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 Peach pruning, bud and blossom thinning 
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Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2015 8:29 am
Posts: 1
Post Peach pruning, bud and blossom thinning
Good day everyone! I had just a few questions about thinning and pruning properly. I've been working with many trees for the past year now starting out raking prunings, bud thinning, blossom thinning, picking and now winter pruning. I absolutely have fallen in love with this orchard and want to be the best that I can be at this. I've been a handyman for the past ten years and have always grown gardens so I have a green thumb, I just havent always had the dirt. Now that I've gotten a feel for all seasons picking peaches I want to be doing it until my bones collapse!
Down to the questions. Does a heading cut on new growth cause feathering as the end dies or if cut right in front of the next bud give it the right stuff to seal the end of the branch properly? One could assume it's the vertical growth that causes this because that's what I'm seeing, water sprouts and new trees tallest leader shooting off skimpy non fruiting growth. Right? The reason I ask is that another inexperienced coworker relayed to me that when I make those cuts the branch splits off but he could have been mis informed. I've seen a few pros make heading cuts on baby trees to fruiting wood and its the last step in the pruning to strengthen the overlong branch and reduce fruit blossom thinning and end placement. Right or wrong?
I have endless questions for pruning that would be most beneficial to the tree but for now I'm confident with my cuts.
Before bud thinning season gets here I want to get more efficient with hand thinning for easier blossom thinning. I've noticed many buds were left on the ends and crotches with most of the branch surface brushed off leaving fruit blossoms in bad spots. I want every single row to be most productive come harvest. We grow softball sized peaches here and I want to keep it that way! I know spacing and placement of fruiting buds is high in man hours if done too carefully but why not try harder to keep the good buds on before the leaves come leaving extra for a potential freeze and massively reducing hours spent clearing fruit from it's hiding places?
Another question would be split pits. Would it be the best to place a peach on a 45 versus underneath because of rainwater deposits followed by dry heat to allow better drainage off the stem? I threw a lot of giant split peaches on the ground after taking a bite of each one because I couldn't bear to waste it for we don't sell split peaches for some reason. Every single split pit was infested with an earwig so I get why. They don't bother me, just extra protein! I've heard of trace amounts of cyanide in the seed. Is this true?! Scary seeing most of the flesh In my freezer was from split peaches. I've made several pies and smoothies, so far I'm alive. I prefer the split peaches because they were the biggest and they gave me a euphoric feeling, maybe I was just drunk on peaches he he!
I'd prefer those pits to not split so that customers at the market dont have earwigs crawl up the side of their face! Anyone have thoughts to peach placement? I dont want to see a massive june drop because of peaches hanging on the side or branches twisting either, an on top the sun can ripen too fast I think before the stone is free.
Thanks for reading and any thoughts on these issues! Have a peachy day!

Sun Jan 11, 2015 9:36 am

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 10:57 am
Posts: 1406
Location: Portland, OR
Post Re: Peach pruning, bud and blossom thinning
There is a small amount of cyanide in the pit. For that reason, some people believe that they are effective in fighting cancer. Apricot pits are supposed to be even more effective. This is a controversy. Sometimes called vitamin B17 or laetrile. It's kind of a Big Pharma versus grassroots alternative cancer cures.

Not many people grow peaches on the west side of the Cascades because our rainy springs give them diseases.

You have tons of questions about pruning. You might want to come to the pruning class this year.
John S

Sun Jan 11, 2015 11:45 am

Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1186
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Peach pruning, bud and blossom thinning
Peachykeen - and welcome to our Forum 8) I was just asked, “How do you tell someone how to prune,” “Shouldn’t they watch you?” I said, ‘if they’ve a basic knowledge,’ as you apparently do, a lot can be described ...though nothing beats watching it done…

I’m not yet aware of your location, but in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, where our Society began, growing peaches is difficult due to our damp weather. I’ve gone through around 6 peach trees in 30 years, and have given up. I prune some neighboring trees, however, and trek to U-Pick orchards for my own.

You ask: “Does a heading cut on new growth cause feathering as the end dies or if cut right in front of the next bud give it the right stuff to seal the end of the branch properly?”

