Peach Tree Soil Requirements –  Site selection for planting Peach Trees

The peach tree prefers middle, well-drained sandy loam soils and around 4 feet (1.2 m) deep. Heavy soils are unsuitable because they promote physiological anomalies like foliage chlorosis and decrease production. As an optimum soil pH level, we consider 6-7.5. The plant is sensitive to increased salinity levels both in soil and water. Additionally, when selecting the planting site for peach trees, it is essential to avoid frost-prone areas since it is quite sensitive to low temperatures, especially during flowering (late spring frosts). To have maximum yield and good quality fruits, the peach orchard should receive at least 8 hours of direct sunlight. Some farmers prefer planting in north-facing spots, with a maximum slope of 10%, to delay flowering. However, this practice should be avoided in regions with strong cold winds. Before planting the young peach trees, it is recommended to perform a soil analysis to determine the soil characteristics, the number of nutrients available, and the existence of pests (like nematodes) and pathogens (like Armillaria mellea). If the soil is not free of such organisms, the grower must apply some corrective actions, like disinfectant. Always consult your local agronomist. 

Peach Tree Soil Preparation

In conventional tillage systems, the farmers usually plow their fields at a depth of 20-27 inches (50-70 cm), aiming to eliminate perennial weeds (like field bindweed and quackgrass) and to loosen up the soil, which is necessary for proper root development. A few days before planting, many farmers apply a pre-planting fertilizer such as manure (20-30 tons of manure per hectare or 8-12 tons/acre) or synthetic commercial fertilizer (well before planting the young trees) to increase soil fertility and improve soil texture. The next day is the right time to install the irrigation system. Following the installation, some farmers can apply soil disinfection substances through the irrigation system if soil analysis has revealed any infection problems (soil-born diseases or pests). You must always consult a licensed agronomist in your area.

Peach Trees Planting, Spacing, and Number of Peach Trees per hectare and acre

Planting of young Peach trees in the field can occur during the end of winter or early spring (before blossoming). Most young trees that are sold for transplanting are usually 1-2 years old T-grafted trees. The young trees should ideally have a 0.5-0.6 inches (12-16 mm) trunk diameter to accelerate establishment. In fields with poor-draining soils, the farmers may choose to plant the peach trees in raised beds on average 1-2 ft (30-60 cm) in height and at least 3 feet wide (0.9 cm).

Before planting the young trees, you should observe the roots and remove any disease or broken parts by light pruning of the roots. The planting hole should be twice as wide as the root ball to fit the roots without bending them. Generally, the young trees are planted as bare-rooted during winter, but if they have already started producing leaves, it is best to plant them together with the soil ball (potted). The seedlings are often planted at roughly the same depth as in the nursery (60 cm or 2 ft deep) or up to 2 inches (5 cm) deeper, and the graft union should always remain 5-7.5 cm (2-3 inches) above the soil line. Deep planting, especially in nectarines, will lead to problems like reduced-sized plant canopy. When placing the tree in the hole (1.5 X 1.5 feet or 45 X 45 cm wide), you are advised to spread the roots out in all directions and cover them with plenty of surface soil. When adding the soil, we must press it gently until the complete filling of the pits to avoid causing damage to the young and sensitive root system. After planting, it is best to irrigate. If no pre-planting fertilization application has occurred, the growers can apply 60-113 g (0.13-0.25 pounds) of a nitrogen-rich fertilizer per tree and 90 cm (3 feet) far from the tree trunk. Alternatively, we can use 230 g (0.5 pounds) per tree of a 10-10-10 fertilizer. 

The producers generally plant peach trees in quadrangles, rectangular, parallelograms, or rows. The distances and the model of a planting depend on various parameters. The most important of them are the trees’ variety and training system. Climate and soil conditions are also crucial. 

As for plant distances, we have many models. Different distances are suitable for different varieties, training systems, soil and climate conditions, and the producer’s final yield goals. Some commonly used distances are 24 x 18, 20 x 14 and 20 x 12 feet (or 7.3 x 5.5, 6 x 4.3, 6 x 3.7 m, respectively). On the other hand, when planted in a quadrangle, some typical distances are 20 × 20 feet (6 X 6 meters) and 18 × 18 feet (5,5 X 5,5 meters). 20 × 20 feet distances result in 109 trees per acre, or 270 trees per hectare. 18 × 18 feet distances result in 134 trees per acre or 330 trees per hectare. (1 hectare = 2.47 acres = 10,000 square meters).

The plant distances may also vary depending on the training system of the trees.

  • For the Open Vase system, producers prefer to plant young peach trees on rows at a 6 m (20 ft) distance between them and 4 m (13 ft) distance between the trees on the row. Following this pattern, they end up with 155 trees per acre (~380 trees per hectare). If there is no available irrigation (rain-fed orchards), it is best to plant the trees at greater distances, up to 25 feet or 7.6 m apart (within the row).
  • For Central Leader, they keep 5 m (16.5 ft) distance between rows and 3.5 m (12 ft) between trees. Following this pattern, they end up with 200 trees per acre (~500 trees per hectare). 
  • For Fusetto, they keep a 4 m (14 ft) distance between rows and 1.5 m (4 ft) between trees. Following this pattern, they end up with 777 trees per acre (~1,900 trees per hectare). 

Broadly speaking, the smaller the distances between the trees, the higher the yields during the first years of their lives. However, trees have a shorter production life expectancy since, as they grow, they start to compete hard with each other. This is a significant problem in peaches and nectarines, where there are still not many available and compatible dwarf rootstocks. 



Peaches Facts, Uses, Nutritional Value and Health Benefits

Peach Tree Information, Variety Selection, and Environmental Requirements

How to Grow Peaches from Seed (Stone)

Growing Peach Trees for Profit – Peach Farming Guide

Peach Tree Soil Requirements, Soil Preparation, and Planting

Propagation and Pollination of Peach trees

How to Train and Prune Peach Trees

Irrigating Peach Trees – How much Water do Peach Trees need?

Peach Tree Fertilizer Requirements

Peach yield per hectare, Harvesting methods, and Storage

Peach Pests and Diseases


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