Summer pruning peach and plum trees?

dhmeridian1August 11, 2012

I have some assorted peach, plum and apricot trees which I have pruned pretty hard in Feb for the last 3 years to build scaffold. I would like to keep the trees to a reachable height. I am wondering if it is OK to cut back the tall vigorous growth this late in the summer. These new shoots are about 8' long now and in north Florida we still have 3 months of growing season. If I cut back now Aug 11, new shoots will emerge and surely be pencil size in December when they start to go dormant, but will the fruit buds on those shoots have had enough time to mature to be viable fruit buds in the spring?

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franktank232(z5 WI)

Just my opinion (no research backing it up), but I would imagine in N Florida you could prune year round.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 5:51PM
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Dzitmoidonc(6)

Stone fruit should be pruned when they are growing. That means anytime after the branches get sap in the spring. This is so that the tree can heal as fast as possible to prevent any more fungal infections than it will get anyway.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 10:33PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I do much of my peach pruning in the summer, it is hard to keep them the right height otherwise. Don't forget thinning cuts to get the density of leaves lower as well. If your new shoots are 8' it sounds like you also may want to cut back on fertilization.

Scott

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 8:04PM
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alan haigh

That looks like a pretty extensive mulched area- really pumps up the vigor. How come you didn't fruit them this year, they certainly look like they were big enough. If they did bear good crops than you definitely need to think about how to ratchet down that growth. One way is several prunings during summer, although when trees are in fruit you have to be careful not to prune too much to where you cut down on sweetness of fruit.

You should certainly prune all your most vigorous uprights ASAP as well as 2-year wood higher in the tree than you want fruit. I don't think you have to worry about when you prune there and I'm confident it's OK now.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 5:46AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

New wood that regrows now will not likely have viable fruit buds for next year. But don't let that stop you from removing about 50% of the current wood. The fruit will be on the 50% that is left. I'd open the center and shorten the remainder to outward growing buds or shoots. There will still be enough fruiting wood to require heavy thinning next spring.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 11:07AM
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capoman(5a)

Agree. Pruning in summer has a stunting effect, which in your case may be exactly what you want.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 4:21PM
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dhmeridian1

Thanks for your input, I'll cut them back 50% when it quits raining. It's rained about every day for the last month here.
Cut back the plums the same?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 8:01PM
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