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 How to prune a spindly peach? 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2011 3:28 pm
Posts: 2
Post How to prune a spindly peach?
Hi all,

I just bought a potted peach tree. It was on sale -- a remnant from last season. Of course, I read all about how to prune it *after* I bought it.

The thing is, it's about 4'6" , and has no side branches. It just has a crown of tiny branches on the upper 6" or so.

As I understand it, I need to prune that central leader to about 30", in order to start shaping it into a vase shape.

Is that the right move? I'm afraid such a severe cut will kill it! :|

Also, when should I plant it? I live in Phoenix, Arizona.

The poor tree is so confused now. It started going dormant. But then it got warm again, and started putting forth new growth.

Thanks!


Wed Nov 30, 2011 8:46 am
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1149
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: How to prune a spindly peach?
Here in Oregon, the Willamette Valley in particular, I’d recommend waiting until late spring before cutting it back to the 30 inches you described. Within the bark are ‘latent buds’ waiting to sprout if the tree is damaged. Your homework sounds right, as a ‘vase shape’ is the typical form for a peach tree.

As the tree would be dormant, you’d not be weakening it by removing the upper portion. In fact, so much root is lost during the ‘harvesting / transplanting’ process for sale it’s a good idea to remove some of the upper portion to balance it out with the root system.

My only question is when is a deciduous fruit tree dormant in Phoenix, Arizona? If someone else can tell you/us when that occurs, right before it begins its next season’s growth would be the time to prune.

A major problem here in the Pacific NW are the multitude of infections that attack peach trees, so leaving an open wound for any length of time is not a good practice. If you were to immediately paint or seal the cut, which is basically going to leave you with a thirty inch ‘pole,’ that should adequately protect the wound. As the weather warms and growth begins it should push out several new shoots very near the cut. These will become its limbs. Protect them!

Otherwise, keep us posted

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Wed Nov 30, 2011 10:04 pm
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2011 3:28 pm
Posts: 2
Post Re: How to prune a spindly peach?
Thanks so much! Your explanation has put my mind much more at ease. 8)

According to another site (which I can't link to because of forum restrictions :| ), peaches go dormant in January here. Bud break begins in early February.

It also says that potted trees should be planted in late Fall, so that it can grow its roots before Spring.

Should I prune it in January, and then wait until Fall to put it in the ground? Maybe re-pot it in a larger pot in the meantime? Or just go for it, and plant it while it's dormant.

Thanks again for your advice. :mrgreen:


Thu Dec 01, 2011 7:46 am
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1149
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: How to prune a spindly peach?
It’s advised ‘up here’ to prune peaches after they’ve bloomed, to keep infections to a minimum as the flowing sap will immediately seal/heal the wound. In your case, you don’t want any stored energy going into the upper portion of the tree, as you’d be removing it.

Plant it now, that will give it’s roots the opportunity to ‘dig in.’ And ‘to you,’ this is likely “late Fall.” I’d lop off the top in late January, perhaps sealing the cut with something meant for that purpose – though it seems a shame to buy a quart of ‘tree heal or seal’ for just one cut. Interior latex pain dabbed over the cut would likely work fine.

Good questions, good luck, and you’re welcome 8)

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Thu Dec 01, 2011 8:30 am
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Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 10:57 am
Posts: 1348
Location: Portland, OR
Post Re: How to prune a spindly peach?
Only prune stone fruit, like peaches, when it is dry and not raining to not let infections in.
John S
PDX OR


Sat Dec 10, 2011 8:14 pm
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