Got a new peach and I lopped it off (probably around 18") hoping it would break some nice new buds on the trunks but it didnt…well it did…but only 1. What should i do to encourage some more buds? Notching? Or should i lop that little random top branch off? Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
I would use a sharp pruning saw to cut the bark just above the low shoot forming a few inches above the graft. Cut less than a third of the way into the trunk to encourage more sap direction to your main hope for a nice straight tree. Leave the above branch as a temp to help nourish the tree and its roots in the meantime.
A healthy peach whip can grow very quickly and yours will likely become healthy. Looks like a tree that lost most of its roots in transplant so the trick now is not to do anything that deprives the tree of quick energy to regrow a root system.
You shouldn’t bother trying to coax more buds because I not only don’t think you will succeed, but even if you did it wouldn’t accelerate the trees overall mission to productivity. You should build a new trunk from that bud, which should take very little time. By seasons end you should have a nice branched little tree and you can create your permanent shape then, if you want. If the tree is well fertilized it should go gangbusters with your short season.
Is that a Dave Wilson tree? Their main distributor to homeowners really like to whack the trees down before shipping, including most of the roots.
Oh, and use the original trunk as a post to carefully tie the shoot to if it needs straightening.
Just so you know, I had this EXACT same scenario on a tree two years ago. It was a very thick caliper new Wilson peach tree and it had one small branch exactly shaped like the one at the top of your tree. But it did NOT have a single other shoot like the one at the lower part of your tree. I notched it a few places and never did get another shoot to come out. In the meantime, I did leave that top branch and the growth at the end of it just to keep the tree fed until I could get another shoot somewhere. Well, I never did. That one branch did survive and put out some good growth, but that horizontal limb never turned upward at all so I had this horribly unbalanced tree. It continued to put on new growth at the end of that top limb but it was all built at the end of that horizontal limb 6-8 inches from the main trunk. So the bigger that got, the more it caused the tree to lean. I staked it but it continued to be the worst shaped tree ever and never did put out any more growth anywhere except the end of that top limb. Long story short I gave up and cut it down after 3 years.
All that being said, even though our trees looked identical you have a monumental advantage in having that one shoot at the lower end of your tree, and I see no reason why you can’t turn that into a very nice tree as Alan has instructed. But I tell you my story as a warning for you to be very careful and not break off that lower shoot! If you do, I suspect you’ll never get another growth and end up with a very poor tree. Good luck
Problem is @bleeding dirt that the tree is budding out … but only in one spot, not like any of my other trees. This scenario is limiting my options immensely on selecting good scaffold branches. Of course I wont let the tree get strangled by those tags you silly goose!
If you had made the head cut below the horizontal branch, I would go down the path of retraining a new central leader. With the horizontal branch, you will get good scaffolds in time. Since this is Citation, water and fertilize the tree a bit more than others and aggresively thin out any fruit. Or it may runt out.
Leaning the tree the other way is a great idea that I probably should have tried and is a great suggestion. But on mine, and perhaps on the one shown here, the top limb that went horizontal from the trunk (before the new growth came out at the end) was too thick and hard to be manipulated upward at all. So the whole time I messed with mine there was never an opportunity to retrain that top horizontal limb. Mine also was probably a bit longer. So you had the main trunk about 3 foot, then the one long limb goes off at a 90 degree angle for 6-8 inches and then the new sprout turns upwards. It just made a very, very awkward situation to try and basically grow a new tree out on the end of a limb so far from the trunk.
But I also like your suggestion of grafting to the trunk. I guess I just didn’t have the skills for that. I just have a terrible time grafting peaches but I guess that s just me.
So I tied up the lower branch and favored it by slowly cutting leaves off the other branch. Today, happy to say I have a 4 foot tree from that one bud. Next year, I will saw off that small branch to form the new single trunk.