Pruning is one of the most important aspects of caring for your peach tree. With proper pruning, your tree will maintain a more attractive shape, produce more healthy peaches, and even do a better job of resisting diseases. However, pruning involves more than just cutting off some of the branches and leaving others. Here's a look at three tips to follow to ensure you're pruning your peach tree properly.
Make sure you're establishing a central leader.
This tip is one to follow as you begin pruning a young tree. Look closely at the tree's branch structure. Chances are, if it has not been pruned before, there is more than one large branch protruding from the trunk. Your goal is to prune the tree so that there is only one main, central branch from which other branches emerge. Look for the strongest of these main branches, and prune the other ones away. Establishing this structure early on will ensure fruit is easy to access and pick.
Note that there are some trees for which this is not possible. If there are two equally sized branches emerging from the trunk and removing one would literally leave you with half a tree, then leave them both, but eliminate any others.
Prune at the right time.
It takes a tree some time to "heal" its cut edges after pruning, and while it is healing, it is not as impervious to cold. Thus, you want to avoid pruning too early in the spring. If you prune too early and a cold spell hits, the tree may not produce as much fruit that year because it can't protect itself from the cold. If you prune too late, you may also have a reduced fruit production because the tree will have put energy into budding branches that you were going to remove anyways. Ideally, you should prune in the early spring, just before buds set on the tree. The ideal pruning dates vary by region, and your cooperative extension should be able to tell you the right time to prune where you are.
Use sanitized pruning tools, and remove diseased branches.
Fungal infections are often spread from tree to tree through the use of non-sanitized pruning tools. The spores are picked up from one tree, and then introduced directly to the wood of a new tree when its branches are cut into. To prevent this from happening, make sure you wipe your pruning tools down with rubbing alcohol between trees. Also, if you spot any branches that show signs of infection, such as shriveled leaves or black lesions on the wood, be sure to remove these. Taking this measure can prevent the condition from spreading to the rest of the tree.
For more tree pruning and care tips, contact a company like All American Landscape Design Inc.