Exemplary cutting of the peach tree - tutorial with instructions

Exemplary cutting of the peach tree - tutorial with instructions

Cut short-lived fruit wood annually

The most productive fruit wood sits on the peach tree on annual long shoots . As with local sour cherries, these grew to a length of 20 to 40 centimeters last year. A long shoot only produces juicy peaches once in its life. As early as the third year, the wood no longer has any flower buds and it becomes noticeably bald. From an uncut peach tree, you will only harvest delicious fruit for a few years. By letting the scissors circle every year, the fruit trees will remain fertile and vital for many years.

also read

  • Pruning a young peach tree - this is how it works
  • How to successfully cultivate a peach tree in Germany
  • The peach tree - a profile

The best time is in spring

For a masterly cut, it is essential to clearly recognize the flower and leaf buds. For beginners in pruning peach trees, we recommend the best time for maintenance pruning in February, shortly before the start of flowering. In this phase, rounded flower buds can be clearly identified, even to the untrained eye. If you miss the appointment, you cut immediately after the harvest. In both cases, the risk of valuable fruit wood falling victim to the scissors is minimal.

As long as a peach tree is in the training and development phase, early spring makes sense as a pruning date. A cut in the end of winter stimulates growth, which is desirable for the rather weak tree.


Cut trees from October 1st to March 1st - for the benefit of our bird life

If you prune your peach tree either in spring or autumn, you are making an important contribution to nature conservation. The breeding season of our massively threatened bird life extends from the beginning of March to the end of September . In the fight against the “silent spring”, the Federal Nature Conservation Act emphasizes the fundamentally important grace period with Paragraph 39. It stipulates that cuttings are generally prohibited. If it is excluded in advance that there are overwintering wild animals in the treetop or hedge, pruning may take place between October 1st and March 1st.

Sensible cuts

In the care of peach trees, the scissors are a constant companion. On the day of planting, continuous pruning begins, which is continued in the first three to four years of standing with a parenting pruning and leading to an annual maintenance pruning. The following table summarizes all useful pruning types for a richly bearing peach tree:

Cut typeGoal / occasionbest dateAlternative appointment
Plant pruningstimulate vital branching, initiate educationin the spring after plantingnone
UpbringingBuild a high-yielding crownFebruarynone
Conservation cutPromote young fruit wood, regulate growth, thin outFebruaryEarly to mid October

The table does not list a taper cut for good reason. Peach and nectarine do not tolerate larger cuts. If the size of a wound exceeds the diameter of a 2 euro coin, a massive rubber flow sets in, from which the Asian fruit trees usually no longer recover.

Distinguish true from false fruit shoots

The high art in cutting peach and nectarine is to distinguish between true and false fruit shoots. That sounds more complicated than it actually is. We invite you to take a short excursion into basic botanical knowledge in order to understand the connections and implement them when cutting peaches. The figure below illustrates that four different types of shoots can form on the scaffold shoots of a peach crown. The following overview summarizes all important identifying features:

Wood shoot (1)

Wooden shoots are characterized by pointed shoot buds . These shoots are also known as sterile branches because they neither flower nor fruit. If a wood shoot does not contribute to the crown structure during the training phase, it is greatly reduced. By leaving a bud or two standing, you preserve the chance that a valuable fruit shoot will flourish here in the next year.

Incorrect fruit shoot (2)

You can identify a wrong fruit shoot by the numerous round flower buds from the base to the end. There is only a pointed leaf bud at the tip of the shoot. For home gardeners, pseudo-fruit shoots pose the greatest challenge when it comes to cutting. The many flowers are initially misleading because they unfold in a picturesque manner and even form small fruits. However, there is a lack of leaves for a sufficient supply of nutrients. Sooner or later, flowers and fruits fall off due to a lack of energy supply. However, false fruit shoots are not completely removed. As long as a small residue remains with sleeping eyes, a true fruit drive can develop from it.

True fruit shoot (3)

The world is in order with the true fruit instinct. A combination of rounded flower buds and pointed leaf buds thrives at each bud base. The arrangement in which the buds sprout can be different. It is important for fertility that a leaf bud is in close proximity to the flower bud as a source of supply. Often a true fruit shoot ends at the base or tip with leaf buds, which does not contradict its fertility.

Bouquet (4)

All short shoots that are richly garnished with thick flower buds and have a leaf bud at the top for the supply of nutrients are included in the valuable fruit wood. For this reason, bouquet shoots are also known as fruit skewers and are not cut.

Peach bouquet

Plant pruning instructions

The pruning of the plant has important tasks. He gets the branching going and initiates the crown training. The best time to plant heat-loving trees such as peach and nectarine is in spring. Immediately afterwards you subject the tree to a first cut. How to do it right:

  • Choose the ideal crown structure from a dominant central branch and 4 side branch branches
  • Remove the remaining shoots
  • Cut back the side frame shoots by a third
  • Important: the tip bud must be an outward-facing leaf bud

Please cut the central shoot as a trunk extension so that its tip bud is about a scissor length above the tip buds of the leading branches. Their shoot tips are at approximately the same height, which is referred to in gardeners' language as juice scales. If a top bud is higher, the growth law of top funding takes effect at this point. The result would be increased, one-sided growth, which runs counter to a harmonious crown shape and makes the entire peach tree unstable.

