Peaches are a luxurious fruit originating in the Far East and now grown throughout warm temperate regions.
How to choose Peach trees
Peaches are a luxurious fruit originating in the Far East and now grown throughout warm temperate regions. Peach trees prefer a continental climate - warm summers and cold winters.
Peach trees can be grown in northern Europe but for best results grow them as fans on a south-facing wall, or in a patio container which can be moved indoors (to an unheated room or conservatory) during winter, or - ideally - under permanent cover in a greenhouse or polytunnel.
All peaches are self-fertile - but that doesn't mean they don't need pollinating, it just means you don't need another peach tree nearby to cross-pollinate with. Pollen must still be taken from one flower to the other and since peaches flower very early in the season you can't always rely on pollinating insects to be out and about.
Whilst it is generally advisable to keep pruning of all stone fruit to a minimum, regular pruning is quite important with peaches. The main objective is to remove older wood and leave younger shoots - this is because peaches (and nectarines) fruit primarily on 1-year shoots (i.e. the shoots which grew the previous summer). The best time to prune is in spring.
If your peach tree sets a good crop in the spring then it is important to thin the fruitlets, otherwise you will end up with lots of small peaches with little flavour. It is worth being ruthless with the thinning because the flavour of home-grown peaches eaten straight from the tree is worth a bit of work!