Pruning a Two-Year Old Peach Tree

Pruning a Two-Year Old Peach Tree


Moving on to older trees, these trees have
been in the ground for two years and are starting their third growing season. We start our training
and pruning. Look at the center of the tree. The first thing we must do is identify our
primary scaffold branches. We have one, two, three, and four. If you want to maintain this
scaffold branch growth out at approximately a forty-five degree angle, so they can tolerate
fruit crop load. The first thing we’ll do is identify this scaffold branch that’s
coming out right here. So, we want to get rid of competition using loppers. And you’ll
notice that as we’re using larger trees we use, are using loppers now. Loppers, these
have thirty-two inch handles. Again they are by-pass pruners similar to our hand shears
that we were using, but they allow us to cut larger growth within the tree. So, as we look
at the scaffold branch coming out, we’re maintaining the forty-five degree angle. We’ll
come in and head this one an outward growing bud. Again, we’ve made that heading cut
to stiffen this branch to tower a fruit load as well as to encourage more branching back
in here in which you will have the fruit in coming years. We’ll get rid of growth that’s
growing on the bottom of this branch that will be shaded. So we would cut the underneath
branch we cut out. Anything growing on top of the branch we’ll also eliminate that
will be shading other growth. Branches coming out we maintain from the side here to be fruity
with. We’ll maintain them. With your odd branch, we’ll cut them back by about a third
as well, so that we can maintain the fruit load on these stiffened branches. Okay, this
scaffold branch coming out as well. We have a heading cut that was made there. We have
three very vigorous branches at the tip. We will select that down to one with the branch
growing in the orientation in the direction that we would want. So, we eliminate the competition
there. Growth growing underneath we’ll get rid of that will be shaded. And then the growth
growing on top that would be shading, we also remove. These scaffold branches coming up,
again we will cut to an outward growing bud to maintain the growth of that branch. This
scaffold branch over here that’s coming out, we need to fork them when we move from
the tree. In order to fill our lot of space of sixteen to eighteen foot between trees,
we’ll have our scaffold branch coming out. And then we allow it to a fork in two directions
so it can fill a greater area. So, we have our scaffold branch here with a fork in it
coming up in this direction. Eliminate the competition coming out. Cut the branches underneath
that are being shaded, and those on top that are shading. And continuing up, we will cut
to an outward growing branch to maintain the growth of this scaffold branch. Yet with this tree we have a scaffold branch
coming out. This is a little too upright. It’s going to the wind, so we need to direct
this one more outward. So, that we have, maintain the open center, light in the center of the
tree. Again we get rid of growth underneath and that growing on top. What we also need
to do is the red wood, which is the most productive wood, we need to come back and cut those back
by a third, to stiffen those branch, branches and to eliminate excess of flowers. On peach trees, one of the things that determines
where we will make our cuts is where the fruit is formed. If we were to look at our mature
peach tree, we are looking at shoots that are eighteen to twenty-four inches long, are
red in color. For the eastern peach varieties, we have a very high bloom density, which means
we have many flowers onto the tree, which will allow us to lose some for frost and freeze
and still have a full crop. If we were to look at a shoot like this, approximately eighteen
inches long, it has approximately thirty-five flower buds on it. When in actuality this
branch could only support at the most four peaches. If we were to look closely at the
peach shoot, at every node if you will, there is a bud. If there is only one bud at that
node, that is going to be a leaf bud. Each node will have at least one leaf bud. But
if we look at other ones, we may have two flower buds there, with a flower bud on the
outside here, a flower bud on the outside here. But in the center is a leaf bud. If
we look at these shoots up and down you see how many flower buds we would have. So, when
we were pruning peach trees many times we will make a heading cut. On a shoot like this
we may come back and cut it by a third in order to stiffen that branch to eliminate
some bloom that our growers are going to have to remove during their thinning season. And
then we allow this branch to be stiffened out to tolerate at least three peaches. So
on a peach tree; we will make many heading cuts. If we were to try that on an apple tree,
when we cut off the tips, we would cut off all the fruit on that apple tree with no crop
at all. For more information on training and pruning
fruit trees, you can refer to this publication published by the North Carolina Cooperative
Extension Service. And it can be found on the website at the bottom of this screen.

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54 thoughts on “Pruning a Two-Year Old Peach Tree

  1. I'm nervous about pruning my peach trees. I've had them in the ground for about a year; I think they're two-three years old. One has a goblet structure started, but the other appears to have a central system. This video and the previous one are GREAT for helping me figure out how to prune the goblet one, but do you have any videos on how to fix one that has a central prune started?
    Also, I notice that your trees all have buds. Do I need to wait to prune until buds appear? Thanks!

  2. Do you cut off all thin branches/twigs that have only leaf buds? If we do that will be enough leaves? Or are the leaves associated with the fruit clusters enough? Thank you.

  3. I always thought mother nature and billions of years of evolution created the best solution for fruit growth? Not that I'm disagreeing with your methods at all but I have a peach tree and have NEVER cut branches off. Mine is about 10' tall, symmetrical and just as wide. I harvested almost 40 peaches off it last year without a single broken branch. My tree is about 6 years old.

