Grow peach as espalier or fan?

I started to train my peach to espalier with cordons but today I read that peaches should be trained as fans. Should I try to convert it to a fan?

peaches only fruit on one year old wood so you need to have a system that can generate new wood every year. UFO is a good one to consider, you could cut back to just your bottom horizontals (and your one vertical) and get verticals off of that

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i was gonna suggest UFO. But Z0r beat me to it.

you could also mix SSA and UFO described in this cherry pruning document.

Have multiple multi year uprights generously spaced. (1-2 feet?) which produce peaches on their side branches.

I plan to try out UFO peach. but have not practical experience yet.


@z0r and @oscar : What do you think about converting it into a fan?

is also an option. And my espalier book recommends the fan form for prunus. However i think you will need to do quite a lot of skilled pruning for a good fan form peach. An UFO style might be more forgiving. But that’s just my imagination. Have not experience with it yet.

It will also depend on other variables.
Where i am at for example. peaches can be short lived. And due to lack of latent buds and peach leaf curl. we tend to get a lot of blind wood. Thus i plan to have my bottom horizontals of my peach UFO made up from the rootstock (plum or sloe). Because if something goes wrong that will likely survive and i can easily grow new shoots that i can graft peaches to.

I decided to train it as a fan, so I cut off the leader with the upper branches and left two scaffold branches at a 45 degree angle. Some people say to cut back the scaffolds to about 18 inches, which seems quite drastic to me. The branches are about 3 feet long. Should I cut them back?

for a fan, you cut them back, since you want the fan to split multiple times in different laterals close to the trunk. (Y fan)

For UFO you would bend them close to horizontal and leave them this length, to grow verticals from. (Uprights)

Or at least this is what my book says and i think is logical. I myself have never used a peach for a fan style tree. So I’m not sure how you would “tame” it’s growing style to a fan.

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Oscar, thank you for your replies. What is the name of the book you mention?

it’s a Dutch (Nederlands) book. So i doubt it will be of much use to you. currently don’t have it on me while i type this. But if you understand Dutch let me know and ill post the name later.

I believe it’s pointless to try to be completely formal with peaches as espaliers if you are looking for good crops. It’s hard enough just to keep them in a relatively 2D form. UFO looks way too informal to fill the bill though.

I’m no expert on this although over the years I’ve managed a few peach or nectarine trees as informal espaliers. The main trick is lots of summer pruning to sustain well lighted small new wood next to the scaffolds. I don’t know that it matters how you place the scaffolds if you maintain them with at least 3 summer prunes.

A fan would probably simplify matters a bit, but I don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to make any shape work as long as you control growth with frequent summer pruning, removing the most vigorous sprouts in favor of weaker ones which you obviously have to keep short.

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Has anyone tried the UFO system for peaches yet? I would love to maximize my space and wondered if it would work for my yard.

It’s been discussed here, use search function. Depending on how much space and hear you have, vertical two leader V system would work.