Fertilizer for peach tree

Fertilizing Peach Trees: Learn About Fertilizer For Peach Trees

Home grown peaches are a treat. And one way to ensure you get the best peaches possible from your tree is to make sure you are properly using fertilizer for peach trees. You may be wondering how to fertilize peach trees and what is the best peach tree fertilizer. Let’s take a look at the steps for fertilizing peach trees.

When to Fertilize a Peach Tree

Established peaches should be fertilized twice a year. You should be fertilizing peach trees once in the early spring and again in late spring or early summer. Using peach tree fertilizer at these times will help support the development of peach fruit.

If you have just planted a peach tree, you should fertilize the peach tree one week after you planted it and again a month and a half afterwards. This will help your peach tree to become established.

How to Fertilize Peach Trees

A good fertilizer for peach trees is one that has an even balance of the three major nutrients, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. For this reason, a good peach tree fertilizer is a 10-10-10 fertilizer, but any balanced fertilizer, such as 12-12-12 or 20-20-20, will do.

When you are fertilizing peach trees, the fertilizer shouldn’t be placed near the trunk of the tree. This can cause damage to the tree and will also prevent the nutrients from reaching the roots of the tree. Instead, fertilize your peach tree about 8-12 inches from the trunk of the tree. This will get the fertilizer out to a range where the roots can take the nutrients up without the fertilizer causing tree damage.

While fertilizing peach trees right after they are planted is recommended, they only need a small amount of fertilizer at this time. About ½ cup of fertilizer is recommended for new trees and after this add 1 pound of peach tree fertilizer per year until the tree is five years old. A mature peach tree will need only about 5 pounds of fertilizer per application.

If you find that your tree has grown particularly vigorously, you will want to cut back to only one fertilization the next year. Vigorous growth indicates that the tree is putting more energy into foliage than fruit and cutting back on fertilizer for peach trees will help to bring your tree back into balance.

Winter Maintenance of Fruit Trees

by John Dromgoole

Prevention can help control insects and disease on fruit trees. January and February (or as close to bud break as possible) are the best times to apply horticultural oils to kill hibernating insects and overwintering eggs.

Fungicides control fungal disease like leaf curl and brown rot and bacterial disease like fire blight, bacterial canker, and blossom blast. Apply several times during the growing season.

Easy prevention: Clean up debris! Remove fallen leaves and fallen fruit that harbor disease and insects like the plum curculio. Mulch. Mow nearby tall grasses. Sterilize pruning tools before moving to another tree.


  • Mineral oil: Spray in January and February (or close to bud break) to kill insect eggs and overwintering insects, including scale.
  • Wettable sulfur: Spray to control fungus, bacteria and some insects.
  • Actinovate: fungicide
  • Serenade Disease Control: fungicide
  • Organocide 3 in 1 multipurpose: controls soft bodied insects, prevents fungal diseases like black spot and powdery mildew.

To control plum curculios on plums, peaches and other fruit

  • Clean up debris! This includes any fruit that falls.
  • Spray an organic insect control at petal fall and at shuck split. Do not apply pyrethrums until flowers fall to avoid killing pollinating bees.
  • Spray a kaolin clay solution on fruit.
  • Apply nematodes to kill the weevils (beetles) in the soil.


  • Hand sprayers for just a few trees or plants
  • Pump sprayer for exact control on several plants
  • Hose-end sprayer for large areas or many plants.

Article Type: How To



  • Fruit Trees

appeared on episodes:

  • Tree Problems

Laughing Frog Farm

Your first job is make sure the tree you are getting is right for your area. The trees I sell are proven winners in the Houston, Brazos Valley and Gulf Coast area. There is a difference between a peach you would plant in downtown Houston and one you would plant in Bryan. Also citrus grown for the Rio Grande Valley will not preform well here and those are the ones you will most likely see in most chain stores. I recommend not buying from the big box stores, or from anyone that cannot tell you what rootstock the tree is on.
You can plant a container grown tree at any time during the year, but deciduous trees will find a more accepting home if planted when dormant (Dec. Jan. Feb.). Plant bare root trees immediately upon purchase. (Consequently don’t purchase them when they are not dormant).
Plant tropicals and citrus after the major chance of freeze is over.
Water your trees deeply once a week in the dry summer weather–more often if the temperatures are over 90˚.
Spread the fertilizer evenly out two feet past the drip line and not next to the trunk. DO NOT USE SYNTHETIC CHEMICALS. Ideally you should get a soil test from Texas Plant and Soil Lab, with organic suggestions. Micro-life 6-2-4 is a very good organic fertilizer for this area. Cottonseed meal is a less expensive alternative. I blend my own as per my soil report.
Top dress with a thin layer of compost and add three inches of mulch to the drip line but not touching the trunk. Mulch helps insulate the soil, aids bio-activity, decreases the amount of water you need to add, and controls weeds. It won’t stop bermuda grass, though, so you might need to lay out five or six layers of wet newspaper first. Following is a maximum amount you would need for five year old trees. Use 1/4 dose for second year trees, 1/2 for third year trees and 3/4 for the fourth year. This is for trees planted in the ground. For potted plants use one cup at the same date for 5 gallon pots, 2 cups for 10 gallon sizes and so on.
Fertilization for full sized each tree:
Apples persimmons, pomegranates, figs and stone fruit
Feb. 20 cups
April 1 and July 1 –8 cups
Blackberries and blueberries
Feb 8 cups .
May 4 cups
March 8 cups
May 4 cups
Bunch grapes
Feb 10 cups
June 4 cups
15 cups March
6 cups April, June and Aug.

