How to Prune Young Peach Tree

bluesky204March 16, 2013

Hello everyone, I bought a young peach tree last year and I need to prune it this spring. This is my first backyard fruit tree so I am cluless what I need to do. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Also, there is a branch coming off the lowest section of the main trunk but it does not have any bud (first pic), I want it to develop into a main scaffold but will it grow without any bud? should I just prune that as well? thanks!

left scaffold branch

right scaffold branch

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It seems that your peach tree will bloom in a few weeks. I prune my peach trees in half April so I think that you should wait :)

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 6:31AM
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thanks Plant, so which brand should I prune and which should I keep?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 4:41PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)


It's tough to recommend pruning without knowing your goals (i.e do you want to train your tree tall for baffling against squirrels, vs. short and open-centered).

I will say it may be a concern your peach tree is planted next to the deck wall, which could be blocking some of the sun. This may be why your tree is lacking in vigor.

You might consider growing your tree above the deck so it can get more sun. If that sounds like something you want to try, you could keep one branch of the "Y" and remove the other. Or since you don't have much wood and have a lot of fruit buds on the wood you have, you may want to wait until after harvest to prune.

When it's time to thin, make sure you thin enough. A tree that size low in vigor can probably only support about 5 fruit.

If you do decide to prune, you can prune at any time this time of the year. But the bottom line is your tree hasn't put on enough growth to worry about pruning anything at this point.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 7:33PM
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Thanks Olpea, yea I planted my tree late last summer that's why it never had chance to develop. I will leave it alone so it can put on some growth this year.

If I remove one branch of the "Y", wouldn't that destroy overall shape of the tree? I thought we need to train the tree to wine glass/ tulip shape?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 10:33AM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

"If I remove one branch of the "Y", wouldn't that destroy overall shape of the tree? I thought we need to train the tree to wine glass/ tulip shape?"


That's the shape I like best and grow all my peach trees to an "open vase".

I was really just brainstorming on how you might prune your peach tree. I've never tried to grow a peach next to a wall and I assumed yours may not be getting enough sun (partly because of the wall and partly because of the lack of vigor in the tree). My idea was to grow your trunk really tall (above the deck fence) before the tree is allowed to branch out, so all the foliage would be above the deck wall in full sun.

Now that I understand your tree was planted in late summer, that's probably normal amount of growth and your tree may well be getting enough sun behind the deck wall. In that case, you could train it to a typical low vase/open-center tree and keep both branches of the "Y".

You might want to train more of the tree's structure away from the deck fence. It makes for a lop-sided tree, but I've done it for some of my trees planted close to property lines in my backyard.

One last thing, if you are going to train the tree to a low open-center, I'd probably pull the two branches of the "Y" down a little bit. Just take a couple clothes hangers, straighten them out and push them in the ground as far as you can (these will be anchors). Then bend the two branches down some (but not so far that they break) and tie the the branches down with some string.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 11:29AM
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alan haigh

The Japanese often use a Y, Y shape where two primary scaffolds pointed in opposite directions quickly split into two branches apiece. This makes it easier to fully exploit the area with fruit bearing wood coming off tertiary branches. Just two scaffolds is great for trees in rows fairly closely spaced but it will take more time to fill in and a bit more work if you are planning for trees to fill in a 15' diam. circle. This is often the case with peaches I manage.

I often have larger trees runt out like this one did when transplanting- especially if they don't have ample water throughout the growing season or if there is serious root competition from better established trees. If you are patient and don't let the tree fruit at all you are more likely to be rewarded this year with vigorous growth.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 1:43PM
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yea thanks Olpea, now I see why you asked me to remove one branch of Y. My tree faces an open backyard on the other side so sun is not a problem.

it's interesting to see my tree has this Y,Y shape, I think I will remove all the flower buds so the tree can focus on vegetative growth this year

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 8:48PM
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What would happen if you let it bloom and then just afterward, knocked off the tiny fruits? Peach flowers are so pretty.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 2:54PM
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