What’s Growing On: Training and pruning peach trees

Published: Apr. 28, 2022 at 6:32 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

To keep up with the latest local news subscribe to our TV20 newsletter HERE and receive news straight to your email every morning.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - The start of meteorological summer is nearly a month away. And by that time, the harvest season for peaches in North Central Florida comes to an end.

And taking care of peach trees in the off-season is just as important as the growing months.

None of us are strangers to the delicious stone fruits the sunshine state can produce this time of year and UF professor and IFAS Extension Specialist Dr. Ali Sarkhosh knows that Florida peaches “are ripe on the tree and they come to the market ready to eat.”

And if you’ve decided to channel your green thumb and grow peaches yourself, it can be a rewarding hobby, but there’s a fine science to making sure your plants stay healthy year-round.

First-year peach plants are dormant, but will develop the major branches, also known as scaffolds.

Generally by the second to third year, the trees will produce fruit.

And when harvest ends by late May and early June, its important to prune your trees to make sure they have proper ventilation to combat our summer climate.

Dr. Sarkhosh says pruning “can reduce the population of fungi and other diseases that can damage the fruit. So humidity and high temperatures really favor fungi growth and that can be a really big problem.

He suggests to prune your peach tree to make sure it looks like a vase. You’ll want a narrow base with just three to five branches extending from the center. And in North Central Florida it’s important to purchase the right kind.

Sarkhosh says many people start the process the wrong way by sometimes buying a tree that “would not really not produce flower and fruit in this climate in Gainesville or other parts of Florida. I think that it’s really important to purchase the right plant.”

The center of the tree should be an open canopy to allow plentiful sunshine and continued ventilation. You also want to make your trees realistic to manage, usually “keeping the tree at about 6 to 8 feet. That’s a size that everyone can manage, prune, and harvest the fruit.”

Dr. Sarkhosh suggests pruning your trees no later than Memorial Day weekend. To access his study on peach tree pruning, you can visit here.

TRENDING STORY: High Springs student lends musical talents to give back to classmates

Copyright 2022 WCJB. All rights reserved. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.