Unbalanced new growth

How do I correct the unbalanced growth of this newly planted peach tree?

There was an initial limb up top that died back and I ended up pruning it down closer to the remaining 2. The obvious dominant limb is really taking off and seems to be taking vigor away from its opposite partner. Where can I prune to rebalance this…or wait until next spring to address this? There are also 2 buds pushing small leaves below but not really doing anything. I will probably pinch off the one closer to the graft union and leave the one in the middle hoping it will push out to be my potential 3rd permanent scaffold.

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Gently tie up the left side branch up on a stake so that it becomes the leader. Also, for peaches don’t use expanders to bend the branch horizontally, let the branch grow up in 45* angle.


I would prune it back too. Summer pruning reduces vigor. Winter pruning increases it. You can just pinch it no need to remove very much.

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Thank you both. I will do a combination of both by tipping it a bit and elevating the other branch.

This is more than a “pinch”, but I’m thinking I would have to take at least this much off in order to make it lower than the other branch once I stake it up to be the leader. Or were you thinking just nipping the 1st set of leaves would be enough?

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No what you say will work better. I was being conservative.

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Keep it. If it grows a in at a good angle lob off all the growth above during winter and let it form your new central. Don’t think about it as losing a years growth. Think about it as putting a years growth into the roots that will just accelerate the growth of your new central next spring. Peaches rebound really fast

Thanks. I’ll keep it for sure and hope it will be a 3rd scaffold if it takes off rather than a new central. If not, I’ll rid of it and keep these 2 as a perpendicular V. Not my preferred structure I was hoping for, but it will be a cool experiment.

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Unless you’ve an espalier in mind, don’t train the branches horizontal, typically peaches grow in good angles going upwards. I did the something last year learning to train and the tree ended up weird. Buy the pruning book from Martin Sanford. https://www.amazon.com/Prune-Fruit-Trees-Sanford-Martin/dp/B000JVY8U8

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You just want it to grow at a good angle to be a new central. It will take off once you remove the 2 existing scaffolds. Given no choice it will pump all the energy into the lower shoot.

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Yeah I’m a no central leader type of open bowl kinda guy. I also like horizontal branching. I prefer they go sideways not up. No wrong way just how you like your scaffolds to look like. :+1:

Look at the left scaffold see that secondary scaffold? It’s one foot above the ground. I had room in that direction. See the tertiary scaffold coming towards the camera lens? It’s about two to over three feet high. That’s Arctic Jay. I try to develop strong secondary and tertiary scaffolds on each scaffold. This tree has six cultivars

Plenty of other scaffolds at all kinds of angles one secondary is a water sprout graft of a Pluot.

Another example look at the left scaffold.it goes horizontal for two feet and with heavy thinning to let it get strong and thick. That will hold a hell of a lot of fruit and no ladder needed. This is how I like my trees.

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love the tree. But do you think the best way bombers to get that is to get the new leader going and head off when it has enough buds to grow good scaffolds.

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That’s a fine approach agreed. Developing scaffolds is extremely difficult. You think it would be easy but it’s not! I really didn’t get what you were saying before, now I do. Yes it makes a lot of sense. My method is loved by squirrels some under no circumstances should grow the trees like I do. My dogs are out there waiting for squirrels to try. Rabbits are so afraid if my dogs they are a complete non issue they don’t ever come in the yard. Squirrels though do all the time. So one has to consider pest pressure too when shaping a tree. .
The Backyard orchard culture calls for earlyheading cut to shape trees and I do this. Your approach is often needed on two year old trees as the lower buds are lost quickly. I just got a nectaplum free from Isons as they sent me the wrong tree two years ago. I still don’t know what it is? So I got a one year old whip with tons of active buds.i cut it at 22 inches or so. Buds are breaking fairly well. I will work with what’s left. This is such an ornamental tree with the biggest nectarines I ever saw. I lost my first in a flood. I’m extremely happy to have another. Those top buds with try and be the new leader but I’ll prune to an outward bud. Knock the vigor right out of them. I’m done with a central leader at this point.

The upper buds will be pruned during the summer to knock down vigor. The lower buds will be pruned to develop secondary and tertiary scaffolds but only early spring when still dormant to increase vigor in the lower buds.
Best way I have found to deal with apical dominance
Seems like when dormant the plant has time to get the growth hormones to the cuts way before it breaks dormancy. But when growing you cut away the tip full of hormones and it takes time to get them to the new tip. As we all see it takes days before they start growing after a cut.

Periodic pruning restores the rhythm of flushing, breaking the apical dominance and inducing the dormant buds from below to grow, which restores the vigor and size of shoots. Pruning involve judicious knifing once the plants have been

Above is from

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Thank you both for the ideas and examples. I went ahead and thin it back 2-3 set of leaves and hiked the other branch up to about 60*. I will assess the growth throughout the summer and hopefully end up with 2 or more ideal permanent scaffolds heading into next year. In hindsight, I should’ve head it lower during planting and rid of the 3 branches instead. My other peach that I was more aggressive with is exploding with way more branches than what I know to do with.

Since we’re here. I also have an asian pear that is problematic to 1 side as well. I’m not sure what’s in my water haha. It did have 1 vigorous branch on the right side, but it broke off. I’ve tried notching a few places but it was a bit too late and nothing else really budded. What can I do in this situation? I’m afraid I’ll have to wait until next late winter/spring to induce some buds and have it play catch up with this season’s growth?

You didn’t get much new growth probably because there were no viable buds, which happens with peach nectarines where once they lose viable buds they don’t come back. Some varieties are more prone to this blind wood than others. You can see that with Drew’s SpiceZee as well it’s kinda bare for the most part. Happened to me this year with Suncrest, the tree only leafed out closer to the graft union, I removed 3ft of trunk and will train a new trunk with one of the buds that came from the base. Buy the book I linked above, you will learn a whole lot of knowledge for $20. Looks like the pear has 3-4 shoots, thats all you need to grow a productive tree. The overgrowth on one side is probably due to direction of sun exposure, the shoot that gets most of the sun grows faster and bigger shading out others.