Barbara Fetchenhier, Gardener - Heartland Harvest Garden, and volunteer RD Wood examine a peach tree in our nursery for pruning needs. With help from volunteers, Barb has meticulously planted and maintained nearly 1,200 shrubs and trees in our Heartland Harvest Garden nursery.
When pruning peaches she follows the 4 "D's." Prune out: Dead wood and Diseased wood, thin to reduce the Density of the tree for good fruit production and prune each branch to encourage its Direction of growth the coming season for the overall shape of the tree.
Barbara recommends pruning back approximately 50% of new (last season's) growth. Here you can see she is pointing just below the bud above which the pruning cut will be made. Note the bud faces outward (the trunk of the tree is to the right) so that this year's growth will continue outward, creating an open tree for fruit production. The cut is made just above the bud with an angle sloping away so water drips off away from the bud.
Each tree must be carefully pruned in such a manner and we have nearly 75 peaches and nectarines comprising over 50 cultivars to prune each late winter.
Finished peaches have an open spreading shape that will permit them to be very productive fruit trees in future seasons. Over 50 of our trees are scheduled to be transplanted to the Heartland Harvest Garden's peach spiral orchard this spring. Stay tuned to see them move and bloom in approximately five to six weeks!