Bred at the University of New Hampshire, the Reliant peach tree (Prunus persica) produces fruit at temperatures as low as -25 degrees Fahrenheit. The Reliant peach ripens in mid-August with freestone fruit, which is fruit that does not cling to the pit. Peach trees are pruned in late April to maintain the size and shape and to keep the interior of the tree open. Use the bypass pruners to cut shoots up to 3/4 inch in diameter, and the lopping shears for branches up to 1-and-3/4 inches in diameter. The pruning saw should handle the thicker branches, and the pole pruner will help you reach the upper branches.
Prune the young peach tree so that there are only three or four main branches, equally spaced around the Reliant peach tree. These are known as "scaffolding branches" and form the tree's structure. Cut all other branches back to the trunk. Cut the scaffolding branches to a length of 30 inches. Remove any shoots on the scaffolding branches that are less than 12 inches long, and any that are pointing up. Allow 50 to 75 shoots---ones with the thickness of a pencil---to remain on the Reliance peach tree, advises The University of Massachusetts Fruit Advisor.
Trim the juvenile (3 to 4 years) Reliant peach tree by cutting off any interior branches or shoots that are growing up, pointing toward the interior of the tree or those crossing over other branches.
Prune the mature, bearing Reliant peach tree by cutting the scaffolding branches back to an outward-growing lateral branch. The tree needs to remain between 9 and 10 feet in height. Remove any dead or diseased branches back to their points of origin. Cut off any branches that point toward the interior of the tree, cross over other branches or that are growing straight up.