Back again regarding peach trees. When we bought/planted our 3 Red havens, the trunks were about 1/2 inch. The existing structure allowed us to remove the central leader and left us with 4 to 5 future scaffolds. I was amazed how the open center unfolded as the trees grew that first summer. We had built 5 ft tall circular fence, 6 ft dia around each tree to keep the pesky deer out.
The second year started with a lot of pruning keeping the center open and they were really taking shape. But during the growing season a few water shoots shot straight up near the center. I had read that we should only prune in the spring so I ignored them figuring I could just prune them off the next spring. Between the dense growth and the restrictive fencing, I didn’t notice how those water shoots dominated. They were major branches and much larger than the starved ones I had anticipated the scaffolds would grow.
The third grow season started with removing the large water shoots. I am beginning to understand how I must keep the center open but encourage new grow where the next years fruit will only grow.
The scaffolds are now covered with vertical shoots 18 inches tall! I expect they will grow much taller if left unchecked. I do not want a repeat of last year where the water shoots take over. I fear they will completely fill the open center. I like all the fruiting wood but…
Do I bend the rule about “spring only pruning” and remove them now to keep my open center?
Cut them back to 10 inches to keep the next year fruit wood? Though vigorous vertical shoots generally don’t have many blooms.
The trees are now 8+ ft tall, so I’m not trying to get height, just planning for new fruiting wood.