  4. There are many reasons to prune properly. For instance, I am not 10' tall so I have a hard time reaching that high. Pruning increases air flow and light reaching the fruits. Mother nature and time provide trees with a way to more successfully reproduce or spread… that doesn't always lead to the largest fruit or the easiest to harvest.

  5. I live in Canada, I bought my peach tree two summers ago and pruned it when I planted it (putting off basically everything except for the scaffolding branches. This summer however it produced over 30 peaches. So I want to know, when is the best time to prune my tree? Spring? Aprilish?

  6. Hi Natasha,
    Pruning peach trees is a annual event. I'm not really familiar with the seasons in Canada, but we start pruning our peach trees usually in February. The trees are still dormant. Here trees bloom in March. However, if you are running late you can do it during bloom without causing problems. You want to prune out much (though not all) interior branching (keeping the "vase" shape"). Feel free to email me at [email protected] if you have other questions. Good luck!

  7. Wingman, another reason for pruning is that hybrid trees (which are essentially the only kind available today) are engineered and selected for fruit production, havest timing, fruit quality, size, etc.  These are not wild trees.  They do need pruning.  A 10 foot tree could be providing you with several bushels of peaches vs. 40.

  8. Hi, I have a dwarf peach growing in it's second year in a container. It is currently flowering. Should i prune the tree now, or wait till this fall to do major pruning. thanks.

  9. Hi Peter,
    Sorry for the delay in replying. Peach trees should be pruned in the late winter (ideally, February) prior to flowering in the spring. Sometimes people get behind and they are pruning at flowering and that's not the end of the world. Some people do summer pruning also (not instead of late winter pruning, in addition to it – Dr. Parker has a video on summer pruning and what is achieved with that practice). Fall is not a good time to do pruning, especially a "major" pruning. It sets the plant up for possible cold damage. Pruning encourages plant growth and in the fall the plant should be going into dormancy, not putting on new growth. Hope that helps!

  10. best videos….i suggest all of you to subscribe this channel……this season i have peach tree full of healthy peaches……

  11. I just purchased  a home last fall with 4 fruit trees … was told one was pear, peach, apple and Cherry… was very worried with the cold in Feb to cut those trees … I cut them today … hope I did not hurt them.

  12. Thank you…very informative and just the right amount of repeating so that I can remember what to cut when I walk out the door!!

  13. I just moved into a new house with a peace tree and had no idea I had to do any pruning. Peaches started to grow and I mean a ton and then they just stopped! What do I do? Or is it too late for me tree? I'd love any advice

  14. i have been growing a nectarine tree from seed for about 5 years now. this year it gave delicious fruit but the tree looks crazy. it doesn't look like it has a trunk. there are 3 branches coming from one party literally at the ground. how do i make it more like a tree with an actual trunk?

  15. Dead link. Please update to: https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/training-and-pruning-fruit-trees-in-north-carolina

  16. This is such a proof that Bible (Genesis 2:15) is true!
    My goodness I love plants but what you are saying sounds martian to me. I'm really trying to see what you see and be able to prune my tree rather than massacre it by cutting all the wrong parts 🙂
    Thank you for sharing!

  17. This video is much clearer than that book published originally 80 years ago at least. The video is the best University video ihave seen on how to prune fruit tree , bowl pattern. THE PHOTOGRAPHER concentrated on the prune being made not on the speaker like in many other institutionsl attempts at filming fruit tree pruning

  18. Thank you for this informative video. Do you have recommendations for Espalier fruit trees are will the pruning be the same?

  19. Excellent video and presentation. It would be a treat if you could make other fruit tree videos apples, pears, plums, etc.
    Very professionally done. Thank You.

  20. I planted a grafted peach whip last April, and 8 months later, I'm wondering when I should give it it's first pruning. I've watched a gaggle of peach tree pruning videos, and not one of them mentioned anything about young peach trees. I have that feeling that I didn't get the memo, and that everyone knows this but me. And so, the reason why I ask, is because the peach tree is growing, but it's prospects for scaffolding branches is bleak. It's got branches where they shouldn't be, and 3 branches jutting out of a bump at the top of the whip. It's got two branches that are the biggest on the young tree, but they're only 4 inches above the graft. Problems.

  21. I've been honing my pruning 'skills' for years and still have a lot to learn. So maybe THAT's why I got no apples last yr.! Sheesh.

  22. We just bought a peach tree, it definitely needs to be pruned but already has leaves and little developing peaches. Can I prune it the 40% I should? Also it is already about 9ft tall, should I shorten the tree as well? Thankyou!!

  23. I just cant figure it out. This video is really good but my problem is….. I got 2 bare root semi dwarf peach trees last year. I put them in pots and left them there for a year. I just put them in the ground last weekend however they have already flowered and have fruit growing on them. little fuzzy grapes at this point. All my branches are growing straight up . Should I wait until after the leaves have fallen off to prune now? Im guessing I should have pruned in the spring but didn't get to it. Any help is appreciated. Thanks

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