Peach tree branches

I recently got new peach trees and there aren’t any good scaffold branches. Am I able to cut the tree down to the main trunk even if the trunk doesn’t have any buds to grow branches?
Thank you

Can you upload a pic?

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I’ll try uploading a better pic soon but to give you an idea of how the trunk looks here is a pic. The other branches are high up and have molded while arriving to my house so I plan to get rid of them.

Simple answer is YES, There are usually hidden buds unless you cut it so low that you remove the grafted wood and all the buds… Then you have a rootstock :slight_smile:

Complex answer is the more you cut peaches the more you need to be treating them for diseases or the shorter their life will be if you do not (2-10 Years depending on climate and disease pressure).

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So overall you believe it’s a good idea to cut somewhere on the trunk considering disease issues?

It is up to your preference, I tend to do almost no spray, and consider peach trees short lived, replant sooner and avoid pruning, I only prune when the plant is actively growing so the sap heals the wounds.

Most people in the forum from what I read would recommend copper sprays to keep diseases in check and I think people would recommend that you don’t make such a drastic cut, but use some of the branches that are there. from that photo I think some of those could become scaffold branches if the top is cut to encourage them to grow and you train them to be a bit more wide angled. Also for more specific help you should mention what shape you intend to prune it into. I assume open vase or modified central leader…?

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Yeah I prefer the open vase shape. I am not sure what to do with the fact that there is mold on most of the scaffold branches (towards the base), there seems to be some sort of wound under the mold as well.
Thank you for your help!

I get white mold on several blueberry branches every spring. I just spray sulfur and it’s gone quickly. Don’t get any sulfur on the leaves if there are any. Copper probably works too

@Palmy_Oceans I wouldn’t cut back the entire plant. I would cut back the scaffold branches really short to an outward facing bud and then train them into a better angle

The mold developed in the humid shipping bag. I wouldn’t worry about any mold on the trunk or branches. You can just brush it off with an old toothbrush. If the roots have mold, wash them off in a bucket right away.

I would just plant the peach now (weather permitting) and not prune it until later. I read it’s better to prune while the stonefruit trees are actively growing to reduce injury to the tree. When you do make a heading cut, it could definitely induce some new leaf buds to form along the trunk. They may or may not appear where want them to be. I would still keep at least one visibly live bud on the trunk at all times for insurance.

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Here’s the best video on how to prune a whip peach tree. Start at 1:37 minute.

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My last new peach tree start.


I have to disagree with both this advice and information. Some people want to start the branches very low in the tree growing 3 primary scaffolds into a goblet shape. Cutting the trees down to the point where you want your scaffolds to begin will not subject them to more disease pressure than leaving them taller.

In my nursery where at any given time I’m managing about 300 peach trees in various states of maturity (I sell them on their 3rd or 4th year they’ve been in my nursery) I barely prune them at all the first season because I don’t want them to begin the scaffolds below a minimum of 4’ so I can baffle trees from squirrels, which are a huge problem for most of my customers. I tend to steer them after they begin growth. As far as pruning causing disease, peaches are always pruned heavily in commercial production and the advice is not to prune them before they begin growing because wounds that close quickly are less likely to develop canker. This is advice I often ignore with no consequence. I manage too many orchards to always prune everything at the “perfect” time.

Incidentally, I was pruning a 75 year old Loring peach tree the other day and a 10 year old tree should be in full vigor and productivity. I expect a minimum of 15 years good production from a peach and have a 28 year old Madison on my own property that is as productive for its space as any peach tree I manage.


What does your spray schedule look like generally? where do you live also?

If you are asking me… go to guides. I have an article there about my spray protocol.

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I was referring to a no spray peach maintenance approach, in a cold short summer climate. which yeah basically I am failing at, but this is the best practices I have found so far. I will likely start spraying copper+ this or next year, depending how wet or dry this summer is.

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I have customers that I oversee a 3-4 Surround program for their peaches, pears and apples. If the peaches don’t get brown rot it works out fine. I’ve also had clients get no-spray peaches- usually pretty fuzzy varieties grown in mowed turf. The fuzzier the peach it seems the more they repel PC and other insect pests.


Thank you for all your help! I pruned the trees down to a few scaffolds with a few buds so that I can get three main scaffolds growing into the vase shape.