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How to prune and train peaches 2x6ft spacing?

Posted by fruitnut z7b-8a,4500ft SW TX (My Page) on
Fri, Feb 7, 14 at 13:01

New peach and nectarine in my greenhouse are spaced 2x6 and 3x6ft some trellis some not. All will be grown as a narrow hedge about 18-24 inches wide and 6ft tall.

The new trees have 6-20 branches and have been nursery pruned at ~40 inches.

newly planted peach 2x6ft 2014 photo 2x6ftpeachesFebr2014002_zpsc4171514.jpg

Also have a picture of a one year old tree and new trees just behind.

new and 1 yr peach photo 2x6ftpeachesFebr2014007_zps815a14a8.jpg

My thoughts are that the current trunk on the new trees is the one and only scaffold these trees will ever have. All I want off the current trunk is fruiting wood to start cropping next year.

So how about leaving 6-12 shoots on the new trees. Prune each shoot to 3-4 buds. And attempt to grow 18-30 inch new shoots covered in flower buds to fruit next year.

On the one year tree there are 5 unbranched flowering shoots like I'd want and two branched shoots that are more vigorous than I'd want. In the new planting those vigorous shoots would be removed by summer pruning in the year of origin or stubbed back now for renewal wood.

My question is what height to leave new trees and how much to prune back existing branches?

I know this is a special situation not many will face but thanks for looking!!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: How to prune and train peaches 2x6ft spacing?

I've never heard of growing peaches in a green house before, but more power to you. My trees are 16' on center and I'm wondering how your trees are going to support the weight of the fruit and how much production you're really going to get, after all that work.


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RE: How to prune and train peaches 2x6ft spacing?

FN, I figure it's a ratio thing in terms of height to distance between rows. Standard spacing is 20' between rows in commercial orchards here and the height of trees are not more than 14 feet.

You could keep your trees relatively higher (as far as ratio) but I still think more than 7' would diminish quality if I was to guess.

I read about training peaches to a vertical trunk and cycling out branches after they fruit a few years ago- I think they've been doing that in Israel, but I'm not sure. Seems like a very sensible training system for high density planting.

I don't think I'd cut the shoots back as much as you suggest, however. I'd rather start with more leaves to fruit and then summer prune when branches get too far beyond the fruit and light is used more for growth than fruit. The sooner you have 30 leaves per fruit the better, by my thinking.


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RE: How to prune and train peaches 2x6ft spacing?

  • Posted by fruitnut z7b-8a,4500ft SW TX (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 7, 14 at 18:43

rayrose:

Probably half a crop next year and full production in year three. Not much per tree but plenty on an area basis. I'm really more concerned about fruit eating quality and this may not be the best way to get that. Time will tell.

harvestman:

When you say cut back less than I suggested are you talking about leaving more than 3-4 buds per shoot on the new trees? I think I'll leave all the 40 inch trunk. Should I leave those spindly current shoots at full length? My concern and questions are about pruning the newly planted trees not the second leaf tree that's blooming.

This post was edited by fruitnut on Fri, Feb 7, 14 at 18:53


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RE: How to prune and train peaches 2x6ft spacing?

Actually, I wasn't even making suggestions based on the photos. They are not the shape I would use. I would have a trunk that went up the height of the tree and use shoots off the trunk for fruit production- the trunk would dominate and shoots would be more lateral.

But this is all just theory, in my head it seems that this would be the best way to get adequate light to both the fruit bearing shoots and the new wood for the following year.


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RE: How to prune and train peaches 2x6ft spacing?

  • Posted by fruitnut z7b-8a,4500ft SW TX (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 7, 14 at 21:03

I could maintain a central leader and renew fruiting wood off that. Actually that's pretty much what I'm thinking for the new trees. The older tree isn't that form but was shown to indicate shoots like I want and ones too vigorous. It also indicates excellent flower buds on a very small second leaf tree.

Since the trees are already 40 inches and I'm talking 72 inches max canopy height, there's not much more leader needed. Thanks for taking time to consider my questions!

This post was edited by fruitnut on Fri, Feb 7, 14 at 21:20


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RE: How to prune and train peaches 2x6ft spacing?

Fruitnut, cramped peaches don't like the spindle form, its hard to keep them short and keep enough wood renewed that way. So I think it would be better to not have a central leader on such a confined tree.

You want to be able to continually renew the wood near the existing fruiting shoots or the tree will get too tall/unproductive. So, I would prune it something like a head-pruned grape: keep the trunk about 2' tall and let fruiting shoots come out of that. When the shoots get unproductive after a few years prune them off at the base. Keep the shoots at different stages: some newer some older so you can keep cycling. You can allow some branching but try to keep it minimal. As long as shoots are thick they can be long; spindly shoots should be stubbed.

