Spring Peach Tree Pruning

It felt like it would never come. This seemingly endless Fairfax winter just wouldn't leave, every time we thought we’d seen the last of it. Amidst the particularly late snows some of us may have found ourselves quoting the Chronicles of Narnia: “Always winter, never Christmas.” But we can’t deny it any more – spring is finally here! This weekend was the first time it was really warm enough for my family to get out there and prune our peach trees.

Peach tree

It feels like we’re late in the game getting the trees pruned, but that’s really just because spring came so late. According to Wiki How:

“It is best to prune your peach trees in the early spring, after the last major cold snap of winter. Avoid pruning in very cold weather though, as this can reduce the trees’ cold-hardiness and total output of fruit.”

Despite it being mid-April, I think this still qualifies as “early spring”. Had we tried to prune any earlier (some suggest pruning as early as February) the trees probably would have been damaged from the cold.

So. We understand that we need to avoid pruning peach trees in the cold. But why do we need to prune them at all in the first place? Shouldn’t nature just run its course? Technically, yes. But a fruit tree only produces its best-quality fruit when we help it along. For example, one year we forgot to spray our peach trees for bugs. Come August I don’t think we got even one good peach out of the bunch. Caring for your trees is important, and with an adult tree it starts with pruning. Provident Living explains the benefits of peach tree pruning:

• Pruning a peach tree opens up the tree and allows sunlight to shine on the fruit. This is important for healthy fruit production.
• If you’re going to spray your trees for diseases or pests, an open tree helps with equal coverage.
• Peach twigs can be killed in one growing season by too much shading. If there’s too much shade, eventually no fruiting wood will be present in the lower part of the tree.

Need some tips on peach tree pruning? This video should help you out: