No longer growth on bottom of peach tree but want to reduce size

One of my peach trees has gotten too tall for my liking. At the same time all of the lower growth appears to have died. You can see in the picture how many small branches are dead. If those little branches werbalive and fill of folliage I’d feel confident cutting out the larger growth and letting the tree re-establish itself. But since there are no live sprouts on the lower part of the tree I’m concerned that there may not be any new growth if I cut some of the larger limbs.

What can I do to return the tree to smaller size.


I went crazy whacking on overgrown peach trees this year. Tried several different ideas to see what worked. What I found is no matter where you cut them they start throwing new branches with a vengence. No amount of brutal cutting seemed to phase them. This has shaped a new pruning practice for me in which they are going to do what I want no matter what I have to cut. So far the only ill effect I have seen is less fruit.


Thanks Robert. When you wacked your trees did you do it while dormant or did you do it during active growing?

I used to cut in the winter, but switched a while back to cutting in spring growth. I don’t think it really matters, I just like the spring so I can shape the incoming growth. From my experience you can whack on stone fruits just about anytime, but to much past spring may result in growth that does not survive the winter.

That happened to me with two,peach trees, didn’t prune enough.

I cut all my newly planted 6 feet plus to a knee high or waist high and the trees started sending new growth, I cut mine on early spring.

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How old is your tree?

Old wood on lower trunk may not push new wood if you cut too low.

One of a member here prune his established peach tree quite drastically and it worked (I think). I just can’t recall who or what the topic of the thread is.


Results from severely dehorning a peach tree are variable, depending on the age of the tree, the vigor of the variety, and the time of year it’s done.

Sometimes, if you don’t leave enough foliage at the end of the scaffold, the scaffold will just die. This is especially true if pruning in the fall, winter or very early spring.

If it were me, the safest thing to do is prune each scaffold down enough to let lots of sunlight in the lower portion of the tree, so see if you can encourage some growth there. If you don’t care much about the tree, then I’d say roll the dice and do a drastic dehorn. Just make sure you leave some foliage on the ends of the scaffolds.

What I generally tell my customers, when they ask this very question is that raising peach trees is like raising children. If a parent waits till a child is in his/her teens before any good training is applied, the child’s character is already formed, and any correctional training applied at that point is generally too late.

It can be done with peach trees, but generally easier to just plant a new one. They come into production pretty fast anyway.


Tippy, the tree is probably 4 years old or so. It’s Scarlet Prince and has produced a little bit of really good fruit. It’s just growing too fast for the space I set aside for it. There is no fruit this year due to the frost. Maybe now would be a good time to wack it back some.


4 years old is still a young tree. I would do what Mark suggested.

No experience in this, but how about grafting some branches down lower first?

In my experience, grafting peach on old wood (3 years and older) and/or on low branches have often resulted in grafts not taken or die a year or two later.

Lower branches of peaches often do not get enough sun resulting in branches died off like his pic showed.

So is the idea to prune any branches reaching through the center, and leaving a doughnut shaped canopy?