Some fruit trees can get by with little fertilizing, but the peach tree is not one of those trees. It needs all the nutrients you can supply and then some.
However, that doesn’t mean that you should fertilize your peach tree as frequently as you water it. Not even close.
Even the nutrient-hungry peach can get over-fertilized, which leads to more complications.
An established peach tree needs two fertilizer applications every year. The first application should be in the early spring at the first signs of growth to support flower and fruit development. The second dose should be in the early summer to encourage large fruits and tree growth.
When it comes to peach trees, the question is not whether to fertilize or not. Rather, it’s how often you need to fertilize and how much fertilizer to use every time.
Read more to find out how to support your peach tree’s growth and development with the right type, amount, and frequency of fertilizing.
If having a healthy and productive peach tree is your goal, then my comprehensive guide to Peach Tree Care and Maintenance is a definite must-read full of pro tips and key insights!
Fertilizing Peach Trees
Producing flowers and fruits consumes a lot of plant energy. For the peach tree, its roots have to work overtime to provide the necessary nutrients and moisture to support each year’s yield.
As the nutrients in the soil are depleted, you’ll notice that the flowers are fewer and fewer each passing year and the fruits are smaller too — unless you step in and fertilize the soil at the right time.
Why Fertilizer Is Important
Fertilizer is food for plants. The tree transforms the nutrients into plant energy to replace broken branches and cover them with lush green leaves.
When it’s time to flower, the tree draws on the stored energy to grow as many flowers as it can. Then it’s time for the even more energy-consuming fruit development.
Peach fruits are high in nutrients, and the peach tree has to get those nutrients from somewhere.
Role of Nitrogen in Plants
Nitrogen is one of the macronutrients that the majority of plants need to grow. It’s usually the main building block for plants and is used to build cells in trunks, branches, and leaves.
Without nitrogen, the tree won’t be able to develop a robust root system or a strong structure to keep it standing upright. Plants need nitrogen throughout every stage of their development.
Role of Phosphorus in Plants
Phosphorus is another macronutrient that some plants need more than others. It tends to trigger larger blooms, so supplying flowering plants and fruit trees with phosphorus around bloom time is often encouraged.
Role of Potassium in Plants
Potassium is the third macronutrient of the NPK trifecta. Plants need it in lesser amounts than nitrogen even though potassium plays a major role in helping plants fight off infections and diseases.
It also accelerates the plant’s metabolism, which translates into a faster growth rate.
Correct Time To Fertilize Peach Trees
Usually, a peach tree requires at least two applications each year.
The first application is in the early spring to support the tree during the flowering and fruit development stages.
The second application is in the late spring or early summer. This one is mainly to encourage robust foliage growth and help the tree develop new shoots and branches.
A light third application can be applied after fruit harvest if desired to rebuild energy stores for the next season.
Use a balanced, complete fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, and use the recommended amounts on the package.
How Often To Fertilize Peach Trees
Peach trees need a lot of fertilizer compared to other fruit trees like apples. Peaches are highly nutritious, so it stands to reason that the tree needs plenty of fertilizer to grow that nutritious fruit.
Once it establishes, you should fertilize the peach tree twice a year. Young peach trees that haven’t started flowering and fruiting yet should only be fertilized once a year in the early spring.
Best Fertilizer for Peach Trees
The best fertilizer for peach trees is one that is balanced and has equal amounts of the three macronutrients, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
If the nitrogen releases slowly into the soil, that would be even better since it will protect the tree against the stress of sudden growth spurts and keep feeding it for a long time.
One of the best fertilizers for peach trees is TreeHelp Premium Fertilizer for Peaches. It comes with detailed instructions on how to apply it, when to apply it, and how much fertilizer to apply each time.
Nutrient Deficiency in Trees
Nutrient deficiency in trees doesn’t just stunt the tree’s growth and affect its size; it leaves the tree open to a wide variety of diseases.
A tree suffering from nutrient deficiency can’t defend itself against pest infestation and will succumb to the slightest fungal or bacterial infection.
If the tree bears fruit, then flowering and fruiting will be limited. Look for signs of nutrient deficiency in trees such as yellow leaves, small leaves, fragile branches, and stunted growth.
How To Add Nutrients To Soil Naturally
You can add nutrients to the soil naturally with organic compost and other natural materials.
Some of those materials include straw, grass clippings, compost, plant debris such as leaves and stalks, wood ashes, worm castings, and manure.
Most of these materials break down slowly in the soil and feed the plants for weeks or even months after each application. However, don’t use animal materials that could rot and attract pests.
Should You Fertilize Newly Planted Trees?
Most newly planted trees need supplemental nutrients since their root systems haven’t fully developed or become established in the soil yet.
During this period, the tree cannot draw a lot of nutrients from the soil until its rootball is fully developed. Mix organic compost and manure into the soil before planting the tree to give it a good start.
How Long Does It Take Fertilizer To Work?
Most chemical fertilizers you buy at the market are fast-release ones and will become available for the roots as soon as you apply them.
Organic materials, on the other hand, take some time to break down and will only turn into plant nutrients a few weeks after getting mixed into the soil.
If you want to give your peach tree the best possible start and keep it thriving for years to come, don’t miss these information-packed guides: