How and when to prune peach trees

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The peach tree, or by its scientific name Prunus Persica, is a tree shaped like a shrub of medium or low height. It has its origin in China, where it has been cultivated since ancient times. It was the Persians who took it and made it known in Europe. Its popularity is undoubtedly due to its fruit, the peach. With fleshy pulp, a sweet and sour flavor and a round shape, this is an inflatable fruit in any greengrocer. In this article, as you can imagine, we will talk about pruning peach tree, how and when to do it, what tools to use and much more.

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On this website we have treated plants of all kinds, depending on their characteristics, some need more pruning than others. In the case of the peach tree, it is essential that it be pruned regularly and correctly. Especially if you want to harvest its delicious fruits in spring / summer, and I bet you do. Stick around until the end of the post and you can enjoy the best fruits in the upcoming season. 😉

Note: Please note that the advice given here is general, this blog is consulted from many countries in the world, with totally different characteristics, what not all tips will be adapted in the same way in all cases. Once you finish reading the article it will be necessary to analyze all the information and apply what you have learned in the best way. If you have any questions, remember that you can contact us to make your inquiries.

1. How to care your peach tree

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As we just said, pruning this fruit is essential, but it is not the only important task to keep it healthy and strong. Here’s a quick look at what other care you should take on your peach tree.

  • Location: At the time of transplant, you should select a location that has good exposure to sunlight. It is also important that you have good air circulation.
  • Transplantation: depending on the characteristics of the climate, should be carried out in the fall or winter. Always make a hole big enough for the roots to spread comfortably.
Peach fruit
Peach fruit
  • Temperature: it is very resistant to high temperatures. To have good fruit harvests, it is very important that you are exposed to several cold hours (temperatures below 7 ° C) during the winter.
  • Soil: it does not develop correctly in calcareous or clayey soils, it prefers light ones with good performance and a good amount of organic matter.
  • Irrigation: during the development season (spring / summer) you need large amounts of water. Two irrigations per week are sufficient, being this abundant but without flooding the soil. Obviously the amounts of water contributed will go hand in hand with the rain.
  • Fertilization: what you need most are nitrogen inputs. That is why it is good to carry out a nitrogen-based fertilization in early spring, this will give us a better flowering.
  • Pests: There are many pests that can attack a peach tree. Among the easiest to find are aphids and mealybugs. Regular monitoring is essential to take these pests on time, otherwise we might be too late with the cure as we have produced irreversible damage.
  • Pruning: Performed periodically and correctly, pruning is an excellent technique both to accelerate production and to extend the life of the fruit. We will develop this point in depth in the following sections.

2. Tools needed to prune or trim an peach tree

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As with all fruits, there are several tools you will need to carry out your pruning or trimming. Each of them appropriate for different cases depending on the age of the peach tree, the time of year, type of pruning etc.

  • Pruning shears.
  • Handsaw
  • Chainsaw.
  • Ladder or scaffolding.
  • Basic safety elements such as helmet and gloves.

Keep in mind that you must disinfect all cutting tools before pruning. This will help to avoid transmitting diseases, you will have to do it before you start pruning and every time you change plants.

2.1 Needed care of pruning tools

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If you want to extend the useful life of your pruning tools there are some basic care.

  • Use the right tool for a job and avoid twisting or straining it.
  • Clean and oil tools regularly by wiping an oily cloth on blades and other surfaces.
  • Keep cutting edges sharp by regularly using an oilstone.
  • You must keep the wooden handles of all tools properly varnished

Carry out the previous care on a regular basis and you will be saving good money on tools. 🙂

You may also be interested in knowing about pruning:

3. Why to prune peach tree

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Although the main reason for pruning the peach tree is to improve the production of its fruit, both in quality and quantity, this is not the only reason. We can mention the following:

  • Maintain good health on the tree.
  • Limit the growth of the plant.
  • Attenuate the alternations in production.
  • Improves air circulation within the foliage.
  • Helps the penetration of light into the foliage.
  • Increase flowering.
  • Accelerate the start of production in young peach trees.
  • Increase the quantity and quality of the fruit.
  • Maximize the use of space.

In order to achieve all the objectives just mentioned, it is essential not only to perform a correct pruning, but also to select the appropriate peach variety. Since it will not be worth anything to perform the perfect pruning, if the variety of peach does not adapt to the place where you have planted it, either by type of soil, climate, available space, etc.

4. How to prune peach tree

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To carry out an in-depth and orderly analysis on pruning the peach tree, we will divide this section into four sub sections, which will be based on the types of pruning, these are:

  • Training.
  • Production pruning.
  • Pruning in summer.
  • Rejuvenation pruning.
Pruning peach tree
Pruning peach trees

4.1 Training – Pruning young peach trees

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Training pruning is carried out on the young plant to guide its development, it is carried out during the first four years from planting, until the crown has the desired shape.

Depending on the selected driving system, the formation of the durazenero will vary. There are many driving systems, in this post we will discuss two of the most popular, the open vase system and the center axle system.

4.1.1 Open vase system

We started with this system, since it is undoubtedly the most used to form almost any variety of peach. It consists of a structure of 3 or 4 main branches. On these will rest the entire structure of the plant.

Once transplanted (generally in winter), the first pruning must be carried out, cutting the entire plant at a height of between 50-75 cm from the ground.

In the following spring, the plant will begin to develop its first branches, from them you must select the main branches.

In the first instance, it is advisable to leave more than three main branches, since if for some reason one suffers damage, another can replace it. On the other hand, these branches must be equidistantly separated, so that the loads are better distributed on the fruit tree.

In the second spring, with the main branches well defined, new branches will develop from them, which will be the secondary branches. These will be responsible for producing the first fruits in the following years.

This system is not very efficient in the use of space. That is why it is recommended in peaches planted in the garden, but not in intensive plantations where it is important to optimize the use of space.

4.1.2 Center axle system

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Unlike the open vase system, where the entire structure of the plant was supported by the main branches, in the central axis system its central trunk is the main support of the plant.

4.1.2.1 How is a central axis made?

In principle, the one-year-old plant should be transplanted, this can be during the fall or winter, in principle let the plant develop freely. You should only prune all the twigs that appear in the first 50 cm of the ground.

After a year, in your second winter, do the following:

  • Remove all branches again within the first 50 cm.
  • Select between 3 or 4 branches, which will be responsible for forming the first floor of the branches. Also cut all unselected branches.
  • Using threads or wires and stakes, open the 3 or 4 branches, looking for their horizontality.
  • In case you notice that the shaft is too vigorous, it should be cut. This in order to give more energy to the branches of the first floor.

In the 3 years that will continue in the formation of the peach, you must continue pruning as follows:

  • Verify the development of the axis. It may happen that in the following years it develops very vigorously, so, as we said before, it must be cut. But the opposite may happen, i.e. a shaft with little force, in that case it may be necessary to consider switching to an open vase system.
  • Keep the branches of the first floor open.
  • During these first years you will have to build a new branch floor. On the first floor, 1 meter away, select 2 or 3 branches to build the second floor. This will allow increasing production, while controlling the growth of the axis.

When the plant enters its fourth year of age, the shape should already be well defined, the prunings to come will already be for maintenance and cleaning. You should never forget to control the axis development.

4.2 Production pruning

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Once the peach tree is properly formed and with the start of production, that is when production pruning will begin. This pruning seeks to meet several objectives:

  • Maintain a vegetative balance in the plant, something essential for good production.
  • Maintain the structure formed in the first years.
  • Carry out a renewal of the vegetative organs of the fruit tree.
  • Ensure better lighting and air circulation within the foliage.

As the formation of fruit shoots is less in the first years, it is recommended to leave the plant with more vegetation. With this, a good development is sought, hand in hand with good productions.

Taking into account that the peach tree produces most of its fruits in mixed bouquets of 1 year (twig of no more than 30 cm), the production pruning will be carried out especially in this type of branches.

The following tips can be followed:

  • Make a thinning of mixed bouquets, eliminating at least half of them. This will remove the burden of the peach, thus improving the size of the fruit.
  • Carry out the renovation of the mixed bouquets. Since the first buds are made of wood, if you cut one of these buds flush, you will have a new mixed bouquet the following year ready to produce.

During the production pruning of your peach tree you can also do a pruning cleaning. Therein all branches dry and / or diseased and pacifiers, branches that develop in the wrong direction are cut, etc.

4.3 Pruning in summer

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A key point for the peach to produce good fruits, regardless of the formation system, is to guarantee good lighting for the fruits that are inside the foliage. This will ensure better color and maturation.

A good practice to improve the lighting of the fruit is to prune the peach tree during the summer. In this pruning, what will be carried out is exclusively the elimination of suckers, that is, those vigorous and unproductive branches. If this pruning is done early, weeks before harvest, it will not only help with better lighting but will also redirect energy to the fruit.

Pruning in summer
Pruning in summer

Many producers forget to carry out this pruning, eliminating shoots in winter pruning. They do this without taking into account the great benefits of cutting these branches to improve production.

4.4 Rejuvenation pruning (old peach tree)

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When the peach tree is several years old, it begins to noticeably reduce its number of fruits and its size. At that time, a strong pruning can be performed seeking to restore its vigor. This pruning is known as rejuvenation or regeneration pruning.

The way to carry out this pruning is to eliminate thick old branches, cutting them not flush but to a few centimeters, this will facilitate the emission of new replacement shoots, to continue the production of fruit.

It should be noted that this pruning should be used as a last resort, as it often cannot respond well to drastic pruning. In addition, there are many experts who do not recommend this pruning on branches with a diameter greater than 10 cm, opting for a replacement of the fruit.

Finally, thick pruning cuts should be painted with special pruning paste. Thus, it prevents the attacks of diseases and fungi.

5. When to prune peach tree

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The right time to prune this fruit tree is totally related to the type of pruning to be performed. In general, we can divide between pruning to be done in winter and pruning to be done in summer.

For example, formation pruning should be carried out when the plant is not developing, that is, during the fall / winter. The same is true of production pruning and rejuvenation. In extremely cold climates, these prunings can be delayed during the last days of winter or early spring.

As we saw in section 4.3, there is a pruning of the peach tree that must be done during the summer. Also known as green pruning, it can be done from late spring to mid-summer. Always keeping in mind that it is better to do it weeks before the harvest.

6. Video about pruning peach tree

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As usual in this blog, we will end the article with a video. For this case, we have selected one of the OKGardeningClassics channels, it is very complete, so I recommend that you review it, I assure you that it will be of great help.

https://youtu.be/LqYzoqHkZNI

So far the item has arrived, I hope it has been helpful and you are clear on how and when you should prune your peach plant, otherwise feel free to contact us.

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