How to care for a patio peach tree

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Dwarf ornamental trees, such as the dwarf peach tree, work well in patio containers and need similar care to full-size peach trees. A patio fruit tree will provide fruit in the summer. Dwarf peach trees require greater attention to watering because they cannot get water easily when potted. The trees also may need careful pruning to maintain their small size.

Select a container that is twice as wide as the tree. Place a pottery shard over the drainage hole. Fill the container one-third of the way with a high-grade potting soil.

Slip the root ball of the tree out of its container, taking care not to damage the roots. Place the root ball into the container so the top of the root ball is 2.5 cm from the rim. If the root ball does not sit at the correct height, add or subtract soil from the bottom of the container.

Fill in the space between the root ball and the sides of the container with soil. Water the tree to release any air pockets and add more soil.

Prune peach trees with a pair of pruning shears or secateurs. Remove any branches that grow inward through the canopy, branches that rub one another or any branches that grow at weak angles narrower than 90 degrees. Also remove any branches that grow near the base of the tree. These branches, known as suckers, can steal nutrients and slow the tree's development.

Check the tree daily to ensure it has adequate moisture. The soil should almost dry out between watering. Water the tree until it is as damp as a wrung-out sponge. Use a general fertiliser (10-10-10) from early spring until late summer during the flowering and fruiting season.

Thin fruit as it grows on the tree by removing peaches that grow closely together. There should be aroound 15 cm of space between fruit. Fruit that is not thinned only develops to thumbnail size and is of poor quality.

Move the tree to a sheltered location inside a greenhouse or summer house during the winter. Provide added protection by wrapping the container in newspaper. Move the tree into full sun during the spring and summer.

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