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How to Prune Ornamental Peach Trees

Pruning an ornamental peach tree is very similar to pruning a peach tree intended for fruit production. The main difference is that you are pruning your tree for visual appeal rather than for fruit production. Creating a pleasing shape is more important than leaving heavy fruit-producing branches. By shaping the tree in the winter, you can create a well-balanced tree that flowers and fruits well the following spring and summer.

Prune your ornamental peach tree between January and February. Pruning your tree too early can reduce your tree's tolerance for cold for a week or two. Try to avoid pruning your tree before expected cold weather, as this could adversely affect flowering in the spring.

Prune your tree for overall shape and growth with a pair of sharp pruning shears or a pruning saw. When pruning branches, leave the branch collar and a small amount of the branch. This type of cut is called a "collar cut." The branch collar is the rounded area from which a branch grows. Collar cuts promote quicker healing and reduce the chances of disease entering the wound.

Remove any branches that cross or that are growing toward the ground. Encouraging upward growth will result in a more attractive, ornamental tree.

Prune deadwood at any time of the year. Deadwood in your ornamental peach tree will waste the tree's growth resources and energy.

Thin the upper branches to allow light to penetrate to lower branches during the growing season. Create a layered "Christmas tree" shape by heading upper branches. To head the upper branches, cut off the terminal bud and nearest smaller branch. This will likely encourage filling out of the upper branches, but creating smaller upper branches should allow sufficient sun to reach the lower branches. You can thin excessive growth in the upper branches the following winter. Upper branches should be smaller than branches in the middle of the tree. Lower branches should be the widest of all.


As you shape your tree, ensure that branches balance well, especially branches lower on the tree. If possible, branches should be on opposite sides of the tree to create a well-rounded shape.

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