How much you fertilize depends on the natural fertility of your soil and the quality of your compost. In the September and February apply five gallons of compost and re-mulch.

I spray my trees monthly with compost tea. This suppresses disease and helps with insect problems.

Spray deciduous fruit trees with organic dormant oil in Feb.
Thin stone fruits so fruits are not touching one another.

These are guidelines from a fruit grower who has grown fruit in Houston and 60 miles northwest of Houston. The timelines should be good for anyone withing 200 miles of the Gulf Coast.

Contact me by email if you have specific questions.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Nitrogen Deficiencies

Old leaves are affected.

Nitrogen is one of the major nutrients needed by plants — it is used to make chlorophyll — and it is one of the most difficult to find organic sources for. A deficiency can result in yellowing of older leaves first as nitrogen is translocated to new growth in the plant. Stunting of growth can also occur. Different types of plants exhibit different symptoms — not all plant turn yellow. Lower leaves may dry up and die.

Nitrogen deficient corn on right with normal stand on left

Nitrogen deficient lemon leaves with normal leaf on left.

Nitrogen deficient tomato leaf on left with normal on right

Nitrogen deficient peach leaves on left with normal on right

Nitrogen deficient peach tree with reddish older leaves.

Nitrogen deficient cabbage showing reddened older leaves.

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Sulfur Deficiencies

Young leaves are affected.

Sulfur deficiencies look a lot like nitrogen deficiencies however sulfur deficiency affects new growth first because sulfur does not translocate easily in the plant. Look for chlorosis (yellowing) of the veins without the new shoot tips dying back.

Sulfur deficiency in avocado leaves

Sulfur deficiency in avocado leaves showing new growth yellowing

Sulfur deficiency in peach

Sulfur deficiency in tomato leaves

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Phosphorus Deficiencies

Old leaves are affected.

Phosphorus deficiency can occur in cool weather. Notice the typical reddish cast of the older leaves on many of the plant types. The plant is stunted with short and slender stalks. Older leaves may dry up and die.

Phosphorus deficiency in apple showing reddening of leaves

Phosphorus deficiency in corn

Phosphorus deficiency in corn

Phosphorus deficiency in cucumber with older leaf yellowing.

Phosphorus deficiency in guava

Phosphorus deficiency in peach

Phosphorus deficiency in tomato showing reddened leaf underside.

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Calcium Deficiencies

Young leaves are affected. Terminal buds may die.

Calcium aids in cell wall strength in the plant. When deficient it can contribute to blossom end rot in tomatoes and corky spots in apples. Deficiencies are most common in very acid soils and can be accompanied by aluminum or manganese toxicity in the plant.

Bitter pit in apples is caused by calcium deficiency

Calcium deficient apple

Calcium deficient cucumber leaf showing curling of leaf edge.

Normal peach leaf on left. Calcium deficient leaves show necrotic (dead) spots in center before leaves dropped.

Calcium deficient peach leaves

Calcium deficient strawberry leaves

Blossom end rot in tomatoes is caused by insufficient calcium for the cell walls of the expanding fruit, caused by uneven water supply interrupting the flow of calcium.

Calcium deficient tomato leaf showing nectrotic (dead) spots near the petiole (the little stem on the leaf)

Blossom end rot on tomatoes

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Magnesium Deficiencies

Old leaves are affected. The lower leaves do not dry up but become mottled or yellow.

Magnesium can be deficient in certain soils. As with all deficiencies, it is best to have the results of a soil test and tissue test in hand before treating the symptom. Magnesium is especially hard to get out of the soil once it’s in.

Magnesium deficient cox pippen apple leaves showing purple tint and necrotic (dead) areas between the veins.

Magnesium deficient apple leaves

Magnesium deficient avocado leaves

Magnesium deficient citrus leaves

Magnesium deficient citrus leaves showing typical “V”

Magnesium deficient tomato leaf showing yellowing between the veins.

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Potassium Deficiencies

Old leaves are affected. Lower leaves do not dry up and die but become mottled or yellow.

Potassium deficiency is not usually a problem for organic growers who apply composted manure, since manure is a good source of available potassium. Potassium deficiency shows up in the edges of the leaves first.

Potassium deficient apple leaves

Potassium deficient apple leaves

Potassium deficient apple leaves

Potassium deficient citrus leaves

Potassium deficient corn

Potassium deficient peach (normal on right)

Potassium deficient black olive

Potassium deficient peach

Potassium deficient peach (normal on left)

Potassium deficient pear

Potassium deficient tomato

Potassium deficient tomato leaves. The leaf on the right shows a mild deficiency while the leaf on the left shows a more pronounced deficiency.

