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Peach pruning in the fall is a serious battle for gardeners. It is often convenient to prune trees in the fall, when the movement of sap has stopped and the plants have fallen into hibernation. But among other gardeners, there is an opinion that the peach is the only tree that can neither be pruned nor transplanted in the fall. All procedures with him should be carried out only in the spring.
In the southern regions, where peaches are grown on an industrial scale, pruning is carried out in the fall. It is more profitable from a practical point of view. There is plenty of time for the operation and you can take your time.
When to prune a peach: fall or spring
Due to differences of opinion, the question "is it possible to cut the peach in the fall or is it better to wait until spring" is not at all idle. There is no big trouble in the south, even if the tree dies. When cultivating peaches in the north, it will be difficult to come to terms with the death of a seedling.
The main argument of opponents of autumn pruning of peach: the tree will not have time to heal the inflicted wounds, and they will be damaged by frost. Even a video of peach trimming in the fall is very scarce on the net. Mainly there is a spring pruning operation.
But with proper preparation of the tree for the winter, it is more profitable to cut the peach in the fall:
- the movement of the juices has already stopped;
- the wound will have time to dry out before frost;
- in spring, the plant will not waste energy on redistributing juices through other channels after pruning and the yield will be higher;
- all juices will immediately go to the development of the remaining kidneys;
- an already cut peach is easier to cover for the winter with the crown than an overgrown peach.
Peach is one of the trees that can produce whips up to 3 m long over the summer. This is another reason why in the south they prefer to prune peaches in the fall. In the spring, through muddy mud, these whips will be impossible to carry from the plantations. If at the same time it is good to insulate the seedling for the winter, then the frost will not be able to damage the cuts.
Important! In the northern regions, peach trees should not be allowed to grow 3-4 meters in height.
The crown must be shaped so that the plant remains 1.5-2 m high. In this case, it will be easy to cover the peach completely for the winter, and not just the trunk.
Why Autumn Pruning Increases Yields
The peach wakes up early enough and the pruning is usually done on an already flowering plant. This procedure causes the plant to sharply redirect sap to other buds after pruning. The pressure of the juices at this time is very strong and the tree is under stress. The result of any stress is a decrease in crop yield.
If you "pity" the plant and leave it without pruning, the tree will tie a lot of fruits, which will be small. And horizontal skeletal branches under the weight of leaves and fruits can break. This situation is well illustrated by the video of how to crop a peach incorrectly in the fall, more precisely, the video explains why it is necessary to prune peaches in the fall and what happens if this is not done.
When to prune peaches in the fall
Pruning of peaches in the fall begins after harvesting the fruits, when the sap flow has already stopped, but before the onset of cold weather. On average, this is the end of September - beginning of October. In the south, this cold comes much later than this time and the tree will have time to recover from the procedure. In the north, depending on climatic conditions, pruning is carried out earlier, and the plant itself is insulated for the winter.
Preparation of tools and materials
For proper pruning of peaches in the fall (and not only in the fall), tools must be sharpened and cleaned of rust. Pruners and loppers should not loosen the branches when pruning, but leave an even cut. Therefore, they are used only on branches of relatively small diameter.
In autumn, in parallel, they carry out not only pruning, which forms the crown of the tree, but also sanitary. When sanitary, dry and diseased branches are removed. Trees are infected not only with pathogenic fungal microorganisms, but also with a full-fledged woody fungus. If peaches can be cured of the first by spraying them with fungicides in the fall, then the second is guaranteed to kill the plant.
The mycelium of a woody fungus can be brought onto a healthy plant if, after removing a diseased branch, a healthy one is immediately cut off. Spores of the fungus also sit well on fresh slices.
Therefore, in order to properly prune a peach in the fall, you will need not only tools, but also disinfectant materials:
- solution of potassium permanganate or Bordeaux liquid;
- composition for covering the slices.
Before pruning, tools are soaked for half an hour in a strong solution of potassium permanganate or 3% Bordeaux liquid. Then the instruments are taken out and allowed to dry naturally. After drying, the cutting edges are wiped with alcohol. After the alcohol has evaporated, you can start pruning the peaches.
Of the trimming tools you will need:
- secateurs with long, tightly closing blades. Used for cutting branches with a diameter of not more than 2.5 cm;
- the lopper is an analogue of the pruner, but with long handles that act as a lever. Used for branches with a diameter of no more than 5 cm;
- garden knife;
- scissors for wood. Should be all-metal, with rounded blade ends. Used to cut thin branches that thicken the crown too much;
- garden saw. For some reason, it is often called a hacksaw. It has an arc shape and is designed for cutting the thickest branches.
After the end of the work, all sections are treated with Bordeaux liquid or a weak solution of potassium permanganate and covered with beeswax or garden varnish. If there is no wax or varnish, oil paint will do. The main task is to create an airtight barrier between the environment and a fresh cut and prevent pathogenic microorganisms from penetrating into the wood. The video for beginners shows you pruning a peach in the fall.
Pruning peaches in the fall: schemes
Peaches should not be allowed to grow in height, otherwise the crop will only be at the top of the tree. For good fruiting and the convenience of collecting fruits, the crown can be formed of two types:
- in the form of a bush.
The latter is more difficult in pruning and crown formation, but more convenient for harvesting.
For beginners, this scheme for pruning peaches in the fall is not suitable. It will be much more convenient to form a bowl-shaped or improved bowl-shaped crown.
