Should I prune this bareroot peach

fishacuraApril 13, 2008

Hi. Just wondering for those of you who had bareroot planting experience if I could solicit a little advice.

I planted a Harmony Peach tree yesterday. Attached is a link to a pic. I also looked up pruning instructions which made it seem as if I should prune a bunch of this down to really 4 or so main branches. Wish I could find that site again!!! Anyway, the tree looks healthy and all the branches shown have buds on them. Do I need to prune this at all?


Here is a link that might be useful:

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The most important part is what's not in the photo. Bare-root trees are often harvested with an undercut attachment on a tractor, a U-shaped digger that cuts the roots so the tree can be pulled up. If the roots were severly whacked, the top part of the tree is unbalanced with them and you should prune some branches off.

You may not see much growth this year as the tree will spend a lot of energy re-growing those roots.


    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 10:54AM
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You are very correct! The roots were very minimal. So based on that you're seeing, I should prune the top way back then?

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 11:38AM
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Well... you did ask.
If it were my tree, I'd prune it mercilessly. I'd cut the main trunk leaving the lower 8 branches. Yes, more than half the tree would go. Then I'd cut those remaining 8 branches back to a couple of buds each, paying attention to which way the buds are pointing. In years to come, most of these remaining 8 branches may go too, but at this point I don't know for sure which ones will be "keepers".
What I don't like about this tree is that all the lower branches have been removed. I would have preferred to keep them and branch the tree starting about at knee level. Also, peach trees often get "whippy" branches that are incapable of supporting fruit. I usually cut these way back so that fruit develops where it can be supported.
If you did prune like this, and I'm not suggesting that you do, vigorous green, leafy growth will follow. But it would give you the opportunity to mold the tree into a low-branching, vase-shaped, strong-limbed, spreading tree. That's the long term goal. Look at professionally grown trees. They're branched down low with only 2, 3 or 4 branches off the main trunk.
Anyway, I'm no pro so take my words with caution.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 11:43AM
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I have a question along a similar line. I bought a bare root nectarine which is to grow in a pot (it's dwarf). Anyway, I pruned it to 5 of the sturdiest looking branches, it bloomed beautifully, and now is covered with leaves and about 25 fruits have set. Now, I cannot imagine that this little tree would be able to support the weight of 25 fruits by the season, which around here is late July, early August I believe.

So, what do I do? Do I remove all the fruits so that the tree can put it's energy this year into growing strong? Should I remove some and look to have a few fruits off my baby tree? Or will the tree itself drop that which it can't really support?

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 3:12PM
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tcstoehr...thanks! I suppose until you prune something "mercilously" you'll always be a little shy. So I went to town earlier today...when I have a great little tree in a few years, I'll never be afraid again I am sure!@

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 7:19PM
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Fishacure, I am new to pruning fruit trees too and I have done lots and lots of study reading online and books and online pictures and videos and vhs videos. I did all of that and I was still afraid that I was going to screw things up until I realized there is no perfect way to do but the tree will grow and be forgiving and that the only important thing is that you do it and learn from it.

This is a Florida Prince Peach Tree that looked very much like your tree before I started. Six weeks ago I headed off the central leader at 24 inches leaving only one branch.

Next year I will have four nice scaffolds started and a beautiful peach tree producing lots of fruit the year after.

My advice is to cut that baby down to 24"-36" and watch her grow.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 8:57PM
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goodground(z6 NJ)

I would definately cut it back. You have enough branches where you should be able to select 4 scaffold branches to shape like an X. Pruning to an open center is good for air and sun. Cut it back to your desired height where you'll get 4 branches facing different directions. After cutting it down to 4, cut the main 4 back a little to encourage outward growth.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 10:25PM
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That's just some great artwork! Thanks for the overhead pix. Helps me out a lot!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 2:07PM
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