Received my peach tree. Now what?

My two feet tall peach tree just arrived. I am lost on what to do in terms of pruning and training and setting it up for success.

Seems like the easiest route would be to allow it to grow as a central leader in year 1. Then make a heading cut in the dormant season. Allow scaffolding branches to grow in year 2.

  1. Does that sound about right? Do I need to remove any side shoots to focus on thickening the trunk? Or should I allow potential scaffolds (side shoots) to grow in year 1?

Additional questions:

  1. What height do I make a heading cut? Some sources seem to suggest 24 inches? Isn’t that too low? Wouldn’t that cause me to have scaffold branches too closesly spaced on the central trunk?

  2. What is the ideal spacing of the scaffold branches from each other at the points of origin along the central trunk?

The older they get especially peaches, the less likely they will throw new scaffold branches. If you planned to train as an open center, I would not wait or use existing branches. If using existing branches you can wait. I would never cut off side branches as they so tend not to grow new ones, peaches are the worst at not throwing new branches. You can let branches compete for the scaffolds, no need to cut any off early on. If using other systems of pruning like modified leader, then pruning is different. I’m not really familiar with any other method except open center, which is all I use.,. I don’t grow apples.

24 seems low to me, 36. If heavy squirrel pressure, higher branching is in order.

Not sure, but some distance is desirable. Although I have trees with none that are fine.

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I got this rising star peach from. Van Wells nursery a few years back… it was a good 5 ft tall and had some nice branching already.

I lopped it off at around 3 ft tall and left 4 branches heading off in different directions…

It has done well… nice looking open center tree now.

This is what it looked like year 2 after pruning as it was starting to leaf out.


Yes I most often do it like you did. But you need a small enough tree. Older whips will often not have the lower branches or they are removed for shipping.


A photo would be helpful. I had 3 ft tall Red Haven trees and I cut them back to about 16-18 inches. There were 4 branches below the cut all facing different directions. Open center is easy if you start early. too late and it requires big cuts. Look at Olpeas’ trees, very low and very open

For me, my goal is to never need to use a ladder to prune or pick. So why waste height on trunk. Critters will get to yours trees regardless of height. Deer will eat your trees to the trunk if not protected by fence/cages.

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