Every heading cut should be made “right in front of the next bud.” Not sure if you mean current growth, as in during the growing season, or when dormant, and ‘hardened off.’ But either way, it should be in front of a growth bud headed in the direction you’d like the limb to grow (usually down). Dieback can occur if extremely cold weather hits shortly after pruning, around here, that’s very rare.

I’d read it suggested to prune peach trees after they bloom, and have begun doing that on my neighbor’s two trees. But, that’s only 2 trees, not 30… It allows their cut ends to ‘seal & heal’ almost instantly, as ‘juice’ is already flowing so doesn't allow various infections to enter the end cut. It seems to be working well, though very tricky to ‘put off,’ then hit hard before the emerging leaves are damaged by material removal.

...I’m only hoping I’m ‘getting’ your following questions… so will attempt to answer them. Watershoots are worthless, other than for scion wood, which you’ve no need. Cut them off flush with the branch or limb they’ve gown from. Occasionally, I’ll literally tie over (with string) a ‘well placed’ watershoot to replace or create another limb; one year at a new angle and it will remain stationary.

The tip or ‘terminal bud’ on a shoot gives off a hormone that suppresses the growth of the buds ‘below,’ or closer to the tree. That allows for the wild unpruned ‘straight up’ habit of neglected fruit trees. Pruning (or removing) the terminal bud encourages the development and growth of the buds ‘below’ it, as they’ll each send out less vigorous shoots in various directions; a good thing! That’s one of the reasons to prune, to create a constant supply of what will become ‘fruiting’ wood as opposed to vegetative growth.

I’ve no experience with ‘bud thinning’ or ‘blossom thinning.’ Around here, snapping off buds would create yet another disease entry point, at least in my mind… Blossom thinning would depend on fruit set, which ‘around here’ is often spotty… I’d wait for an obvious fruit set, then hand thin. Home Orchardists can do this, it’s our hobby. Commercially… depends on how many trees.

“Another question would be split pits. Would it be the best to place a peach on a 45 versus underneath because of rainwater deposits followed by dry heat to allow better drainage off the stem?”

That one’s got me puzzled…

Split pits and earwigs - that I can relate to! Split pits are more likely a characteristic of the cultivar or variety than the result of orchard practices, from what I’ve experienced. And, as mentioned - they’re the best peaches! My assumption is they’re the ones that grew the fastest, or fullest, thus are the largest and richest - having literally bursted their seam! And Earwigs aren’t stupid ...and I’ve always considered it one of life’s thrills to have an earwig scamper from a warm sweet peach - people just have to accept that :shock:

I’ve heard the same with regard to cyanide in the seeds, so have avoided eating them, though tender as they are... Strange, aren’t Almond's the seed of a close relative of the Peach … yet no cyanide :?:

You’ve obviously discovered the joy of Peaches and are apparently willing to spread it ...beautiful :P

Temperate Orchard Convservancy:

Sun Jan 11, 2015 12:56 pm

Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1186
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Peach pruning, bud and blossom thinning
HP - FYI, we are currently experiencing an extremely high level of Spam attempts. And our current posting configuration requires a second moderator OK for your second post to appear. As is, we can’t distinguish yours from over 2 thousand spam posts (though they don’t show up here).

If you respond or have responded, and we don’t find it, ‘save it’ if you can, and please try again later. I’m sorry ...but now have a taste of what ‘SONY Inc.’ must have felt like :|

Temperate Orchard Convservancy:

Mon Jan 12, 2015 10:02 pm

Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 11:28 pm
Posts: 498
Location: Willamette Valley near Scio
Post Re: Peach pruning, bud and blossom thinning
Hempsters Palidise,

Interesting user name! Are you sure you didn't mean Paradise?

anyway,you aren't that far off because look what all is related:

Moraceae -- mulberry
Ulmaceae -- elms
Urticaceae -- nettles
Cannabaceae -- hemp & hops
Figs, Cudriana, and Maclura also.

Fri Jan 23, 2015 6:11 pm
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