Question about peach trees..

Hi all,
Over a year ago I planted a peach tree in my back yard. It was rather small back then, but has since grown to be approximately 1.8 meters (6") tall. It grew an astonishing amount of leaves and I was extremely happy with its process. Winter came, and the leaves started to fall.. Though not all of them.. And now, winter is a month from being over, and lots of flowers formed, but the tip of the branches still have all the leaves from last year and flowers didn't get to them....
I'm sure the tree is growing fine and I'll probably get some fruit in summer, but .... .. I didn't prune the tree in the fall.. Is it too late to trim the branches now? Should I pluck out the leaves that are still there?
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On 7/21/2008 2:11 PM, Ivan wrote:

If it is already in flower, it is too late to prune. Leave the old leaves. They will fall off as new leaves open.
If your winters are relatively mild, prune about two weeks after the soltice (for me, early January). If your winters are icy with snow and freezing temperatures, prune about two weeks before the equinox (early March in the northern hemisphere).
As this is a new tree, be sure to remove the leader (the central trunk) above the lowest branches. Stone fruits -- peaches, plums, cherries, apricots -- should grow outward and not upward. Main branch crotches should be at right angles to the trunk below; at least, they should form Us and not Vs. When you next prune, remove old wood and keep wood that was new during the recent growing season. Some say to remove an amount of wood equal to 2/3 of the newer growth. Branch tips on new wood should be cut to encourage further branching and not allow branches to grow longer. I remove or cut short most vertical branches, pruning my peach tree so that I don't have to climb a ladder to pick fruit.
Thinning of fruit is important for peaches. This is done shortly after all flower petals fall. Try to allow 8-12 inches (20-30 cm) of branch between fruits. Thinner branches should have fewer fruits. Thinning prevents the weight of mature fruit from breaking the branches. More important, thinning causes the remaining fruit to mature larger without making the pits any larger. Thus, thinning can actually yield more usable peach flesh than not thinning. I generally remove half of the immature peaches when they are about the size of an almond in the shell.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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Perfect! Thanks very much for your detailed answer. It seems as if though my trunk is extremely short in comparison to the branches.. And all the branches are springing up.. But there are only three branches coming out of the trunk of the tree, and the rest of the branches spring out of these three .. The tree was given to me by my father.. Not sure where he got it , but am hoping it is, in fact, a peach tree! The leaves look different on each of the three branches, and the flowers are too, so.... I guess I'll have to wait and see what comes out.. In any case .. You've certainly answered my concerns about prunning, which I will do next June .. And remember to pull out some of the peaches before they mature ..
I'll see if I can get some more information about the tree, alternatively, I'll certainly put up results once the fruit start appearing!!
Just a quick question: When should I be adding fertiliser to the tree? I read at the beginning of spring and end of autumn.. IS this correct?
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On 7/22/2008 2:30 PM, Ivan wrote [in part]:

This is good.

When you do prune, keep the main branches and shorten the others.

You might have a "top worked" tree. This is a tree on which different varieties have been grafted to the same trunk. While this is not done for commercial orchards, it is indeed well known for home gardens.
You might even have different species from the same genus: peach, plum, nectarine, almond, etc. I've also heard of this being done for the pome fruits: apple, pear, etc. My mother once had a rose bush with three varieties of rose grafted to a young apple trunk (roses being related to apples).

I feed in the spring, just as leaves begin to open. I rarely feed anything in the autumn. Nutrients promote new growth, which will not happen with deciduous plants (e.g., peaches) and which will be too tender for frost with evergreen plants (e.g., citrus). Yes, we do get night-time frosts every winter. (But I haven't seen snow here in over 10 years and only three times in the 35 years I've been in my current house.)
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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wrote:

Perfect! Thanks very much for your detailed answer. It seems as if though my trunk is extremely short in comparison to the branches.. And all the branches are springing up.. But there are only three branches coming out of the trunk of the tree, and the rest of the branches spring out of these three .. The tree was given to me by my father.. Not sure where he got it , but am hoping it is, in fact, a peach tree! The leaves look different on each of the three branches, and the flowers are too, so.... I guess I'll have to wait and see what comes out.. In any case .. You've certainly answered my concerns about prunning, which I will do next June .. And remember to pull out some of the peaches before they mature ..
I'll see if I can get some more information about the tree, alternatively, I'll certainly put up results once the fruit start appearing!!
Just a quick question: When should I be adding fertiliser to the tree? I read at the beginning of spring and end of autumn.. IS this correct?
You may have a "show" tree with different fruits grafted onto one trunk, your description of the leaves and flowers are similar to just that type of tree in my side yard.
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Pruning suggestions are here for peaches: http://www.treedictionary.com/DICT2003/tree_pruning/index.html
--
Sincerely,
John A. Keslick, Jr.
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Oh yeah,
peaches require fine pruning. removal of large branches on peach trees, even if correct, can cause the death of many parenchyma cells thus reducing the trees potential for storage of starch. Dissection here: http://www.treedictionary.com/DICT2003/tree_pruning/peach/index.html Peach trees are not forgiving for improper pruning. On the other hand a apple tree would say hit me harder. I would suggest reading and looking at the pictures in this book so you have a clear idea of where the target is for removing parts of the tree. http://www.treedictionary.com/DICT2003/TPRUNING.html
And we must treat the system and not just the wound. Instruction lucidly presented is here: http://www.treedictionary.com/DICT2003/MARBOR.html
Some people will buy products they do not understand and not buy books that will give them understanding.
--
Sincerely,
John A. Keslick, Jr.
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