Reshaping a Peach Tree

VBeeMarch 21, 2014

Hi,
I have a mature Reliance dwarf peach tree that produced around 120 lbs of peaches that year, which was awesome. My problem is that I was very inexperienced when I initially started pruning it 6-years ago. In a nutshell, I let some upper branches grow out and shade lower branches. This caused the lower branches to grow outward to the point where the tree is probably 15 ft wide. I have been working at slowly removing upper branches to correct the shading problem over the past few years. I would really like to start some new scaffold branches so that I could eventually remove the very long ones that currently exist. I have some very vigorous waterspout that I'm wondering if I can bend down to become new scaffold branches. Anyone ever tried this?

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alan haigh

Peaches are not as cooperative of candidates for reconstruction projects as any other common fruit species, especially apples and pears- but vigorous water sprouts are just what you need to make new scaffolds.

I wouldn't spread them to fullt horizontal because, on older trees especially, this may weaken them and cause them to lose all vigor. Remove anything shading your chosen branches (watersprouts)- especially during the growing season.

Peaches can be the most difficult of species to maintain in an efficient and productive form, especially if there are any sources of stress- from over cropping to excessive competition from the roots of nearby forest trees (as well as excessive shading from their own high branches, as you mention). I can stay on top of the ones in my orchard but at sites I seldom get to they regularly get away from me.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 11:42AM
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VBee

Thanks for the reply, Harvestman. It's very helpful to have the advice of someone who's obviously had much more experience with this sort of thing than I have. I've tied a couple of the waterspouts at around 45 deg angles and concentrated most of my pruning to keeping the overall width in check, but without taking too much off. I am of course also trying to keep the shading to a minimum. -Lot's of things to keep track of.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 9:29PM
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