Peach tree question

I have a couple of semi dwarf peach trees which are 4 years old and which are in bloom at the moment . Today I noticed a couple of small dead branches on them which I missed pruning in late winter . Can I prune them off now or is it too late in the season for this ? I heard not to prune when trees are in bloom . Also there might be a very light frost next week (down to 32 degrees ) Will this hurt the blossoms and if yes what can I do about it ?? Please help !! Rosie z5 in IN
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On Sat, 24 Apr 2004 00:59:48 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (rosemarie face) wrote:

You can prune dead wood anytime it wont hurt the tree at all. You dont want to prune a tree that has sap flowing. Sorry but I cant help you on the lite frost part of the question other than to say if I were you I would take an old sheet out and lightly wrap it around the tree the night before the expected frost and take it off as soon as it warms up.
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snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net writes:

I certainly am *not* an orchardist; however, it would make sense to not prune when the trees are in bloom so as to *not* knock off blossoms. Without blossoms, there is no fruit. (This is aside from the dormancy issue.)
Regarding the time of year, I suspect it is too late to properly prune since that is to be done when the tree is dormant (late fall to late winter/early spring) when there is no significant activity in the branches/limbs. I would interpret that to mean absence of any leaves/buds/blossoms which indicate sap is flowing.
Glenna

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snipped-for-privacy@pmug.org (Glenna Rose) writes:

A very logical deduction, too. However, most fruit trees like peaches and plums suffer from TOO MANY BLOSSOMS. The traditional winter pruning has to be followed by a spring thinning, where much of the developing fruit is pulled off the tree to allow the remainder to grow to a larger size. If this is not done, then the tree may give you a thousand peaches no bigger than a cherry. The winter pruning routine probably came about because it's a time of year when the orchardist has nothing else to do. Trees can indeed be pruned in early spring when they are in full bloom, just remember to give right of way to the bees. A big advantage of spring pruning (quite apart from avoiding the cracked lips, chillblains, and pneumonia) is that while pruning you can knock/snip off excess blossoms, leaving just enough that with your experience of expected pollination will allow a tree to bear a desired load of fruit. For example, plum trees I prune may have up to 30 blossoms in a bunch where I want no more than 2 plums to hang and develop to desirable size. So I just snip off about 20 of the flowers, and then later in spring am left with many fewer fruit to thin off. Spring pruning means that the tree has wasted energy in twigs and blooms that are going to be cut off, but winter pruning means that the tree then wastes energy in starting off lots of young fruit that are going to be pulled off in the thinning process. So it's swings and roundabouts.
Nowadays, commercial orchardists apply sprays that cause chemical thinning, it's less manpower intensive.
--
John Savage (news address invalid; keep news replies in newsgroup)


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rosemarie face wrote:

Prune dead wood off as soon as you notice it. The sooner you do it, the sooner the tree can grow over the wound. Don't get hung up on pruning only during the dormant season. When a tree is young and you want it to get on with growing up to full size, dormant pruning is the way to go. The tree can then put its energy into the branches that remain. Prune lightly and just enough to direct the growth toward the final shape you want for your tree. (Probably open center for a peach.) Once the tree is a good size, you can consider summer pruning. By letting the tree leaf out before you do some of the pruning, you will get less regrowth. The tree has already wasted its excess energy on the growth you prune off. This helps control the size of the tree and often improves the fruit buds that form for next years crop. Summer pruning should be done right after the season's growth is about finished, or before. Don't prune later in the summer because there is always a little regrowth and late new growth will not mature enough to be winter hardy. With a semi dwarf tree (or any tree for that matter), you don't HAVE to summer prune. I'm just giving this information to let you know you are not breaking some sacred law if you see something you want to prune after growth starts. Don't worry about loosing some flowers to pruning. Peaches set far too many fruits and should be thinned anyway (unless that late frost thins most of them for you).
Several years ago, I had 4 or 5 young plum trees coming into full flower for the first time. There was a frosty morning in the forecast and I was worried. At dusk, I went out with a big kerosene heater and placed it on the ground between the trees, closer to one that I especially wanted to get fruit on. The next morning, the grass was all frosty except for a big circle around the heater. It seemed to work pretty well. You might consider some heat source for the pre dawn hours if you really want to protect the blooms. Having said that, if the flowers are open now, the bees have probably pollinated most of the flowers. After pollination is done, the flowers can take a light frost and still produce a fruit.
Steve
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I hung some Christmas tree lights that heated up (not the "cool" ones). I don't see any peaches, but the temps dropped to 26 F so I am afraid they still froze.
Next year I am going to prune them in late March, rather than February. Peaches bloom on new growth. I hope later pruning will delay the blooming long enough to allow a crop.
An electric heater will also work under your trees if it isn't too cold, and I have even Circled a tree in plastic with a heater inside. The heat went up into the plastic and kept the tree warm enough.
The professionals use smudge pots. I don't know what they are or how they work. Maybe you could check into it.
Putting a lot of water on the ground under what you are protecting will also help, as long as the temp doesn't drop too low.
Dwayne

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If you can get to the tree before the sun hits it, you can gently wash the frost off with a sprayer or a watering can (depending on tree size).
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