Advice on Pruning Newly Planted Peach Tree

antlers(IL Zone 5)May 19, 2012

Received a bareroot peach tree this Spring which I planted in a pot. Semi-dwarf Flat Wonderful. Basically it was one long stem of pretty thick caliper with two short lateral branches coming off of it. I planted it as received. Here is a photo of it now. It has new growth on the existing laterals as well as initiating three new scaffolds from the main stem. The scaffolds all have good angles and are spaced around the tree. Here is my perceived dilemma. The branches are all too high for my liking. The lowest scaffold branch is 30 inches from the soil. Do I take it now and whack it off at say 24 inches and pray I get new lateral development below that as you would with a new whip? This trunk is pretty thick for a new tree and I'm afraid I might not get new growth where I want it after cutting off the healthy growth that currently exists. Maybe it just looks to tall since I have it in a pot until I can find a permanent home for it. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Gee. I would probably wait til next year and whack it off at knee high then. I got a cherry this year that was pretty much the identical shape and that is my plan for it. If you chop it now the tree will not grow well this year, so based on my experience its best to just leave it alone this year and let it get established. If in the future you get such a tree as a dormant tree chop it at knee height immediately at planting.


    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 10:18PM
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antlers(IL Zone 5)

Thanks Scott, The only reason I planted it as it was delivered is because it was supposed to have been "pre-pruned" and ready for planting.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 9:43AM
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alan haigh

You can't really do that with peach trees as it may kill it. Only new wood can be counted on to generate new buds next year.

The tree was trained to be an open center from close to the ground. If you have squirrels or coons (and no adequate chase dog) and don't plan an electric fence you may want to tape up a branch to grow vertical so you can start your scaffolds at about 4'.

This will allow you to attach something to the trunk which will prevent these animals from getting up the tree.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 10:47AM
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