|Any info re pruning and care of this fruit tree shall be greatly appreciated. Mine is young and in the ground just three years and had its first crop which was|
|Let's start with some general care guidelines: Train peaches to an open center and prune annually. Remove dead or diseased wood first, then any branches growing straight up or droop down. Peaches and nectarines bear fruit only from lateral buds on 1-year-old branches. They need more dormant-season pruning than other fruit trees to stimulate growth of new fruiting wood each year and to keep the fruiting wood closer to the trunk. When bloom is heavy, lightly head back the longer fruiting branches to reduce the fruit load and prevent branch breakage. Summer pinching helps control tree size, encourages formation of next year's buds, and improves fruit quality. When the tree is 5 or 6 years old, remove all the wood produced in the previous 2 years. This will keep the tree from growing too tall and will restore vigor to the older wood.
About 4 to 6 weeks after bloom, thin some of the excess fruit if you have an abundant crop. Remove and destroy any fruit with signs of insect puncture. Thin so the fruits are spaced 6 to 8 inches apart on the branch. The remaining fruits will be larger and sweeter than they would have been without thinning.
Most peach diseases can be prevented without sprays. To avoid problems, choose disease-resistant and cold-hardy varieties and rootstocks, purchase virus-free trees, plant them in a good location, thin excess fruits, and prune out any diseased or dead branches. Although these cultural practices usually preclude peach diseases, the many pests of peaches often call for some pesticide spraying.
If bacterial canker is a problem, apply a single spray of Bordeaux mixture or copper fungicide on the trunk and limbs when leaves drop in the autumn. This fall spray will also help control shothole and peach leaf curl, a widespread disease that weakens and can defoliate trees. For best control of shothole or leaf curl, spray again just before the buds begin to swell in spring.
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