Pruning a peach tree

I would first like to thank every one here for the time you put into this forum. I don’t always comment or post new topics but I read regularly. I am going to try and attach a photo of my peach tree. I have just finished pruning it and would love some constructive criticism. This tree is about 18 years old. It did not fruit for the previous two years due to late frosts and has put on a lot of new growth. I basically cut off most branches that were between 8 to 9 feet. Thoughts?


I think for what you’ve got to work with you did well.

I notice the crotch angle is tight between the two scaffolds, but nothing you can do about that.

The only other issue that you probably can’t do much about is that there is a lot of exposed bark on the large scaffolds. I like to keep that somewhat shaded with some growth if I can. Sunburn on naked scaffolds is a problem here.

I note that the shoot extension on the tree is not enough. See all the little short shoots? Those don’t grow good fruit. They won’t produce enough leaf tissue to properly feed the peach. I peach takes about 35 leaves to pack the peach with the carbohydrates, which also eventually turn into sugar. The fruit on those shoots will be smaller and less sweet vs. shoots which have more foliage to collect sunlight.

Perhaps for this tree I would recommend adding some N and providing a little better grass/weed control. Good job on what you have to work with though.

18 years is a bit of a grandpa for a peach, so you may consider replacing it in a few years. Peaches age in most places about like horses. 18 years is a pretty old horse.

Thanks for the input olpea. I usually just mulch it with grass clippings. A circle about 30 inches in diameter. I guess I could go a lot bigger than that. I have never put much fertilizer on it so your suggestion for some nitrogen is probably right on. It is getting some age on it. I tried to graft some scion wood from it onto a couple of different peaches last spring as I like the peaches this tree makes but I did not understand the warmth required to graft peaches and did it too early.

Olpea is right. That tree has definitely retired due to old age. 18 years for a peach tree is like 80 for a human. No matter how much pruning you do, you’re better off replacing it.

I’m sure you r correct , I just hate to see it go. I have really enjoyed it .


I totally get your thought on this. Intuitively, 30" is a good space (and it’s makes for an esthetically pleasing landscape) but I once read something which caused me to think of it differently.

Most people acknowledge feeder roots extend to the drip line (though actually they extend past the drip line). Nevertheless, if the feeder roots extend to the drip line, then feeding and watering the tree near the trunk is akin to placing a thick juicy steak on the belly of a starving man (if you’ll pardon the analogy). It’s too far away from his mouth to do him any good.

I Understood how far the roots extend, I just never considered the grass as much competition for the tree. Learned something new. When I post a question here I always get an answer and usually learn something extra as a bounes.

Bonus , sorry, fat fingers, little phone

Olpea, I have been extending my mulch further out toward the drip line of the tree per your suggestion. I pulled back some of the mulch that was closer to the tree . I was surprised to see that there was a thick mat of feeder roots on top of the soil. It is obvious that u r spot on with ur recommendation. By extending the mulch maybe I can help my old peach along a few more years. Thanks for the tip.

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That’s great Derby. Please post back this summer about it. I’d love to know if that works to rejuvenate your peach tree.

I will , thank you for ur advice and interest. It is just blooming now. Maybe we will be out of frost danger soon.

Update on my old peach tree, I have been extending the mulch out. I don’t have it out to the drip line yet but I am getting there. It has a pretty fair crop of peaches on it.

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Nice looking peaches Derby. It looks about like the right amount of crop load too. Not too many, not too thin. Your going to have some nice sized peaches.

What variety is this tree?

Thanks olpea, yes they are looking good! There is a bit of a question about what this is. I did not realize how often trees were mislabeled until join here. I bought two peach trees about 18 years ago from a local nursery. One was supposed to be a red heaven that doesn’t produce well( which doesn’t sound like a red heaven) and the other was supposed to be a starking delicious . The delicious peach should be freestone and this tree is cling stone. It rippens early here , mid June , depending on the spring. I really like the peaches, sweet , soft, juice running down your arm.:yum:

Picked my first peach yesterday. It was about a day too early but it had a touch of brown on the end so I went ahead and picked it. I love peaches fresh off the tree! There is a whole generation of people out there that think peaches are those oversized, hard , tasteless fruit that they sell at the supermarket. Maybe this weekend me and my grandson can stand in the cool shade and eat freash dripping peaches, yum😊

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