ripe peaches on a tree
Updated: February 2, 2024

Watering and mulching peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, and cherries 

  • For the first five years, regular deep watering may be required to supplement rainfall. Do not let roots dry out during these establishment years. A small ridge of soil may be hoed up around each tree to prevent runoff.
  • Stone fruits are more shallow-rooted than pome fruits and so are less drought-hardy. Peaches
    are most sensitive to drought at the final swell when the fruit is rapidly increasing in size. Water
    the tree deeply at this time.
  • A 2-3 inch layer of organic mulch will help reduce weeds and help to hold in soil moisture. 

Fertilizing and thinning stone fruits

Ideal soil pH:  6.0-6.5
Year 1- fertilize with 0.80 ounces of nitrogen (N) per tree prior to planting. Do not place fertilizer in the planting hole.
Year 2 and older- broadcast 0.80 ounces of nitrogen (N) under each tree in early spring. Increase the amount applied by an additional 0.80 ounces of nitrogen (N) per year up to a maximum of 8.0 ounces per tree regardless of age.

Fruit thinning is a practice that improves fruit production and overall management of tree fruits.

Fruit Plant Care

Disease and insect pest prevention and spray schedule

(PDF) Home Fruit Disease and Pest Prevention Spray Schedule from Virginia Cooperative Extension


Allow stone fruits to ripen on the tree. Their sugar content will not increase after they are picked. Harvest fruits while still firm, however, to minimize fruit disease, especially brown rot.