If you want to learn how to trim a peach tree, then keep on reading, as I will be discussing the details in this article.
Peach trees are adored for their good looks and the production of sweet-tasting peaches. It is a very popular tree in the U.S and it is a gardener’s favorite.
To promote good peach tree health and healthy fruit production, you need to regularly trim your tree.
Why You Should Prune Your Peach Tree
Besides regular fertilization and pest control, pruning your peach tree is also essential to its health and growth.
Without regular pruning, your peach tree will be left at the mercy of pests and diseases. This will also lead to a shorter lifespan and a production of too many fruits (which will be smaller and unhealthier).
Pruning off dead or decayed branches will allow the tree to concentrate its energy towards stronger branches that can hold larger fruits.
You also need to prune so you can control the height and spread of the tree. This will allow you to easily harvest your peaches when they are due.
Opening up the canopy to allow penetration of sunlight and air is another reason why you need to prune your peach tree. The better sunlight and air it receives, the healthier the branches and fruits will be.
When Should You Prune?
The most suitable time of the year to prune a peach tree is early in the spring. During this time, the sap flow is very low or non-existent. Trimming your peach tree in the early spring will also reduce the risk of insect attacks and diseases.
Another advantage of pruning in the spring is that there will be less foliage to deal with. Remember, the less foliage there is, the better view you will have of the tree’s branches.
Do not prune in the winter season, as this will reduce the cold hardiness of the peach tree.
How Much Of The Peach Tree Can I Prune?
The major aim of trimming a peach tree is to remove any old, sick branches that do not bear fruit and leave behind the young fruit-bearing shoots.
You should prune about 40% of the tree per year.
How To Prune A Peach Tree
What you need to do first is to remove any old, sickened branches you find on the lower part of the trunk. These are the discolored, non-fruiting shoots. Don’t forget to leave behind the young 1-year old shoots (they are reddish so you can easily identify them).
When this is done, take a moment and observe the tree as a whole. Have a clear picture of what you want to accomplish before you start trimming. Peach trees are commonly pruned into a V-shaped form, having 3 to 5 branches that will form the vase.
You should space out these V-shaped branches as evenly as possible. The aim here is to leave the center exposed to adequate sunlight and air.
You can control the height of the tree by topping off all the branches. Do this at a height that you can easily access. By doing so, you can further maintain the tree with ease and the fruits when they are ripe.
Decide on the 3 to 5 major branches you want to retain and cut off the other large branches. As you cut, be sure to take out any branches that grow inwards, downwards, and horizontally. Remember, you are trying to maintain a V-shaped form.
Take out any other smaller shoots that grow in the above mentioned unwanted directions.
Now you that you are left with the fruiting branches, cut the red shoots down to about 24 inches at an outward-facing bud, and that’s it! Your peach tree has been properly pruned and is ready to produce healthy, juicy peaches for your consuming pleasure.
Pruning A Dwarf Peach Tree
Dwarf peaches are a lot smaller and easier to train than regular-sized peach trees, yet they still need to be properly pruned for best results.
Carry out annual dwarf peach tree pruning to maintain its size and shape. Doing this will also keep it looking good and improve its resistance to pests and diseases.
Since dwarf peach trees are small, you would not need a ladder or pole pruner to reach the branches. They are all within arm’s length.
Pruning in the spring season is best for dwarf peach trees. At this time, they would’ve finished fruiting for the season, and are resting in preparation for the next growing season.
Steps To Prune Dwarf Peach Trees
You will need a few things to prune your dwarf peach tree. These include –
- Pruning shears
Before you start, you need to make sure the blade on your cutter is well sharpened to prevent rough cuts. You will also need to sterilize them to prevent any sort of infection.
Follow these steps to prune your dwarf peach trees.
- First, you spread the tarp under the tree so the debris won’t mess up your floors
- The next step is to take out all the suckers growing from the trunk and the already established branches, as they do not contribute to fruit production. Rather, they exhaust the tree’s energy and increase the risk of pest attacks
- Clip off the suckers at the point where they are connected to the trunk or any of the main branches
- Search for any inner branches that may be crossed or rubbing against each other and cut them off at the point where they are connected to the trunk
- Look for dead or diseased limbs and trim them off, also at the point where they are connected to the trunk
- Shape the outer layer of the tree to your desired shape and size
- With your pruning shears, cut off a third of the branch length around the outer edges of the tree
- When you are done trimming, pull out the tarp from under the tree and get rid of the cut off branches and leaves
How To Prune A Flowering Peach Tree
Flowering peach trees usually have single or double blossoms. It is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful landscape plants and it thrives in the U.S hardiness zones 5 to 9.
There are different variations of the flowering peach tree. It comes in shades of red, pink, and pale pink. There are also weeping varieties that you can buy.
The flowering pink tree is similar to other spring-flowering trees, being that it blooms on wood that was grown the previous year.
Pruning in the winter would mean removing its flower buds. Trimming after it has completed blooming will give the tree enough time to generate new flowering wood.
Here’s how to trim a flowering peach tree.
First, you need to remove any old or infected branches you find on the tree. Be sure to sterilize your cutting tools to prevent the spread of diseases from one tree to the other.
Next, you trim out the less vigorous of any two branches that are crossed between each other.
For a young tree, trim the branches so that they are spaced about 18 inches apart and have an even distribution across the tree. Choose the branches that form a wide-angle as the tree’s main branches.
Trim off the branches at the lower third of the tree trunk, do this until the lowest branch to the soil is at your desired height. It is recommended that the lowest branch should be about 6 feet away from the ground.
The next step is to cut around the outside of the branch collar. This is the area where there is a slight swelling at the connecting base of the branch.
After this is done, you can trim off branches that outgrow the other branches.
Branches are important to preserve the shape of the tree, but they will grow faster if they are cut back to an outward-facing bud that is lower than the central leader (the top branch of the main trunk). Cut off the other branches at the base.
For a mature flowering peach tree, thin it periodically by cutting off the unproductive branches. This sort of thinning will encourage vigorous growth and promote better flowering.
You can cut the desired branches to an outward-facing bud or a side branch.
The last step to take is to remove the end of the longer branches of the tree which has grown larger than its appropriate space. Cut them back to a bud or side branch.
Be sure to make your cuts all around the canopy so that your tree retains its natural shape. The only difference would be its size.
You will need the following tools to execute this task –
- A pair of garden clippers
- A sharp pruning saw
- Alcohol-based sterilizer
Caution During Peach Tree Trimming
Do not cut out more than a third of a flowering peach tree’s area at once. When you cut out the first third, you have to wait for a year before you trim the rest.
With the right pruning, your peach trees will be healthy, live longer, and produce better fruits.
I hope this article on how to trim a peach tree was helpful.
Thanks for reading!