Peach Pruning HIGHER than pedestrian height

I have a few peach trees I’ve worked to prune to obtain a canopy that will be out of reach for deer. The area I live in is saturated (an excessively large population) of deer. In order to have a chance of successful harvests, I need tall trees.

This particular peach is now approaching 12 foot tall with 5 main branches starting at 6 and 7 foot. I need to think about pruning it for width. What are my pruning options considering my circumstance?

Yes I know I have a shot hole issue, I hope to get a better handle on that starting during dormancy.

Thanks for replying :+1:

Take out the center, prune to open vase. I understand you have to get above the deer. Your scaffolds will just be higher.

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I would remove maybe 3-4 of the lowest branches. When peaches fruit the limbs bend down a great deal and the deer will thank you for the smorgasbord. I would suggest making the tree 3-5’ higher than you think you need to be above the deer before fruit starts appearing. I have trees I have taken many years to get out of deer range, I keep removing lower limbs but the higher ones then bend down. This year the deer can reach maybe half my peaches. Plums I like a lot more, they shoot up and don’t droop as much.

With the lower bit removed I don’t see any pruning you need now, just dormant prune in winter.


Agree with Scott
That tree with bend towards the ground shape of an umbrella! Deer can easily browse up to 8-9’,so unless you can do an electric fence or some other method of keeping them away, you need to go higher, keep that central leader until you get much higher scaffolds growing to replace the lower ones you need to prune off
Kent ea


I have no deer here to worry about but the fruit load last year on one peach tree bent so low a groundhog waddled over and stood up to eat peaches right off the branches. :beaver::confused:

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Looks like your tree is pretty vigorous, and it resembles my flat wonderful peach. See this thread Flat Wonderful to see both young and mature tree.
Here’s an example how much limbs will bend relatively to 6ft fence line. Higher level scaffolds on my tree are definitely out of deer reach but also almost unmanageable from my perspective.


Excellent illustration

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If your peach trees are bending that much, I’d say two factors come to mind. One, too much fruit could be the cause. Mine don’t bend that much. Two, pruning to a more compact shape would reduce bending.

Most peach trees I see on here that are bent over weren’t thinned enough. And the branches probably weren’t headed back often enough.

The tree in first post is good for maybe 20 to 30 peaches. It’s pretty spindly. Looking again I’d say less than that unless you want broken branches.


Thanks everyone for the replies. Good group of folks on this forum :+1:

I did take the center out and it formed a three branch crotch, similar to an apple tree. I definitely will be pruning the lower branches probably this evening and following up with an aggressive late winter, early spring dormant prune.

What you all think about pruning the third crotch branch back to the trunk. The branch I have a ? mark for. It’s the weakest of the three crotch branches.

Thanks again :+1:

@ukie it’s a contender, I planted it as a 3 to 4 foot bare root whip in the fall of 2020. It’s hasn’t flowed yet, I hope it will this spring. Your Flat Wonderful looks like a very good producer.

edit… Changed to fall of 2020 after checking my records.