Peach Tree Pruning - THEY LOOK LIKE A BUSH!

First post, happy to find this community with a wealth of knowledge!

I recently moved to a new house and there are 3 beat up peach trees and 1 older beat up pear tree. Last spring, the peaches were little sticks that were destroyed by deer. Over the following 6 months, to my surprise, they grew quite a bit with lots of leaves. I’d like to make a best effort to prune them this year to get a “regular peach tree” and possibly get fruit some day.

My plan is to cut back every trunk but the strongest one to make a single trunk tree. In the pictures, I wrapped the chosen trunk with tree wrap.

I’ve read Pruning Made Easy by Lews Hill. That will help me with my new trees I planted last year, however; this destroyed/bushy situation is not addressed. Any tips on giving these trees the best chance to produce fruit? Of the three trees, I attached a picture o the largest. The medium sized tree has about half the trunks and the small one has only 3 trunks.

There’s also a pear tree that is much older with a decent sized trunk. I thought it was dead but to my surprise branches were growing last year. Thoughts on this one? (Can’t post another image of the Pear tree. It’s got a 3 inch trunk and is 5 feet tall. It all looked dead at one point but decent fresh growth came off last year.)


Hi Sean and welcome.
Hopefully,the deer didn’t eat away the top and left only the root stocks.If the trees produce fruit and the flavor is good,then they probably didn’t.
Using one trunk is a way to do it.Another might be to leave all of them for now and cut out the inward growing stuff.That way,there is a better chance of possibly saving and seeing if there is a difference in fruit


I pick 3-5 scaffolds and prune out the little bushy sticks

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I like to train my peaches to a delayed open center. I think it is stronger than a regular open center.
I like to train pears to a modified central leader.
Stephen Edholm (skillcult) has a great video about this.


That video was great, appreciate it! I feel good about the pruning I did yesterday.

Thanks for the replies. I stuck with my original plan and cut back each trunk and left only one. Sounds like there a decent chance I don’t get good fruit because the original tree was pretty much eaten to the ground.

After re-reading, kind of regretting not taking Bradybb’s advice to give myself a better chance at good fruit!

We’ll see! These were kind of bonus trees that were left on the property so I’m good with whatever outcome.

Now, after all of the cuts you’ve made, it’s likely the tree will try to grow the same way again, sending up lots of suckers. You’ll have to check it every week or so, cutting new shoots off to keep the energy going into your main trunk.

If it is just the rootstocks growing you’ve got some time to plan out some future grafting. Might be a good candidate for a frankenpeach?


Good point. I expect to trim suckers off this thing. I guess it will be often which is no problem.

Sounds like an idea! And I have only the slightest idea what your are suggesting :slight_smile: can you expand or post a good resource?

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Do a search here for frankentree and you’ll see several threads.

I would approach it with your tree in this way. Peaches are best trained into an open center shape. So I would grow this trunk until it gets to a height where you can head it, leading it to produce 3 or 4 laterals at the height you want. Then graft those laterals each to a different peach variety.


Wow, didn’t know this was possible. Super cool. I’ll do some research. Appreciate it.

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You might want to consider Ann Ralph’s Grow a Little Fruit Tree pruning method. She advocates keeping fruit trees 6 feet tall by pruning. A person can easily harvest fruit from smaller trees.

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