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Peache growth patterns & pruning

Posted by Peter Fisher 
Peache growth patterns & pruning
May 05, 2013 04:47PM
I have a number of varieties of peaches, now in their 5th growing season. Some, like Hale Haven, actually behave like pictures in the textbook, with nice non-branched fruiting shoots mostly 8" to 16" long. Pruning is a breeze. Others, like Reliance have branches covered with friuting shoots from 1" to 8" long. If I followed the textbook recommendations, I would cut them all off. Obviously I didn't do that, opting to be guided by a principle of spacing (4 to 6 inches between shoots) as much as length and diameter of the shoot, and trying to judge how much fruit the branch will be able to support. Not sure if this is right.

Also, I have read "cut all fruting shoots 6" or shorter" and "prune fruiting shoots 3" to 6" long". The latter seems to make more sense, since the really short ones seem more like a fruit growing right on the branch. But do you want that or not?

Finally, I am wondering whether I can identify now the shoots that will become this year's new growth and next year's fruiting shoots. Some trees have vegetative (non-fruiting) shoots already appearing on the branches that I assume will become shoots. But for others, all of the shoots seem to be fruiting. If I cut off all the short ones, am I eliminating next year's fruit crop?

Yes I am just now pruning. The trees started blooming a few days ago, just before a spate of temperatures in the low thirties and lots of rain. I don't know if I have to worry about canker here, but I'd just as soon not find out the hard way.

Turkey Creek Orchard
Solon, Iowa (zone 5A)
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