Help pruning peach trees

springtime_fl(z9 Tampa, FL)August 6, 2008

I have 2 peach trees and 1 nectarine tree that I need advice on how to prune. One peach tree is about 4 years old and we pruned it to an open center, which is what all the advice on the web said. However it had not produced very many peaches. We purchased 1 peach and 1 nectarine last summer that have leaders on them and have never been pruned. This spring they produced very well (except that the squirls got all of them!). We do not want them to grow very tall and would like to prune them. I am wondering if they produced well because they came from a better nursery or because they were not pruned? Do you prune different in Florida than the rest of the US? Thanks for any help you can give.

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billbrandi(9)

I have 2 peaches and one nectarine, like you, in Pinellas. I have always had best luck pruning my trees so that they grow up, i.e., taking off all the downward growing branches. I had a bumper crop this year-should have pinched off half the blooms-I would have had less fruit in numbers but bigger individual fruits.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2008 at 9:34PM
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springtime_fl(z9 Tampa, FL)

Thanks for the information. Do you prune to keep the branches shorter also or just take off the downward branches? Do you take the leader off the tree?

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 12:01AM
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an_ill-mannered_ache

you read this, right?
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/HS365

it may be too late to keep your older tree small, but you might consider making a radical cut this winter on the smaller trees. on my one-year old tree, i cut the trunk down to three feet. this year, i've summer pruned it into the vase shape recommended here in fla.

summer pruning is key if you want smaller trees. google "dave wilson dooryard orchard" for his detailed explanation.

the gist of that ifas pub -- peaches and nectarines bloom on one-year old wood. so, to maximize production, when you prune during the winter, remove older wood when possible. and prune so that there is a lot of "new growth" (previous season) that is strong and capable of holding fruit, and maximize the branches in that category that are around the perimeter of the canopy and within easy reach.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 7:44AM
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