Perpendicular V peach tree pruning

Took this picture in a big peach growing area in Colorado. Trees were planted about 6 feet X 18 feet . Just two main scaffold branches per tree rather than the four scaffolds on my trees. The top of the trees were about 12 feet from the ground so a lot of the fruit must be picked from a ladder.

I have also seen trees pruned this way in Va and PA, but growers in my state (NC) still focus on open center trees where all the fruit can be picked from the ground without a ladder.


Thanks for posting this Blue. Sounds like an interesting trip.

I’ve read a lot about the perpendicular V. It’s just with the rain and fertile soil here, I can’t imagine the pruning required to maintain. It’s just that vigor here is so overwhelming.

I can barely maintain tree shape with 4 scaffolds to any decency, pruning 3 times/yr. I can’t imagine maintaining the neat form of a V.

It is a lovely pic. Man, that looks like the Garden of Eden.

Fascinated by the view. I’m wondering how they drive a tractor down through there though? Please Sensei, tell me.:japanese_castle:

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It really was like the Garden of Eden! I walked through most of the 10 acres of peach trees in this orchard next to the hotel, but the season was over and I could not find anyone to talk to.

Not sure about getting the tractor between the rows. Many of these folks also grow grapes, so I expect narrow tractors are common. I could get my compact tractor between the rows if I removed the ROPS.

They only get about 10 inches of rain per year so they may control the vigor by the amount of irrigation they apply. These trees had a micro-sprinkler hanging in each tree and the ground was wet.

I was surprised to see that some of the peach orchards disked between the rows for weed control - never seen this before

Blocks of new peach trees were planted everywhere! I could see where a lot of open center trees had been cut off about 2 feet high in preparation for removal and replanting

At least one peach grower in the area had a state of the art computerized packing house.

Many farms with 5-10 acres of peaches and a few with 50 acres or more in a town of about 5K residents.

The growers in this area had the most impressive orchards I have ever seen!


Rick, where were you at in Colorado? My wife, son, and I came through that area last year and I sort of marveled at the (presumably) peaches and fruit crops being grown on that narrow strip of land between the Colorado River and the bluffs. We didn’t stop, but went by fruit stands on the highway. I doubt there was any to be had in the way of peaches at the time as it was early June.

It is a cool area.

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We were in Palisades which sounds just like the area you describe. They have a reputation for growing some of the best peaches in the country, but the peach season was finished before we arrived.

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Drew it is to bad you didn’t get to try them. I think they are the best peaches I have ever had. We used to pick them every few years. We lived in Craig which is 151 miles north of Grand Junction. I have had peaches from many states that claim they have the best peaches, but in my opinion none can beat a Palisade Peach. We used to pay $16 a bushel. That was in the mid to late 80’s. I sure miss being out there. Just seeing those trees brings back good memories.

Do they tie a rope around the trees when the peaches start to get heavy so they don’t split down the center?

Not as far as I know. I’m not ready to try it, but I have seen a lot or research that makes it look pretty good. Higher yields per acre and early yields are promoted as benefits, but so far it has not caught on in my state

I attached a picture of my peaches spaced 18X20 and pruned open center for comparison to the Perpendicular V spaced 6X18


Wonderful looking orchard!

Nice. Looks like a postcard. Hope it works out for ye.

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Nice orchard Rick! I also prune open center & try to keep my scaffolding/branching lower to the ground. Mine are spaced 15x20. It might be an unfounded fear but I’d worry about the trees splitting if I pruned to a V. I also don’t want them growing that high.

Thank you. I followed the suggestions for my area, but I wish my spacing was a little closer. I prune with 36 inch loppers which keeps the trees short enough to pick all the fruit from the ground.

Comparing my pictures against the perpendicular V, I’m amazed by how dense the tree canopy on the V is compared with mine.

The V style is the perfect setup for some type of mechanical thinning, which may be part of their plan.

I thin with several passes with a baseball bat followed by hand thinning but I hate thinning!



Forgot to ask about peaches in Maine. How do peaches do in Maine? Do you folks have problems with brown rot and frosts during bloom?

2016 & 2017 were great seasons for peaches at my location. Pretty much all Reliance & Contender although I have started planting Red Haven (1st & 2nd seasons). I have (had) two 4th season Red Haven from Stark Bros. I pulled one after production this year after a severe bout of peach leaf curl did a number on one side of it…it looked like it migt be on its way out. I have learned to quickly elimate peach trees that might have something going on with them & replace them the next season. They grow quickly enough (unlike apples!) to eliminate some of the pain of “lost production”.

Peach leaf curl has been very persistent the last 2 years. 2016 was worse…we sprayed Kocide 3000 in the fall, but were never able to get out there in the spring due to weather conditions. Spring spraying before bud break is always a struggle for us. Brown rot has not been a problem (knock on wood). Japanese beetles (we use traps) & tent catipillars (take them out by hand) are the biggest pests. I realy like the way you keep the grass/weeds away from your trunks. I think that is pretty important for numerous reasons.

I’m happy but surprised to hear that Contender does well in Maine since it was developed in NC. Its an excellent peach here and the 1050 chill hours helps with the frosts.

We have something called "peach tree shortlife disease’ where a portion of peach trees die each year. The problem has been studied for over 30 years but the exact cause remains unknown.

Other than PTSL peach trees are pretty easy to grow here, but frost damage can wipe out most of the peaches in bad years.

If I was younger, I would test some perpendicular V trees

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I used to dialog a little bit with a peach grower in northern IL, probably similar to your climate. He tired the perpendicular V. He said the biggest problem was canker in the crotch.

Canker hasn’t been much of an issue here, but I’ve heard it can be a pretty big issue in colder climates. It grows mostly in the non-growing season. I suspect it’s not as much of an issue in warmer climates because of the longer growing season, and shorter winters.

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Thank you for that useful information. Canker in the crotch sounds unpleasant! :grin:


Canker has definitely been an issue for me as well…one of the downfalls of growing peaches in a cold climate.