Like any other fruit-bearing tree, peach trees (Prunus persica) need adequate moisture in order to perform at their best. Giving a peach tree too much water can be counterproductive, however. A peach tree's water needs also evolve during its life span. External factors, such as weather and soil conditions, also affect how much water a peach tree needs at a given moment.
Video of the Day
How to Water Peach Trees
Young peach trees need consistent watering in order to develop robust root systems. This can mean as many as 3 to 5 gallons of water per week. Peach trees need to be watered deeply, so sprinklers are not the best irrigation method. Instead, you should use a garden hose or drip.
Established trees need to be watered every two or three weeks to a depth of 3 to 6 inches. The type of soil in which a peach tree is planted can also affect its water needs. Sandy soils, for instance, call for more frequent watering, especially when peach trees are young. Heavy clay soils, on the other hand, can be watered less often. Meanwhile, dwarf peach trees grown in pots need to be watered more often than trees in the ground.
Peach trees may also need more water during hot weather or during periods of drought. You can reduce watering in late summer and fall when the tree is about to enter dormancy.
Peach Trees and Too Much Water
Giving a peach tree too much water can lead to phytophthora root and crown rot, which are fungal conditions that can kill a peach tree. Root rot results in few feeder roots and root decay. Crown rot causes decay at the base of the tree. There is no chemical control available for the fungus that causes these diseases. Always water established trees beyond the drip line as opposed to near the trunk to help avoid both root and crown rot.
Underwatered and overwatered peach trees are also more likely to develop gummosis, a fungal condition that causes sap to ooze from the trunk of the tree. The disease is caused by the fungus Botryosphaeria dothidea. Over time, it can kill individual branches or even the entire tree. Keeping the trunk of the tree dry when watering is important to preventing this disease, as is maintaining the area around the tree to be free of high weeds, which can also retain moisture that encourages the development of gummosis.
Peach Tree Site Selection
When selecting a site for your peach tree, it is essential that the soil drains well. Steep hillsides are therefore not good locations for trees. Peaches grow best in soil that has a pH of 6.5. It is therefore a good idea to conduct a soil test before planting peach trees to determine if amending the soil is necessary to achieve the right pH.
In addition to proper watering and drainage, peach trees also need ample sunlight, so it's important to choose a location that receives sun most of the day, especially in the morning. This is important because morning sun helps dew evaporate, which keeps leaves dry and prevents foliar diseases. Good air circulation is also vital to disease prevention.