When to prune peaches

mes111(5b -Purling NY & 7b -Nassau County NY)August 15, 2014

My peach and nectarine trees are very young, bare root planted in 2012. They put on nice growth last year but, this year their growth just exploded.

Some new growth is 42 inches and its only mid-august. Only Saturn peach and Hardired Nectarine really fruited this year. All fruit has been or picked.

This years growth needs to be pruned back by 50%. Should I do it now or leave it until next spring?


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goodground(z6 NJ)

I have always heard that you can prune peach trees anytime. I pruned my tree heavily last week to allow sun to the fruit. If you have no reason to prune you can wait till spring to avoid any winter damage. Good practice is to prune during dry conditions.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 4:46PM
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Bradybb WA-Zone8

I prune mine in the Summer to mostly control the height and early Spring for removal of wood that is clearer to see that may be growing inward,crossing or possibly will shade or be shaded. Brady

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 8:30PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)


My peach trees grow the same way.

The problem you get into, if you don't summer prune, is that the shoots die out in the lower part of the canopy, effectively moving your fruiting zone up. Peach leaves need a lot of light or they die, more so than most other fruit trees. Sometimes the heavily shaded shoots will die over the winter.

That said, I don't think I would do any extremely heavy pruning at this late juncture (at least in my latitude). I might cut out some water spouts to open the tree up (and possibly save some of the lower growth).

I'd like to have most of the heavy summer pruning by July 1st. The regrowth you get will fill back in the areas which needed to be heavily pruned, and will still have time to form flower buds. In reality, I never get all my pruning done by July 1st. This year it was sometime around the 1st of Aug. till the summer pruning was done.

We summer pruned the peach trees at the farm 2X this season. Some trees at the house required 3 summer prunings because they had little or no crop, which added to their vigor. Some peach trees seem to be more vigorous than others. Flat Wonderful is extremely vigorous, as well as some others.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 11:53PM
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alan haigh

I have pruned mine in Sept, before reading that there is some hazard in doing so in terms of winter damage- I got away with it. I expect that if the trees are still growing vigorously, summer pruning won't affect winter hardening but I'd be reluctant to prune the trees in 5 beyond the time that Olpea's excellent pointers included.

I am still pruning my trees to help the crop ripen and to keep brown rot at bay. I am also cutting out water sprouts from nursery peach trees. It is a crazy vigorous growing year and in many apple varieties the terminal buds haven't set, which is unprecedented in my experience here.

It is interesting that the old book that Olpea and Scott brought my attention to about Kansas peach production suggested late summer pruning of peaches to increase their cold tolerance. Hard to believe it can be all that hard on them if this was the recommendation for a long period of time.

Of course, young trees are likely to be more tender, but I'd rather slightly risk the tree than surrender the trees shape.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 6:28AM
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mes111(5b -Purling NY & 7b -Nassau County NY)

Thanx guys...

As I am trying to grow my peaches as espalier/fans I can't take the chance of the lower limbs checking out.

So I will be playing barber today.


    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 1:20PM
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alan haigh

In NY, standard time to annually prune espaliers is between mid July to Mid Aug so your are close enough, especially on a year with a late spring like this one.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 8:45PM
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