I have some dwarf peach trees that are about 5 years old. In spite of
diligent pruning the trees seem to be adding size at the expense of
making fruit. I live in northern Arkansas, which is not known for its
rich soil, and I haven't been adding fertilizer of any sort. I have
one peach nearby that is a few years older, and it is prolific every
year, but hasn't added anywhere near the mass the newer trees have. In
spite of having a large amount of new growth (pruned in winter) from
last year on two of the trees in particular, between them there may
have been only a dozen blossoms this spring.
I welcome any observations/advice regarding this.
You may be fighting nature and trying to keep them smaller than they
should be. You may have to let them grow up a little so they will settle
down and bloom.
My other thought is that summer pruning will produce far less regrowth.
If you need to keep them small, do a little summer pruning either in
addition to what you do now or instead of winter pruning. Just until
they are producing well.
On 11 May 2005 20:52:25 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Pruning encourages new growth. One of my apple trees was hit by a
falling branch and broke off at the trunk about 3 feet from the
ground. I wondered how long it would take to regrow, and thought I
would give it a year to see. It sent out 5 branches at a truely
astounding rate last year, and is nearly as big as another variety
planted at the same time. I lay off the prunung completely except to
remove dead or crossed banches to see what happens.
Sounds like the problem may be "diligent pruning" - most fruit trees bear
fruit on LAST year's branches, so if you are pruning too heavily you may be
cutting off the fruiting buds with the branches.
Also, no fertilizer is not a good thing, try a fertilizer that is higher in
the second two numbers, lower in nitrogen, to make the trees set buds and
give them lots of roots. I recommend an organic fertilizer, since the
chemical ones do not linger and continue to feed in the same way as, say,
green sand, oyster shell, bone meal, kelp meal and canola meal do. If they
have plenty of leaf growth them you can probably leave off the manures for
Lastly, it may just be that the variety you planted takes a longer time to
fruit. I planted dwarf plums one year and they took almost ten years to
really start bearing fruit.
Denise McCann Bachman
Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada
Thanks to everyone for your observations. All are appreciated.
These trees are getting very big. I have to go to the top of my 8'
stepladder to spray them. I hope they don't need to get too much
bigger to satisfy Mother Nature. I will consider some summer pruning.
My other tree, the one that is so prolific, began producing after only
a couple of years, and is the same variety as the ones we're talking
about. I have fertilized it with fruit spikes, but nothing more, and
not regularly. They certainly may need some. I was thinking more along
the lines of not encouraging green growth, but neglected to consider
fertilizing to encourage blossoms.
As far as the pruning, I've done it primarily for shaping the trees
early, and to keep them from getting too big. Even so, I try not to
take more than a third of the new growth, which shouldn't be too much.
I'm afraid if I don't do any pruning, I'll need an extension ladder to
spray and harvest fruit, assuming I ever get any. My partner has
observed that my technique for pruning may not be the best, but I argue
that the other tree is well shaped, produces abundant, healthy fruit,
so my work can't be that bad. It may be that these are just going to
take longer to produce.
Thanks again, I'll try to put all of the advice to use.
I used to live in Arkansas (4 years ago), and the gardening expert that came
on channel 5 in Fort Smith said that pruning is very important to all trees.
He also said that a super phosphate is the thing to use to make blooms/fruit
on trees and flowers. Super phosphate is one that is rated 0 - 56- 0.
There was one that was 0 - 4? - 0. I got mine at the Co-op in Waldron. It
worked on roses, and my 14 fruit trees. He also said to prune everything on
February 15th, give or take 5 days depending on he weather.
Peach, apricot, and nectarine trees will fruit on new growth. Apple fruits
on second year wood.
I attended a pruning class that was sponsored by the U of A in Clarksville,
(either there or Russellville) and they shaped plum trees into a ball, apple
similar to a Christmas tree, but opened the centers of the peach family, on
the South side to allow more sun to reach the centers. Check with your
extension agent and see what he can do to help you, and if interested, maybe
you can attend their next class.
Dwarf are supposed to be pruned to stay 10 to 15 ft tall. I put dormant
spray up to 4 or 5 ft high for the borers, but I grow garlic around the
bottom for other pests. I am in Kansas now, so we don't get peaches every
year, but those I have harvested so far were bug free.
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