Hi: As sad as I am to have to do this, we need to take a 15’ peach tree and either make it considerably shorter or cut it down. We can’t wait until the leaves drop and prune it back as we have in the past. The tree is about four-five years old. How do we do this? Can we just cut it way back now–its August in Northern California. Or do we need to eliminate it altogether. Reason for this, is we are in a fire prone area and there is a lot of vegetation needing to be cut back. Our tree is too close to other vegetation and our home. Thank you.
First of all,a decision needs to made about shortening or eliminating.Both can probably be done now.bb
Cutting back peach trees past living shoots with leaves or buds (in dormancy) usually kills them. Peaches are the least cooperative common fruit tree when it comes to reconstructive pruning. Fortunately they grow and bear fast.
Old wood without new shoots on it cannot usually be coaxed to send out new shoots by the tricks hat often work with apples and pears.
Perhaps you cut cut it way back and bark graft European plum onto it.
That’s what I did with my 12’ Indian Free peach tree, maybe 5 years old. Still relatively young. I converted to Early Laxton this summer because the peach was unhealthy. It is also sending up some peach suckers from the rootstock, but I’ve been letting the deer or rabbits browse those.