Growing peach trees in your yard is a great way to watch flowers and fruit grow. Do you wonder if summer is a good season for pruning your tree? How do you prune peach trees? We've researched these questions and have answers for you!
You should prune your peach tree minimally in the summer. To get started, you want to:
- Locate any lateral branches on your peach tree.
- Find branches pointing upwards and remove them.
- Clean the interior of your peach tree, removing any excess branching that blocks sunlight and airflow.
- Prune any branches that touch the ground (this can encourage insects and disease).
- Remove branches that block the light from your tree's middle and lower sections.
- Top off your peach tree, removing the highest branches that shoot upwards.
Treat summer pruning as a way to get rid of any undesirable side growth your peach tree experienced in the spring.
In this article, we will cover all things peach trees and show you how to prune them. Whether you have one, two, or many peach trees in your yard, we're here to offer some guidance. With that said, let's dive right into this topic!
Should You Prune A Peach Tree In The Summer?
Most people do not give their peach trees a heavy pruning in the summer. But giving yours a light trim during this time can be helpful. Generally, you want to treat summer pruning as a post-spring clean-up.
During the spring season, your peach tree will see an explosion of growth. Therefore, removing any branching that blocks the fruit-bearing portions of your tree is a good idea.
You want to focus on cleaning up your peach tree, not heavily shaping it. Most gardeners will remove branches that shoot upwards, keeping any with a lateral growth pattern.
That's because your peach tree will have many layers or canopies. Most peach trees have three growing sections: the top, middle, and bottom.
So, you need to go into your tree in the earlier summer and clean up all three areas of your plant. Luckily, this should not take more than 10-15 minutes, as you aren't doing heavy removal.
Additionally, we recommend getting all summer pruning done by early July.
How Do I Prune My Peach Tree?
Typically, you only need a heavy-duty pair of garden shears to remove small-medium size branches on your plant. We recommend examining each section of your tree. Start at the bottom, moving to the top or crown.
If you notice any branches touching the ground, cut them off first. Even if fruit might have formed along those bottom branches, having it too close to the soil can invite animals and disease to your tree. Keep a foot or more of space between the last level of branches and the soil.
Next, you want to move to the center of your peach tree. Locate any branches that grow upwards, shooting out from one central branch.
Your peach tree's branches should be lateral, meaning they grow outwards, not upwards. After cleaning up the middle area, start on the top of your tree. You may need a ladder.
Focus on any upward-growing branches, removing them if possible. Especially for smaller peach trees, you want to ensure the top of your tree has a few central branches, not too many.
Check out this video for more information.
Do I Have To Prune My Peach Tree In The Summer?
You don't have to prune a peach tree during summer. However, doing this is an excellent way to train younger trees to grow outwards versus upwards and tangled: so in that way, it's beneficial.
As we covered, your peach tree should have three main growing sections. In the summer, you can see what grew during the spring in each of these areas.
Summer trimming should not be intense by any means. According to experts, over-pruning a peach tree in the summer before it blooms can cause fruit to be scarce.
Specifically, pruning your tree after mid-July will not boost flower bud development. Therefore, if you missed that cut-off, we recommend waiting until your tree's dormant period (winter) or before the growing season in early spring.
Most fruit trees don't respond to aggressive pruning before they bloom, which is the same for peach trees. If possible, try and give your peach tree light shaping in the summer, and then wait until the spring for any heavy-duty branch removal.
When Should You Not Prune A Peach Tree?
Peach trees typically produce fruit in late June through August, depending on where you grow them.
Therefore, your pruning should happen before that period. You want to remove branches or foliage that may disturb fruit growth but nothing significant in the summer.
And if you only have one or two peach trees versus an orchard, you might be fine pruning at the start of March without any issues.
Can You Prune Peach Trees In The Fall?
We don't recommend pruning a peach tree in the fall. As mentioned, your peach tree will begin fruiting in late summer through August, meaning the fall is your tree's most harvestable period.
Therefore, removing anything from your peach tree while it's focusing on fruit production isn't a good idea. Like removing branches in the spring when they're actively growing, removing them during fruit production is equally as damaging.
With that said, you can usually begin pruning in the late fall and early winter as your peach tree approaches dormancy. Many experts claim the late fall (October-November) is a good time to start cutting back leggy or dead sections of your peach tree.
In the winter months, your tree will respond best to heavy pruning.
While it's dormant, you don't have to worry about damaging the fruit production for next year or causing your tree to stop growing because that has already happened.
If possible, wait until the leaves begin falling from your peach tree and no fruit is left before you start pruning it.
What Happens If I Don't Prune My Peach Tree?
Although letting nature take its course with your peach tree sounds like a good idea, this can harm its health and fruit production.
If you don't prune your tree, you open the door to disease, over-fruiting, leggy branches, and a long-term less productive flowering and fruiting cycle.
Many peach tree growers claim that neglecting your plant will lead to lower-quality peaches. Even if your tree makes a great amount of fruit because you didn't shape it and remove excess branches, that doesn't mean they'll be tasty.
In contrast, the peaches from your tree may be smaller, less sweet, or unable to ripen fully. Your peach tree can't sustain that much fruit and branch growth.
Pruning your tree each year keeps it from becoming overwhelmed, ultimately creating better fruit and fuller, healthier foliage. So, at the very least, make sure and prune your peach tree once annually.
How Fast Do Peach Trees Grow?
A peach tree should grow between 12 and 24 inches each year. Although this growth rate will vary depending on climate, care, and the age of your tree, peach trees are relatively fast growers.
On top of that, a peach tree needs at least 12 inches of annual growth to produce a bountiful harvest. Therefore, if your tree is having trouble growing and maturing, there could be issues when the late summer and fall arrive.
We recommend fertilizing your peach tree with a natural organic fertilizer at the start of spring to encourage better growth leading into the fall.
Early spring pruning can also help promote growth. Cutting the branches back in winter is another excellent time to encourage a spring growth spurt, so try and do this while it's cold outside.
To Wrap Up
Whether you have a peach tree in your yard or want to plant one, it's always good to know how to care for it. We found that you can prune a peach tree in the summer if you keep it minimal.
Ideally, you will remove any upward-shooting branches from your peach tree, focusing on preserving the lateral growth. You also want to clean up the bottom layer of your tree, pruning any ground-touching vegetation.
The best time for heavy pruning is in the early spring or during the winter while your tree is dormant.
Want to read more garden articles? Check these out below!