Plant peaches in full sun in very well-drained soil. Semi-dwarf trees should be planted 12 feet apart, and allow 15 feet between rows. Plant with the top of the root mass just at soil level with enough soil mounded to cover the roots leaving 1 inch between the graft and the soil level.
Peach trees benefit from complete fertilizer. Feed them in fall or winter. Do not overfeed with nitrogen. Fertilizers with half as much nitrogen as phosphorus work well; Fertilizer spikes are an easy and efficient way to fertilize.
Young peach trees should be pruned hard their first year to encourage bud development. As they age, prune to develop a good strong scaffold and an open, spreading habit. Remove center sprouts and older fruiting wood on older trees. For finer details consult a good pruning book.
Disease & Pest Control
Peaches and nectarines are subject to the fungal disease Peach Leaf Curl. Insects that affect peaches and nectarines include scale, mites, and aphids, which may reduce yield and increase stress. Peach Tree Borer can kill weak and young trees. Timed preventative sprays provide the best protection against most of these pests. See a Spray Schedule for more details.
Most common varieties of peaches and nectarines are self-fertile.
Canadian Harmony – Round, firm, sweet with great texture. Ripens shortly after Red Haven in mid- to late August. Freestone. Flesh is slow to brown, so great for fresh eating and salads. Good shelf life.
Elberta – Ripens September. Large yellow, crimson splashed peach. Yellow flesh is sweet, juicy and firm. Great fresh or frozen and famous for excellent canning peach .
Frost – Early variety, ripens in July to early August. Firm sweet peaches are great fresh, canned or frozen. Reasonably resistant to leaf curl, however it still needs to be sprayed when young.
Q 1-8 – Ripens in mid- to late July. Peach leaf curl resistant. White-fleshed, sweet and juicy with spright flavor. Excellent variety for Northwest gardeners.
Red Haven – Early variety, ripens early August. Firm, sweet yellow peaches with red blush of excellent quality that are great fresh, frozen and for canning. Somewhat disease susceptible.
Reliance – Very hardy peach. Ripens in July. Medium to large size fruit with sweet, peachy flavor. Great for baking, eating, and canning.
Saturn – Ripens in July. White doughnut-type peach with the sweetest and most flavorful fruit.
Suncrest – Ripens in mid-August. Large, fine-flavored peaches have firm flesh that’s excellent for canning. Red skin and yellow flesh. Somewhat disease susceptible.
Veteran – Ripens in late August. Golden-yellow skin with slight red blush. Great for fresh eating and canning. One of the easiest varieties of peach to grow.
Fantasia – A popular large yellow free-stone variety. Ripens late July into August. Early harvest of firm ripe and tangy fruit; later harvest gives you sweet fruit with rich flavor. Self-fertile; consistent yields.
Flavortop Nectarine – Ripens Mid July. Large red skinned free stone fruit is firm and juicy with an excellent sweet flavor, said to be supreme for pies and cobblers.
Hardy Red – Produces red over yellow fruit in early to mid August. Sweet, firm yellow flesh is great fresh, in desserts or for canning and perserves. Vigorous and productive.
Sunglo – Ripens in early August. Large, 3 inch, smooth skinned high quality fruit with red over golden yellow skin. Meaty, juicy, deep yellow, sweet flesh. Great for freezing, canning or fresh eating. Freestone.
Download a complete information sheet on peaches and nectarines, including varieties