Young peach pruning recommendations

Hi pruning experts,

I just purchased this tree because I was finally able to find the variety I’m looking for. But to my naive eye it seems to have been pruned almost backwards, with several viable scaffolds totally cut off or cut at 6" and a center fork encouraged. It looks like the tree is a couple of years old with the trunk being around 1"+ in diameter.

For reference, the height to the fork is 32" and there is 40" of growth above that.

What would be the best way to handle this situation once it’s in the ground?



Use limb spreaders to open the top an notch above the lower nodes to encourage new limbs.

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This why I would never buy a older peach tree. The fork is too tight to work with and way to high in my opinion. Some folks recommend you just lob it off at 18" and hope you get a few scaffolds. I assume you want an Open Center?

I would likely cut it off 4-5 inches above the lowest branch. Then work with shoots that come off. I have used a 4 scaffold system but now with I had used just 3 scaffolds.

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Thanks to both. @Paddy yes open center which I am gathering is a popular way to prune. I’m surprised that the grower (Dave Wilson Nursery, which I thought had a decent reputation) would sell trees like this. I may try some combination of the approaches recommended plus enzymes to encourage lower scaffold growth, and slowly cut back the upper limbs so the tree doesn’t have zero foliage. Then if/when I can get some lower limbs I can cut off the top of the tree.

I need to get that plant hormone thread started this weekend.

Looks like few of the bottom-most branches may be suitable for scaffolds.

If so, you might try pinching off all growing points (yellow-green leaves) in the upper canopy leaving only active growing points on the bottom-most branches, where the tree is forced to focus its resources. New buds will pop up in the upper canopy in 2-3 weeks, at which point you can pinch again if the strategy is working.

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