How to Train Peach Trees

Overview

Newly planted peach trees need regular training during the first two years of growth to establish a good shape. The open center or vase shape works well for peaches. This shape creates trees with a wide spread and open center to allow for sunlight and air to infiltrate the branches. Prune peach trees during the dormant season, when there are no leaves, or in early spring, after frost danger passes. After two years, the peach tree will be trained to its structure but will still need annual care to keep the vase shape.

Step 1

Choose three to four evenly-spaced limbs growing upward and out from the trunk to serve as scaffold or fruit-bearing limbs. Choose the scaffold limbs during the first year.

Step 2

Cut off all competing limbs or other limbs that will not serve as scaffold limbs. Cut back scaffold limbs to a length of 24 to 30 inches each, using anvil pruners.

Step 3

Remove suckers that grow along the tree trunk, since these sap energy from the fruit-bearing limbs.

Step 4

Allow the tree to grow for the rest of the first year and into the second year. Prune the tree again to train it late in winter when frost danger has passed.

Step 5

Choose one to two branches growing on the scaffold limbs and remove any other side branches that are growing. Cut back the chosen branches by half their length. Remove any branches that compete with the scaffold limbs as you did in the first year.

Step 6

Continue to promote the development of fruit-bearing limbs by removing competing limbs. Prune off upward growth and remove wood that crisscrosses other wood as the tree grows to prevent growth from shading the canopy.

Things You'll Need

  • Anvil pruners
  • Lopping shears

References

  • University of California Davis: Pruning & Training
Keywords: peach tree, train new tree, train peach tree

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.