Silver, Sonoma and Marin Co. UCCE
- [PDF] Guidelines to Evaluate Peaches for Commercial Planting in the Sierra Nevada Foothills, Dick Bethell, El Dorado Co. UCCE
- [PDF] Harvest Time for Selected Fruit Cultivars in the Sacramento Valley Foothills, Paul Vossen and Deborah Silver, Sonoma and Marin Co. UCCE
- How to Manage Pests in Gardens and Landscapes - Fruits and Nuts, UC IPM
- [PDF] Peaches and Nectarines: Calendar of Operations for Home Gardeners, Pamela M. Geisel and Carolyn L. Unruh, Fresno County and Paul Vossen, Sonoma and Marin County