Raising a peach with a hollow crown

Local fruit trees, such as apples and sweet cherries, thrive productively with a classic round crown. This does not apply to peach and nectarine. In order for the Asian fruit trees to bloom and produce fruit, the hollow crown has proven itself to be excellent in gardening practice . As the illustration below demonstrates, the dominant central shoot is cut back after three years with this crown shape so that more sunlight can get into the interior of the crown. How to proceed correctly step by step:

  • The best time is in February for the second to fourth year
  • Up to the third year: raise the crown with a central shoot and 4 evenly distributed leading branches
  • Extend the scaffolding by a maximum of 30 cm every year
  • Remove the central shoot in February of the third or fourth year

The fertility of leading branches is optimized if they are oriented at an ideal angle of 60 ° to the trunk . Branches that are too steep can be spread with clothespins or wooden spreader. Tie high shoots that are too flat. With the upbringing, please make sure that the end buds of the leading shoots are at the same level, i.e. in the juice balance . Branches sprouting from the trunk below the crown are removed.

Raising Peach Tree


Cut back the peach tree after transplanting

Your peach tree will get a cut out of sequence if you have transplanted it. The fruit tree survives a change of location within the first five years. The best time is in early spring, just before budding begins. Transplanting is associated with a massive loss of root mass for every tree. In addition to the conventional maintenance cut, cut back the entire crown by a third. Thanks to this measure you restore the balance between underground and above-ground parts of the plant.

Cutting instructions for beginners

In pruning peach trees, the transition from upbringing to conservation is fluid. Competent tree nurseries offer the trees as bush trees with a trunk 60 centimeters short and a total height of 150 centimeters. Without a cut, the trees reach a maximum height of 500 centimeters. The particular advantage is the early start of the yield phase in the second or third year. How to complete the perfect conservation cut:

  • Cut back wood shoots to 2 eyes so that they - with a little luck - let fruit wood sprout
  • Remove three quarters of the removed shoots from the crown except for a short stump
  • Shorten the remaining, worn shoots to 3 buds, from which new fruit shoots grow
  • Cut back false fruit shoots to 2 cm short cones

Often the shoot tips on true fruit shoots are covered with numerous leaf buds. You can cut off this part of the shoots. Furthermore, remove all unsuitable branches and twigs that do not contribute to the crown structure or fruit yield.


In peach trees with a hollow crown, annual long shoots may exceptionally point inwards. In full sun they protect the inside of the crown from sunburn.

frequently asked Questions

Is a peach tree self-fertile?

Peach trees available in specialist shops are usually self-fertile. One specimen in the garden is enough for a harvest of juicy, sweet fruits. Nevertheless, it is advisable to combine two types of peach in order to significantly increase the yield. When purchasing a tree, ask your trusted nursery which constellation of varieties is advantageous.

With which root system does a peach tree grow? We want to plant it near a paved area.

Peach trees grow as heart roots. A system of numerous, strong root strands spreads in all directions. Therefore, please keep a distance of at least 100 centimeters to paved surfaces. Otherwise, there is a risk that horizontal roots will lift the pavement.

My dwarf peach tree in the bucket has bloomed splendidly this year. Unfortunately it bears no fruit. Currently, two thin branches are sprouting at the bottom of the trunk. Can I just cut these shoots off?

You should definitely remove both shoots because they are so-called wild shoots or water shoots. Tear off each branch with a brave jerk. After a cut, plenty of cell tissue remains from which the wild shoots sprout cheerfully. Your dwarf peach tree is probably a non-self-fruiting variety. In order for the flowers to turn into fruits, they must be pollinated. This requires both a nearby pollinator and hard-working insects that transport the pollen from one peach to the next.

How much frost can a peach tree withstand?

A well-grown peach tree can withstand up to - 25 degrees Celsius. This applies provided that it is located in a sunny, sheltered location. At a young age, the tree still has to work hard to become winter hardy. A light winter protection is advisable in the first and second year of standing. Cover the tree slice with leaves and sticks. If late frost threatens, cover the crown with breathable fleece.

The 3 most common mistakes

The special characteristics in the growth of peach and nectarine lead home gardeners to typical errors in pruning. Fatal results are an impenetrable network of old and young branches or a richly flowering tree without fruit. So that you don't have to worry about damage like this, the following table lists the three most common cutting errors and gives short tips for prevention:

Cutting errorsDamageprevention
never cutdense tangle of old, sterile and balding branchesCut the peach tree vigorously every year
sterile and false shoots not trimmedno or few fruits despite flowersCut back wooden shoots and false fruit shoots on short cones
Education with a round crownpremature balding inside the crownRaising a peach with a hollow crown


Peach trees belong to the rose family. This property requires special attention in crop rotation. Never plant peach after peach. Garden practice has shown that massive damage to young trees as a result of soil fatigue is to be feared. A break in cultivation of four to five years guarantees that the soil can recover in order to return to peach trees or other rose plants.