The cup-shaped crown is based on two tiers of branches: in the lower 4 skeletal branches, in the upper 5. The total number of fruiting branches is not more than 80.
The principle of forming an improved cup-shaped crown is the same as that of the first. But the branches are closer together. The distance between the branches is 10-15 cm. This crown is more resistant to weather adversity. It is especially beneficial for farmers in the industrial cultivation of peaches.
With a bushy crown formation scheme, the tree does not have a central shoot. The base is formed from 3-4 shoots extending from the lower part of the trunk. The advantages of this shape are uniform illumination of all branches, high yield and good frost resistance.
The video shows a diagram of how to trim a peach in the fall.
How to properly prune a peach in the fall
In order to properly prune a peach tree in the fall, you must first figure out which of the shoots are important for the further life of the plant, and which ones only interfere. The peach can only bear fruit on last year's shoots. Therefore, some of the old branches and some new ones are completely useless:
- growth. They do not give fruit; when pruning, these shoots are removed;
- mixed. On these shoots buds are tied, from which both fruits and new shoots will grow next year. These shoots are not removed, but sometimes they need to be shortened. They differ in greater thickness than others of the same year;
- bouquet. These are short (25-30 cm) fruiting shoots with closely spaced vegetative buds. Small peaches are produced and a significant part of the ovaries is crumbled. They are removed from seedlings younger than 3 years old. On older peaches, leave;
- fruit. In short bouquet. The length is 15-20 cm. Contrary to the name of the crop, they almost do not give, the ovaries crumble. If something accidentally ripens, it will be small and tasteless. The life span of these shoots is 1 year. After one fruiting, they usually die off in winter. You shouldn't leave them.
- spinning tops. Side shoots extending from the trunk. Do not bear fruit. They only interfere with a healthy plant and take away juices, therefore, the tops are removed in the fall. But if the tree froze over last winter, the tops are left to restore the crown;
- summer. They grow on mixed shoots in late summer. Do not give ovaries. Since the shoots are very thin and tender, they freeze in winter.
Taking these features into account, they form the crown of peach trees.
Pruning young seedlings
A young peach is considered up to 4 years of age, that is, before the start of fruiting. At this time, all operations to form the crown are carried out.
Formation begins at an annual seedling. If the peach was planted in the spring, then the first pruning should be in the fall of the same year. The trunk of a one-year-old tree is cut to a height of 50 cm. But at the same time they make sure that there are two strong healthy branches below. Well developed kidneys are the minimum requirement. The branches should be directed in opposite directions from each other.
The branches are tied to the slats so that they subsequently grow at an angle to the trunk of 45 °. The upper bud is cut from the lateral shoots. If the next year the branches have grown by 50 cm, the tree trunk remaining between them is cut to the point where the branches join the trunk. If the branches are shorter, they are cut to the first triple or growth bud located as far as possible from the trunk. In the remaining area, another 2-3 well-developed shoots are chosen and also tied to the rail. The remaining branches are cut, leaving only the leaf closest to the main branch.
In the third year of the seedling's life in the fall, the skeletal branches are shortened by another third. From the remaining two-thirds, 3 shoots are selected and those growth buds that are directed downward are removed from them. These shoots are again tied to the rail, and the rest are cut to 1 sheet. In the fourth year, they are already harvesting.
In a one-year-old seedling, all excess shoots are cut off in the fall. There should be only 3-4 lower branches with 5 growth points on each shoot. The next year, these future skeletal branches are pruned by ¼ or ⅓. The length of the pruning depends on how much the branches have grown over the summer. New downward shoots are cut completely. The upward ones do not touch.
In the third year, 6-8 shoots are selected on the main branches, which will bear fruit next year. The rest is cut to 1-2 sheets. The shoots, which gave the main trunk in the center of the bush, are also cut to 1 leaf.
How to prune fruiting peaches
When forming a cupped crown in the fourth year, 3 of each last year's branch are taken from the lateral shoots that have formed in the current growing season: at the base, in the middle and at the top. It is on these shoots that ovaries will form next spring.
The one at the base serves as a substitute; in the middle - reserve for the first; at the top - lengthens the main branch. All other shoots are cut: directed up to the second leaf, down - to the point of growth.
When forming a bushy crown, those that grow at the right angle to the trunk are chosen from new fruiting shoots. Horizontal and downward cuts completely.
In the fifth year of life, the tree is fully formed. After annually, you need to carry out sanitary pruning and maintain the desired crown shape:
- remove dry and sore parts;
- shorten fruiting shoots by a third;
- do not let the peach grow above 3 m;
- remove all thin branches if a cold snowy winter is promised.
That is, you only need to maintain and thin out the already formed peach crown.
Rejuvenating pruning of peaches over 10 years old
5 years after the peach reaches full development, the yield of the tree decreases. Therefore, after 10 years, every five-year peach is rejuvenated pruning:
- skeletal branches are cut to the length they were 3 years ago;
- mixed branches are cut in the same way;
- the young shoots remaining on the branches do not touch, leaving them for the future formation of a new crown.
Such pruning has a very good effect on increasing the yield of the peach.
Further care for peaches after pruning
After pruning, the peaches need to be prepared for wintering. To do this, dig up the soil under the peaches, do the last autumn watering in order to charge the soil with water by the spring. After that, peaches are treated from pests and covered for the winter.
Pruning a peach in autumn is less painful for the plant and allows you to remove in advance those parts that would still freeze in winter. Correct pruning in the fall helps to increase the yield and longevity of the peach.