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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Pruning Peach Trees Now Might Lead Toward Disaster

Q. Our Desert Rose peach tree is eight years old and finished harvesting for the year. We would like to know what branches, if any, we can trim now and not harm the tree or cut off all next years peaches. We have six to eight inch in length branches that come off small branches that have no leaves and appear dead, and we have other small branches that have a six to eight inch span in between leaves that we had peaches on both parts this year. We usually trim what we think is dead or excessive growth wood in January. We thinned the peaches really well, but we lost two, four to eight inch circumference branches this spring do in part to wind and the weight of the peaches. Any information you can provide is greatly appreciated.

A. I don’t know the Desert Rose peach but should be no different than the others.  Any time we are in the hot parts of the summer it is wise to be very careful when pruning.  Pruning at this time should be light at best if at all. 

Right now we should be still pruning our fruit trees lightly, removing only new, young shoots that are too close together or shading the leaves too much.  We’re cutting back or removing some of this year’s growth which has been too vigorous. 
Do not prune so much that you open the canopy and risk the possibility of sunburn on some of your major limbs.  However, if the canopy is too dense then you should do some thinning of the canopy to allow some light to enter.  If you need to determine if the canopy is too dense, look at the ground under the canopy. 
Remove NEW shoots anywhere in the canopy that are growing straight up or straight down. Remove enough so that you see speckled light on the ground through the canopy. Then stop. Removing too much can cause damage this time of year (June/July).
The shadow of the canopy on the ground should be speckled with light.  If it is a solid shadow, then a few small branches should be removed until you see speckling in the shadow.  Only remove a few small branches to accomplish this.  No more.  Reserve the rest of your pruning for winter time when the leaves have dropped.

1 comment:

  1. Could be referring to a "Southern Rose" peach tree, which is a genetic dwarf.

    In which case there is even less pruning to do than a normal peach tree. This time of year about the only thing to remove would be any DEAD lower or interior branches which are easier to spot now than in winter.