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Manganese Deficiencies

Young leaves are affected. The terminal buds remain alive and the new leaves are not wilted.

Manganese deficiency produces a leaf yellowing similar to zinc deficiency where the veins of the leaves remain green while the part between the veins turns yellow. There may be small necrotic (dead) spots on the leaves. In extreme cases the leaves take on a greyish purple cast.

Manganese deficient cherry leaves

Manganese deficient citrus leaves

Manganese deficient pear leaves

Manganese deficient plum leaves

Manganese deficient tomato leaf.

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Iron Deficiencies

Young leaves are affected. The terminal buds do not die back.

Iron deficiency tends to occur in high pH soil, where the pH is higher than 7.0 or in soils that are severely imbalanced. Its symptoms appear as a yellowing of the leaves in a manner similar to zinc or manganese deficiency, usually with green veins remaining.

Iron deficient apple leaves

Iron deficient cherry leaves

Iron deficient citrus leaves varying from very deficient on the left to normal on the right

Iron deficient plum branch

Iron deficient plum tree

Iron deficient tomato leaf

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Boron Deficiencies

Young leaves are affected. Terminal buds die back. Young leaves die back from the base. Leaves may be twisted.

In the mineral world they say that calcium is the trucker (in that it moves all the other minerals) but boron is the truck driver. This is apparent in the pictures of boron deficient fruits and trees. Somewhere along the line the truck has gone off the road, resulting in strange shapes, hollow or hard cores and variable leaves.
Boron is mobile in the soil and subject to leaching.

Boron deficient strawberry

Boron and calcium deficient cucumber

Boron deficient apricot fruit showing typical striations and cracking.

Boron deficient peach tree. A normal tree is shown on the right. Notice the rosette cluster of leaves at the tip of the branch, and the dieback of leaves on the branch.

Boron deficient citrus

Boron deficient apples (normal apple on right) showing deformed and stunted growth pattern.

Boron deficient citrus

Boron deficient cauliflower showing typical hollow stem. Boron deficiency can cause hollow stems in all brassicas; cabbage, brocolli, cauliflower.

Boron deficient citrus fruit showing hard centers and thickened asymmetric rinds

Boron deficient tomato leaf.

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Zinc deficiencies

Young leaves are affected. Leaf edges do not meet evenly at the base of the leaf where they meet the petiole (the little stem on the leaf).

Zinc is another element that becomes less available at higher pH’s. It can be the limiting factor in tree crops in the drier and more alkaline western US. Zinc deficiency causes a symptom called “little leaf” where new leafs are abnormally small and causes a yellowing of the leaf between the ribs, similar to manganese deficiency but with less smooth edges.

Zinc deficient citrus leaves with new leaves small, narrow and pointing upwards

Zinc deficient citrus leaf

Zinc deficient loquat

Zinc deficient peach leaves

Zinc deficient peach branch (normal branch on left)

Zinc deficient peach branch showing narrow leaves in a rosette similar to boron deficiency.

Zinc deficient pear showing “little leaf”

Extremely zinc deficient tomato leaf showing dead spots between the veins.

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Copper deficiencies

Young leaves are affected. Young leaves wilt without yellowing.

Copper compounds are often used in the orchard in organically approved sprays (and in conventional sprays) that are used to control fungal disease. It is immobile in the soil, so if copper sprays have been used in the past, it is worth doing a soil test to determine the amount of copper present. Because of its immobility, copper tends to build up and can reach toxic or at least unbalanced levels. However, some soils are deficient in copper. Before doing a soil application it is worth considering whether copper would not be better applied as a fungal disease preventative spray.

Copper deficient citrus leaves

Copper deficient peach leaves. Normal leaf on right.

Copper deficient tomato leaf

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When to Transplant Peach Trees?

Many people have fond memories of eating fresh peaches with the juice dripping off your chin. Kids especially delight in having peach trees full of ripe fruit. Perhaps you have a peach tree that needs transplanting to a better location so it will produce more fruit, or maybe you have just purchased a small peach tree. To be successful, you’ll need to take the following factors into consideration.

When to Transplant

The best time to transplant peach trees is January. The trees are still dormant from the winter, which will reduce the shock of transplantation. It will also give the roots time to get established before the growing season. While January is ideal, peach trees can be transplanted in any winter month approximately six weeks before new growth begins.

Before you plant, inspect the peach tree for signs of leaf curl–it is a fungus that can eventually kill the tree. If this is a problem, apply a fungicide recommended for leaf curl.

What to Look For

Transplant peach trees when they are at least 1 year old and preferably not after they reach 3 years old. Older peach trees do not transplant well, and younger peach trees have not established a sufficient root system before one year to withstand transplantation.

Do not purchase peach trees to transplant if they have yellow or brown leaves. This indicates a possible fungus and the trees may fail to thrive.


Loosen the roots around the root ball to encourage new growth and plant the tree on the south side of your home. Peach trees are susceptible to cold and the structure will provide protection from harsh winter winds.

The best varieties for peach trees are Golden Jubilee, Carolina Gold and June Gold. June Gold is the best variety for eating fresh; Golden Jubilee is best for canning jams and jellies or whole fruit, and Carolina Gold is best for cooking.

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