Summer Hard Pruning of Peach

My Mom’s peach I’ve pruned open center over the course of four years. She finally got a wonderful crop this year. Naturally her tree had water sprouts and so much new growth at this time of the year that all the peaches were hidden and receive zero sunlight. Yesterday, I opened her tree up again and literally removed nearly all the new-growth so every peach is in direct sunlight. I mean I took everything off! There are plenty of leaves on every branch…I cut each shoot back to 3-buds or completely eliminated a shoot if spacing between it and another was within 4-6". So lots of leaves remain because I kept 3-buds, but that new growth of a foot or 2-3’ of growth is now 3-buds/none with3-5 leaves spaced well along a long branch.

Did I screw up? Some questions I have: Can the peaches burn? Should I have kept them at least partially shaded? The tree looks beautiful again just as it did after winter pruning. All horizontal branching.



Literally 80%-90% of foliage is gone. This is what it looks like as an accurate sketch.


If it’s that vigorous it will soon grow back. So I think you’ll be OK.

1 Like

So next time, remove half/2/3’s and don’t put the peaches into direct light? Same for apples, plums, etc?

Thank you,



My trees aren’t that vigorous so I haven’t done that kind of pruning. The guys that do get that kind of growth sometimes take it out in summer. Maybe Alan or Olpea will chime in as I think they are often in that camp.

I think it also depends on where you live, how hot the sun is in your area. I did like you did and never the branches or the fruit have not gotten any sun burn. Our sun is not very strong.

Peaches can and will sunburn, if you remove too much. I usually
just try to keep the middle open.

Well I’ll report back. I appreciate everyone’s response.

Thank you,



I’ve been pruning back trees myself now.

I would say it’s generally fairly rare for peaches to burn. They seem to take sunshine and heat fairly well.


Good to know. Especially you and I being in the Midwest with strong sunshine plus heat.

I really thought I was doing my Mom a favor! Then I realized I’m not apt in fruit tree growing quite yet. Sort of worried me, lol, as I bellow a few chuckles. I’ll admit, I was worried.



I probably should have clarified. The peaches themselves rarely sunburn here, but the trees themselves can sunburn and kill bark of large scaffolds.

The dark bark exposed to direct sun can get pretty hot, so a little shade can help. Alan has mentioned sunburn of scaffolds may also occur because there is less foliage to pull sap/water through the bark to keep it cool, which I agree.

I’ve had the most problems w/ sunburned scaffolds when I prune heavily before before the peak of summer.

Here in Arizona we have such a long grow season (generally 9-10 months) that if you are growing on decent rootstock the vigor is very high. For renewal pruning on peaches that fruit may-july we prune HARD right after the fruit come off. I mean we basically denude the tree back to the main scaffolds. 3 weeks later you would hardly know it happened.

Yes sunburn is a worry but the regrowth is so fast that its not really a issue for us, But I do realize that Arizona conditions are a bit odd and dont know how well it translates to the rest of the country.


Here, in the South, peaches WILL sunburn, if you over prune
before harvest.

1 Like