Reworking or Renovating Your Peach tree
Is your peach tree too high? It may be time to rework or renovate your peach tree.
As a peach tree grows and searches upward for the light, with a few years of light pruning, particularly lower in the canopy, it can grow too high to net or reach the fruit.
The solution? Lower the canopy of the tree to a vigorous shoot or shoots.
Keep in mind that fruit bears on second-year wood and reworking the entire tree would see no fruit this summer.
Best Approach to Renovate Your Peach Tree
So, the best way to approach the renovation of a peach tree is to work on one side this year and the other side next year. This will ensure you still have a crop to pick each year.
When renovating the other side of the tree next winter, you will need to thin out the oversupply of new shoots from last year’s heavy prune.
Failure to thin out the re-growth will nearly always lead to an oversupply of fruit on weak spindly wood that is prone to branch snapping and damage to the tree.
In contrast, thinning the re-growth (2 shoots out of 5) and shortening the shoots (crimson tips) to about 50% will redirect growth into less wood. Shortening the shoots that are left makes them stronger. Shorter shoots are less prone to snapping.
The other thing to watch out for is water shoots growing up the centre of the tree: strong and vigorous light-brown shoots. These can be taken out at any time during the growing season to avoid heavy pruning in winter.
The last piece of advice I will leave you with is fruit thinning. For a better crop, and to reduce stress on the tree if your peach tree is very heavy laden after fruit set, remove every second piece of fruit carefully to reduce the burden on the tree.
Favour the fruit closer to the trunk and remove fruit on the ends of branches that put more strain on the tree’s frame, particularly on a very young tree.
Happy peach growing!