I planted a peach tree, “Harrow Diamond”, last spring. It’s doing well, around 9 ft high and it bore 4 peaches last year. I’m wanting to know if i should prune it as is discussed online (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShNGGuO1x4E).
Do I need to prune 50% of the tree or do I need to give the tree more time to take root?
What a lovely, healthy speciman of Prunus persica ‘Harrow Diamond’ you have. Judicious pruning in its formative years will help it to develop a strong framework, which is critical to the long term health and productivity of the tree. In this regard, it is better to focus on the structure of the tree, than on the percentage of branches to remove. The goal is to end up with a mature tree that has 6-8 main scaffold branches and one leader that is well ahead of these scaffold branches.
This spring, choose a leader and remove any branches competing with it. Select four branches with wide crotch angles (ideally wider than 35 degrees) to be scaffold limbs, making sure that they are spaced evenly around the trunk (almost like the spokes of a cartwheel), and at least 5 inches apart vertically. Remove all remaining excess laterals.
Next year, select another 2 to 4 laterals to start a second tier of scaffold limbs, and again remove all remaining excess laterals. This way, by the fourth year your peach tree should have a clear leader and 6-8 scaffold limbs with good crotch angles. Going forward, all you need to do is maintain them and remove all excess branches that prevent light penetration to lower parts of the tree.
For more detailed information and advice on how to prune your peach tree, we encourage you to consult the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs fact sheet, see link below.