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When & How to Prune Peach Trees: 4 Expert Tips

pruning fruit tree with pruning shears

Pruning your peach tree correctly will not only help you get the best harvest, but it can also serve to extend the life of the tree. Pruning a peach tree is not difficult and does not need to be scary. With a little bit of knowledge, you’ll be pruning like a pro in no time!

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Basic Types of Pruning

There are two basic types of pruning when it comes to peaches: dormant and summer pruning. Each has its own benefits and should be done at different times throughout the year.

Dormant Pruning

Dormant pruning is done in the winter months when your trees are dormant and have stopped growing for the season. It is best to do this pruning during the winter months when the tree is in a state of rest and not actively growing. This will help reduce the risk of infection and disease.

Dormant pruning can be done on all types of trees and shrubs. It is also the type of pruning that is done to “shape” your tree to encourage better growth and fruit production. Dormant pruning should be done on all mature trees and is done on a yearly basis.

The reason pruning is done in the winter months is to allow the buds to rest and heal before the growing season begins again.

Summer Pruning

Summer pruning is done during the growing season when your trees are actively growing. The best time to prune your peach tree is when the tree is dormant and has finished flowering. Summer pruning is done to remove diseased and dead branches, open the canopy to let in light, and remove competing branches.

If you pruned your tree properly throughout the years and it is healthy, it will not need many summer prunings to keep it going. However, if you neglected your tree or it grew in an improper manner, you may need to do a more thorough pruning.

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The 4 Tips On When & How to Prune Peach Trees

Knowing when and how to prune peach trees is crucial for getting the most out of your orchard. Keep reading to find out more.

1. Early Spring

peach tree with blue sky background
Image By: Leena Robinson, Shutterstock

Early spring is the best time to prune your peach tree if it has been neglected or if you’ll need to make major changes to the shape and structure of your tree.

The best time to do a major pruning on a peach tree is when it is still dormant and before the growing season starts. This will give the buds enough time to rest and heal before the growing season begins again.

A neglected tree may be susceptible to disease and pests, so if you find that you have to do major pruning, it is best to tie off any broken or diseased branches to prevent pests from entering the tree.

2. Late Spring/Early Summer

Late spring through early summer is the best time to prune your mature peach trees that were pruned in early spring. At this point, your peach tree should be actively growing and not producing any new growth that could be pruned off.

If you are pruning a mature tree, be sure to prune out any dead or diseased branches while keeping the central leader of the tree intact.

But if you prune a mature tree too heavily in early spring, you may find that you are left with a very open canopy with no shade for the summer. You can remedy this by summer pruning your tree to remove any excess growth that was pruned off in early spring.

3. Mid-Summer

peach tree during summer
Image By: _Alicja_, Pixabay

Mid-summer is the best time to prune your immature peach trees that have been pruned in early spring. If you pruned your tree in early spring, by mid-summer, it should have a few new branches growing from the lower portion of the tree.

These new branches should be removed, along with any broken or diseased branches. The best way to prune a young peach tree is to prune any branch that is within 1.5 inches of another branch and prune the branch that is closest to the ground.

This will ensure that light can reach all the way to the lower branches and the trunk of the tree.

4. Late Summer/Early Fall

Late summer through early fall is the best time to prune your mature peach trees that were pruned in late spring/early summer. At this point, there should be very little new growth on your mature tree, and any excess growth can be cut off.

If you pruned your mature tree in late spring/early summer, you will want to leave some leaves on the tree. This will help protect the tree from pests and disease and will also aid in pollination.

If your mature tree has not been pruned in the last year or so, you may want to prune it more heavily.

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How to Prune Peach Trees

Peach trees need to be pruned every year to ensure good fruit production and to maintain a healthy tree. The best time to prune peach trees is in late winter or early spring before the new growth begins.

There are two main types of pruning: thinning and shaping. Thinning removes excess branches and is typically done to improve air circulation and sunlight exposure. Shaping involves removing branches to create a desired shape or form.

When pruning, always use sharp, clean tools and make sure to sterilize them between cuts. This will help prevent the spread of disease. Start by removing any dead, diseased, or damaged branches.

Next, thin out the canopy by removing some of the branches. Be sure to leave enough branches so that the tree is still well-balanced. Finally, shape the tree by pruning back any long or wayward branches.

As you prune, keep in mind that peach trees produce fruit on last year’s growth. So, be careful not to remove too much of the older branches. If you do, you may end up with fewer peaches next year.

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Pruning peach trees is essential to keeping them healthy and productive. It is important to know when and how to prune peach trees in order to get the best results. With the help of the tips above, you can keep your peach trees looking their best and yielding delicious fruit for years to come.

Featured Image Credit: ueuaphoto, Shutterstock


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