Growing and caring for a fruit tree isn't always easy. For example, if you have a peach tree in your garden and it's beginning to produce peaches, are you supposed to remove them? Is it better to let each fruit grow to full size, or should you thin out the peach tree while it's young?
Luckily, we've done plenty of research and have the answer below!
Although seeing the first pieces of fruit on a peach tree is exciting, removing them for the first two to three years is best. During this time, your tree needs to conserve energy and send it to its root system.
Furthermore, you want to remove fruit from your tree and focus on having it become stronger structurally so that after year three, it can yield bountiful harvests.
As we start this post, we will cover all things peach trees and discuss how to manage one. Whether you recently started seeing peaches on your tree, haven't had much blooming, or need other help, we've got your back. With that said, let's dive right into this topic!
Should You Remove Fruit From Younger Peach Trees?
Yes, it can be beneficial to remove the fruit from younger peach trees. Even though seeing fruit can be exciting, your tree won't be able to sustain multiple blooms and grow properly.
A peach tree needs to develop a strong root system and structure during the first few years. When peaches begin forming, your tree will shift its focus to them.
Although that usually is fine, between years one and three, you don't want your peach tree focusing on anything but development—not fruit production.
If your tree spends too much of its time and energy trying to produce fruit, this is when you can run into issues down the road. Removing perfectly growing fruit is difficult, but long-term, your tree will do better if you do this.
According to experts, the best idea is to wait and see which blossoms set fruit and then remove the fruit rather than the flowers.
Then, you can enjoy the flowers on your younger peach tree and wait until year four to have a full harvest of ripe, delicious peaches.
How Soon Should A Peach Tree Produce Fruit?
A peach tree will usually begin producing fruit around year three or four. Of course, that's not to say one can't make a few peaches in the second year, all of which you should remove from your tree.
As we said, your tree can't produce peaches and grow early on because it doesn't have a strong enough root system or structure.
Unlike a mature tree that can sustain the energy for fruit production and physical growth, a younger peach tree has to focus on one or the other.
And in this case, you want that focus to be on the roots and structure of the tree. A peach tree needs to be big enough to hold fruit, whether it's many or a few.
Small peach trees may not have strong enough branches for peach development, causing damage to them. You might also find that people call this tree "thinning," which applies to removing the fruit from your pre-mature plant.
However, we do not recommend pruning the branches or foliage on a young peach tree, as this can stunt it. Cutting back growing branches won't help your plant mature, so focus only on the fruit.
How Many Peaches Should A Peach Tree Produce Per Year?
Once your tree becomes old enough to make fruit (around three to four), it should yield four to six bushels of fruit annually. Of course, this depends on the health of your peach tree, so some people may see more or less.
Young peach trees won't produce many or any peaches in the first couple of years. Especially if you grow your tree by seed, you can expect it to take at least three years before being able to harvest.
On top of that, dwarf peach trees will produce one to two bushels of fruit annually once they reach three or four years old, so smaller trees make fewer peaches.
That's because a smaller peach tree may only reach five to seven feet tall, while a regular-sized variety will grow between 10-15 feet tall.
According to experts, a mature peach tree will make between 120-150 pounds of fruit each year, so this can become quite a lot to handle with multiple peach trees.
Of course, fruit trees take a few years to ramp up production, usually hitting their peak around year 10. The bigger and stronger your peach tree, the more peaches will grow and be ready for harvesting.
Should I Prune My Peach Tree While It's Young?
In general, you don't want to prune a young peach tree. Since your plant is becoming strong enough to sustain fruit in its later years, the first three are crucial.
For example, you might want to prune off the peaches from a young peach tree, but that should be the end of it. Cutting back the branches will do more harm than good to a young, growing peach tree, so keep yours unbothered.
If you over-prune a young peach tree, this can stunt its growth, causing problems with fruit production. These delays can cause your tree to not produce fruit until longer than three to four years, which is frustrating for growers.
If you need to prune a younger peach tree, try and focus, so the lowest branch of the plant is 15 inches (38 cm) from the ground.
It's better to have your pruning focus on the bottom of your tree or any shoots blocking the sun from hitting the main trunk of your plant.
How Fast Does A Peach Tree Usually Grow?
Although this growth rate can fluctuate, your peach tree should grow between 12 and 24 inches per year. For your tree to make fruit, it needs to grow about one foot annually.
According to garden pros, the average peach tree will grow around 18 inches per year, about a foot and a half. This seems to be the most common growth rate of peach trees, although it's certainly possible to see two feet.
It's also worth mentioning that your peach tree will grow faster in its first few years. This is because your tree can solely focus on developing its root system and physical structure before being big enough for fruiting.
Think of the first few years of your tree as the foundation of its maturity. You'll notice better peach production if you allow your tree to grow strong between years one and three.
You also want to ensure your young peach tree gets plenty of nutrients, sun, and water in those first years to encourage faster growth.
Fertilizing your tree during its first few years in the early spring can also be helpful.
How Tall Should A Two-Year-Old Peach Tree Be?
Once your tree has grown for two years, it should be between three and four feet tall. Generally, two-year-old peach trees will be roughly four feet tall, averaging two feet yearly.
Many gardeners grow their peach trees from seed, which will also take more patience. Unlike purchasing a semi-grown peach tree from the store, growing one from seed requires extra time.
It takes four years to see a peach tree seed grow into a fruit-bearing tree, so that is a while to wait for fruit. However, you will start to see your peach tree take its shape in years one and two, which can be exciting for people to watch.
Additionally, purchasing a pre-grown peach tree from the store (one around one or two years old) should only cost around $75-100.
Waiting so long for fruit isn't for anyone, so don't be afraid to skip the wait and opt for a pre-grown peach tree instead.
Belle of Georgia Peach - Live Fruit Tree
This peach tree comes grown three to four feet tall, is best suited for USDA zones 5-8, requires moderate watering, weighs four pounds, comes with a 30-day guarantee, and does not ship to those in California.
Can I Make My Peach Tree Grow Faster?
Yes! If your peach tree isn't growing fast enough, there are ways to fix it. Most times, you want to begin with a natural organic fertilizer at the start of spring.
Applying a bit of plant food to your peach tree in the spring will encourage it to grow faster into the summer and fall. For a younger plant, this can make a huge difference.
Additionally, removing fruit from younger trees is a good idea to encourage faster development. As we said, this mainly happens during years one to three.
Light pruning towards the bottom portion of a peach tree can also help conserve energy for fruit production and growth, so there are a few things to consider.
Many professionals also suggest giving younger peach trees plenty of water. You also don't want other plants or grass too close to a growing peach tree because they can fight for soil nutrients, water, oxygen, and space.
Mulching is one more thing to do for your peach tree to promote better growth. As long as you implement these steps, your tree should flourish.
To Wrap It Up
Whether you have a peach tree or want to plant one, it's always good to understand how to care for one in its younger years. We found that you should remove fruit from younger peach trees for the first few years.
Specifically, you want to wait until the flowers bloom and see which ones become fruit. From there, remove the fruit blossoms and let your tree focus on its maturity and root system.
Around year four is when your peach tree should be large enough to sustain fruit and be able to continue growing and fruiting without issues.
Want to check out more garden posts? Here are some articles we have below: