Pruning will remove the good buds!

My PF 25 peach needs a lot of pruning this winter. Removing all of the very tall, straight branches, etc…

However, that’s where all the good flower buds are!


My experience is limited on the pruning of a peach or any stone fruit for that matter. Experience taught me pruning will kill them if you take off to much. Peaches , plums, and cherries at my house always get pruned in early spring as they start to push growth which works well. Im more of a pear expert than a peach expert so i think @Olpea may have some great suggestions.


Peaches have enough buds that usually you can prune most of them off and still get too many peaches. Also you can leave some longer shoots, once the peaches appear on them they will be weighed down and can end up 3-4’ lower. The main thing to avoid is to have too many long shoots, don’t keep too many of them and you can also take a bit off the end of all of them.

You shouldn’t need to worry about taking too much off or when you prune in our climate. Don’t prune right before a big cold snap but other than that any time is fine.


The vigorous upright stuff has to come off (whether it reduces the crop or not) if you want to pick the fruit without ladders. If the vigorous upright stuff is left on, it will be that much worse after the next season and really shade out all lower stuff. That will effectively raise the fruiting canopy (probably beyond reach). Btw, when I refer to vigorous upright stuff, I mean stuff 2’ tall or taller and about 1/2" in diameter or bigger. Shorter more non-vigorous upright shoots are OK to keep, if you need them for proper crop load, or to avoid long stretches of blind wood.

Typically we remove the vigorous upright stuff in the early fall, as well as shoots too close to the ground, or too shaded on the inside, then come back after bloom and remove any other shoots which don’t have any flowers on them. That way every shoot is producing a fruit. After that, some varieties still have too many shoots with fruit, so we just remove the most shaded shoots at that point till we get the right amount of shoots.

Some varieties will have too light a crop load, but we still remove the vigorous upright shoots so the tree is at least set up to fruit properly the following year.


It sounds like your peaches are more vigorous than mine Mark, peaches are one of the few fruits I don’t have problems keeping the height down on. One exception is my Athena, that thing wants to reach for the moon. It sounds like your trees are more like the vigor of my Athena.

If a shoot is really huge that I want to keep I may tie it down, that way you can keep the buds but not have it shooting to the skies. You can also later tie down any long shoot that is not bending down enough under the fruit load.


That’s a good point. I’ve tied down stuff before, but anymore we just don’t have time to do it, so I’d momentarily forgotten about that technique.

I suppose part of the reason most of your peach trees are calmer is due to the closer spacing. I’m on an 18’X25’ spacing which gives the trees tons of room to spread the growth.


I did remove some in August. Now that the tree has about 40% defoliated I see quite a few vertical shoots (they are over your size threshold) i need to take off.


I don’t know what the tree looks like, but if it causes too much blind wood to remove all the vertical shoots, yet the shoots are too big to keep, you might leave some 3 to 4" stub cuts on the verticals you cut. Some new shoots will grow from those stubs.

I have peaches in some sites that haven’t much vigor, even when compensated with extra N. One site had me baffled that is on wetland, essentially, where most of the soil remains mud except during dry spells. Essentially it’s a muck soil because the wetness allows a buildup of organic matter.

I originally planted trees there during one of our mini-droughts and I didn’t realize how wet the site normally is. The results were bad at first but every year I topped the trees with a compost and sand mix to gradually raise the soil level at the base of the trees. The apples, pears and plums gradually plugged in and are now almost growing with the vigor I expect from better drained soil. The peaches have never achieved normal vigor although the customers are more than satisfied with the crops they provide.

Anyway, I started a new orchard on a better site for them, (they own quite a few acres) and transplanted 3 trees that I added to the marshy area recently. Even though we’ve been getting plenty of rain for the last 3 weeks, that sand and compost mix was bone-dry.

It seems the peaches never created a rootsystem that allowed the trees to thrive with vigor by exploiting both the finer muck soil and the sand-compost mix above. The roots must only function in the mix above which must frequently dry out and stress the trees (peaches are fussy that way).

There are certainly benefits from low-vigor peach trees- the fruit tends to have higher brix, IME, and they obviously require less maintenance, but they have shorter life-spans partially because of not being able to ward off borers with copious sap flow and obviously much smaller crops if you have the room to let them grow to their natural spread. Fruit may also be smaller.

I probably should have used a mixture closer to the texture of the muck soil to raise the plots, but I was afraid of smothering them.