Peach

Peaches will almost certainly need protection from frost as they blossom very early in the year, when there will still be a risk of frost in most of the UK. These delicious and somehow luxurious fruits, however, might just be worth the effort and particularly towards the south of the UK, it is definitely possible to get a worthwhile yield from a tree in your garden.

Growing peaches:

Peaches are not the easiest of fruits to cultivate in the home garden but if they are a favourite of yours then they could reward your effort. Small, dwarf, container varieties could be a good option, as a blossoming tree could be brought indoors if frost threatened. Containers should be at least 45cm wide and filled with a good quality compost. The tree should be re-potted every couple of years and you should water almost every day during the growing season to ensure the roots of a container plant do not dry out. You should also feed with a high potash fertiliser every couple of weeks. The surface of a pot should be mulches to retain moisture and spot weeds, in the same way as you should also do with a tree planted in the soil of your garden.

If you do go for a container plant, be sure that you have purchased one that will not grow too big. Dwarf varieties can be bought that will not usually exceed 1.5m in height after ten years.

Alternatively, you can purchase a fan-trained tree. It is a good idea to buy a two or three year old partially fan trained tree as this saves time and money. It should have at least eight branches. These trees need summer pruning to ensure that they stay the intended shape and that there is plenty of fruiting wood. Fruit appears almost exclusively on shoots made the previous season, to when pruning the aim is to replace fruited wood with new, young branches.

For the best crop, peach trees are best trained against a south or south west facing wall or fence. They will require a sheltered site in full sun and will need protection from frost in most of the UK. A moisture retentive and yet well-drained soil is best. Be very careful to avoid planting in a frost pocket or in a windy or exposed location.

Peach trees flower so early in the year that there will not usually be enough pollinating insects around to do the job so hand pollination – tickling each bloom with a little brush – is usually necessary.

When fruits form, care should be taken not to overwater or the fruits can split. It is also a good idea to thin the fruit to allow the best specimens space and resources to ripen and grow. Fruit is ready to pick when it feels soft near the stalk and is fully coloured. Cup fruit in the palm and gently lift and the fruit should come off easily. Peaches are best eaten straight away after they have been picked.

Why grow peaches in the garden?

Many people put in the effort to grow peaches because they are such attractive trees and have such delicious fruit. The fruit will attract birds and squirrels to your garden and in fact, you will probably have to net fruit in order to save them for yourself as they are so attractive to passing bird and animal life.

A pretty fan-trained peach tree or container variety can add a pretty air of exoticism to any sunny, sheltered garden or patio.  

Quick Facts

Latin Name
Prunus persica