You've got a mature backyard peach tree. Does your peach tree look like the pictured one below? Proper pruning is one of the keys to a long peach tree life and large, juicy peaches. Now is a good time to prune! Mature peach trees take about 20 to 30 minutes to prune properly.
Before I jump into the steps, why prune?
1. To maintain tree form to an open center for light penetration and air circulation
2. To reduce the number of fruit on the tree and stimulate growth of a healthy canopy
3. To make handpicking fruit from the ground manageable
4. To remove dead or diseased shoots or non-fruitful water sprouts
5. To make a clear path for ground herbicide applications
Dormant pruning invigorates growth of a healthy canopy to produce the current season's crop and allow for a good production potential for the following year.
How do you get your tree to look like the one pictured above? Keep reading.
Four Steps to Prune a Mature Peach Tree
1. Keep one-year-old, red, 18 - 24 inch bearing shoots.
2. Remove all hanger shoots, rootstock suckers, and water sprouts in the lower three feet of the tree.
3. Top the tree at 7-8 feet in height by making lateral cuts to the ground.
Cuts need to be at selected points where the scaffold and sub-scaffold limbs extend up-ward at a 45 - 50-degree angle. Cuts which leave limbs sideways at a 90-degree angle should be avoided.
4. Remove all water sprouts which grow toward the inside of the tree.
5. Remove all old gray wood in the 3 - 7 foot production zone.
Peach pruning normally removes about 40% of the tree each year. The peach tree will bloom soon after pruning when chilling is satisfied and warm weather follows.
For more detailed information visit: aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/fruit-nut/files/2010/10/peaches.pdf