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Old 03-24-2012, 07:56 AM
 
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we moved into a new home last year and inherited 3 peach trees. I'd say they are about 25-35 feet tall. they just bloomed out the past few weeks but many branches look either dead or only have leaves lower down on the branches. the biggest tree only has leaves on about 1/3 of the entire tree. is all hope lost? should I cut back all branches without new growth even if it means mangling the trees? I can provide pics if needed . thx
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Old 03-24-2012, 02:22 PM
 
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Since they're already coming out, it's too late to prune them - you'll make them susceptible to diseases and insects. Prune after the leaves drop in the fall.

If I were you I'd hire a pro to prune them properly the first time, then maintain it yourself after that.
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Old 03-25-2012, 06:21 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
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This fall douse them with a dormant oil spray.

Next winter begin pruning them.

Consider grafting. You can take scion from an upper tip and graft down low at the base of older limbs. Then a year later remove the old wood, leaving the young wood to thrive.
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Old 03-25-2012, 09:41 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gorfml View Post
we moved into a new home last year and inherited 3 peach trees. I'd say they are about 25-35 feet tall. they just bloomed out the past few weeks but many branches look either dead or only have leaves lower down on the branches. the biggest tree only has leaves on about 1/3 of the entire tree. is all hope lost? should I cut back all branches without new growth even if it means mangling the trees? I can provide pics if needed . thx


The trees sound pretty neglected and will need some big time pruning come next January. It is probably too late to do pruning if you are looking encourage a bumper crop of peaches but you can still clean up dead and damaged limbs now and do some pruning to reduce size, just don't expect much from the trees and watch for diseases. Many commercial orchards to pruning at other times so there is no hard and fast rule that one time only works. A good explanation for the how and where of pruning is here: Pruning Peach Trees - Home - Virginia Cooperative Extension Just keep in mind the "time" factor is for most of Virginia not where you live. Summer pruning advantages and disadvantages are also discussed here: Training and Pruning Fruit Trees

Your best resource would be a local authority since timing can be everything.

This for Texas specifically:
Quote:
Four Steps to Prune a Mature Peach Tree

Remove all hanger shoots, rootstock suckers, and water sprouts in the lower three feet of the tree. This removal of lower growth clears a path for herbicide applications and allows for air circulation.

Remove all shoots above seven feet in height other than red 18 - 24 inch fruiting shoots. Cuts need to be at selected points where the scaffold and sub-scaffold limbs extend upward at a 45 - 50-degree angle. Cuts which leave limbs sideways at a 90-degree angle should be avoided.
Remove all vigorous shoots which grow toward the inside of the tree.
Remove all old gray wood in the three to seven foot production zone.

Always remove bull shoots in the middle of the trees any time they develop. Summer pruning immediately after harvest can help reduce bull shoots in the top of the tree.

Peach pruning normally removes 40 percent of the tree each winter. This reduces the number of fruit on the tree and stimulates strong growth of fruiting wood each year. Proper pruning is one of the keys to a long peach tree life.

Pruning paint is not needed. Wear gloves, long sleeves, eye protection, and a cap which covers the ears to prevent injury.

Late-spring frost is the single greatest factor in Texas peach production, and pruning early in the year removes much of the flower bud crop that constitutes "insurance" against crop loss. The peach tree will bloom soon after pruning when chilling is satisfied and warm weather follows. Growers with only a few trees can wait until "pink bud" to prune while larger growers traditionally prune as late in the spring as they can while still allowing for enough time to complete the task. Mature peach trees often take 20 to 30 minutes to prune properly.
.... taken from:
Peach Production in Texas

How to Grow Fruit Trees in Austin - Peach Care is another good source of advice on caring for your trees with local knowledge.
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