How to Prune New Dwarf Elberta Peach Trees

Overview

The dwarf Elberta peach tree is known and loved for the tastiness of its fruit and its resistance to disease. This disease resistance means it can be grown organically. You will not have to use chemical sprays to control disease. A mature tree will reach a height of 15 feet and a width of 10 feet. It is hardy in zones 5 to 8. Sometimes a newly planted peach tree will need to be pruned to remove dead, diseased or broken branches, to develop the open-center structure or to remove shoots within the canopy of the tree.

Step 1

Cut away any dead, damaged or broken branches as soon as possible. Make your cut at the breaking point or by removing the entire branch--this is dependent upon the location and is strictly a judgment call. Be sure to make a clean cut. Do not leave any ragged edges. Clean cuts allow the tree to heal properly. This should be done when necessary. The tree does not need to be in its dormant stage.

Step 2

Prune a newly planted dwarf Elberta peach tree to 18 to 30 inches above ground level. this pruning should be done when the tree is dormant. The best time is after the final freeze and when the leaves have not yet appeared on the tree. This is usually in mid- to late February.

Step 3

Choose three or four lateral branches to be your scaffold branches. You want to develop an inverted umbrella shape to the tree structure (open center). So the branches that you choose should be evenly spaced around the center of the tree (forming the spokes of the umbrella), and when planted the lowest limb should be approximately 15 inches from ground level.

Step 4

Prune off any other lateral branches by cutting them off at the trunk of the tree. Locate the branch collar (this is on the under side of the branch where it connects to the trunk) and the branch bark ridge (this is on the top side of the branch where it connects to the trunk) of the branch or branches that you are going to cut away. Cut just in front of the branch bark ridge and the branch collar, leaving the branch bark ridge and the branch collar intact.

Step 5

Remove any upward-growing shoots or shoots that are crossing over within the canop by cutting them off at their origin (either from a branch or from the trunk). You want the canopy to be open in the center--remember, like an inverted umbrella.

Tips and Warnings

  • When pruning, make the cut on a diagonal so that water will run off of the cut and not into the freshly cut branch. If water is allowed to drain into the branch there is a good chance of rot.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand pruning shears
  • Lopping shears
  • Pole pruner
  • Tree saw

References

  • Alabama Cooperative Extension System
  • Tulsa Master Gardeners
  • Fast Growing Trees Nursery
Keywords: dwarf Elberta peach tree, prune dormant lateral branches, dead damaged open center

About this Author

Paula M. Ezop’s inspirational columns "Following the Spiritual Soul" appeared in Oconee Today, a Scripps Howard publication. She has published her first book, "SPIRITUALITY for Mommies." "From Death to Living in the Light" and "Spiritual Intelligence" will be released by Eglomerate.com. Ezop has a BA degree from Northeastern Illinois University and has been writing for 10 years.