Scott


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RE: How to prune and train peaches 2x6ft spacing?

  • Posted by fruitnut z7b-8a,4500ft SW TX (My Page) on
    Sat, Feb 8, 14 at 10:55

Scott:

I know you speak from experience. So it sounds like I need a tree more like the one in my second photo above. Renewal of fruiting wood is critical otherwise I'll end up like my old trees, lots of pendant spurs. And once peach wood gets old it doesn't send out shoots reliably from down low. So I need to start renewal early.

Thank you for your input!! Not many have actual experience with trees this tight.


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RE: How to prune and train peaches 2x6ft spacing?

Fruitnut, I have never tried trees as close as yours. But I did do peaches 2' apart in rows 10' apart. Since I let them get wider I would let scaffolds grow out into the aisles, you don't have that option.

The development of new fruiting wood is key. I am glad I have been grape pruning because I keep applying more grape pruning ideas to stone fruits. Recently I have been doing a lot of bending of vigorous shoots down to make horizontal "cordons" off of which come smaller shoots. When things get too old I will chop off a whole section of a tree, then some vigorous waterspouts from lower down down will come up and those are the guys I bend over. I don't think you have the row width to bend them over so you would need to renew more often.

Scott


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RE: How to prune and train peaches 2x6ft spacing?

  • Posted by fruitnut z7b-8a,4500ft SW TX (My Page) on
    Sat, Feb 8, 14 at 21:30

I'm confident I can keep the trees small enough for this spacing even on Lovell. If I can do that and force some new wood often enough I'll be in. I can see the road ahead based on the one year old tree above that's covered in bloom. It's only 4ft tall and 2ft wide.

But I do have a backup plan. I'm putting in some Krymsk 1. Two rows will be all K1 that I'll bud this fall. The other rows will get a K1 every 3-4ft. That way I can open up the spacing if needed, remove varieties I don't like while favoring the ones I do, and even completely switch rootstock 3-4 years down the road.

Krymsk 1 has given 28-30 brix nectarines and pluot in the past. I'm also going to try it for apricot. Maybe that will be the ticket for 25-30 brix apricot.

This post was edited by fruitnut on Sat, Feb 8, 14 at 22:22


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RE: How to prune and train peaches 2x6ft spacing?

Actually, I like the idea of a fruiting wall of peaches. They're doing it with apples and cherries, though they have different fruiting requirements.

I have a new tree on Citation that might be good to experiment with. It's about 5' tall with maybe twenty 12" branches.

I was going to do a V but nearly all of the branches are horizontal, no angle at all. Perfect for a super-spindle cherry or apple, but not a peach tree. If I hadn't pre-paid for it I probably wouldn't have taken it.


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RE: How to prune and train peaches 2x6ft spacing?

  • Posted by fruitnut z7b-8a,4500ft SW TX (My Page) on
    Sat, Feb 8, 14 at 22:58

Waiting:

Citation has been a great root for my peach, nectarine, and pluot. It gives big fruit, bears at a young age, and provides high brix. Number one though is the large fruit size. Negatives are a small number of stunted nectarine and crown gall issues. It's pretty vigorous for apricot. I won't try apricot on Citation at 2x6ft.


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RE: How to prune and train peaches 2x6ft spacing?

Fruitnut,

This ones's a Rio Oso Gem. I also got a Baby Crawford on Citation, which has no branches at all, and a Silver Logan from Fowler on Empyrean 2, which nobody else apparently has. It's branched similar to your new trees.

Glad you mentioned apricots on Citation as my new Robada and OrangeRed are on it.

I wonder if you could train a peach like a UFO cherry?

gary

This post was edited by Waiting on Sat, Feb 8, 14 at 23:58


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RE: How to prune and train peaches 2x6ft spacing?

Gary:

Yes I think what I'm going to do on peach is similar to UFO cherry. I haven't tried UFO but have read enough to have an idea what it's about. Peach is highly apically dominate. So it only wants to renew wood near the top of the tree. I'm thinking that's what Scott said, keep the top/head of tree low and each year cut back about 1/3 of the oldest/biggest shoots to that head for renewal wood. Isn't that the same as UFO cherry?

This post was edited by fruitnut on Sun, Feb 9, 14 at 9:55


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RE: How to prune and train peaches 2x6ft spacing?

Peaches, more than any other fruit, need direct sun light on the fruit, in order to size up and sweeten up. That's why their grown on an open vase system. I'd be concerned about the quality and taste of the fruit you're going to get, especially inside a greenhouse.


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RE: How to prune and train peaches 2x6ft spacing?

  • Posted by fruitnut z7b-8a,4500ft SW TX (My Page) on
    Sun, Feb 9, 14 at 12:31

rayrose:

Thank you for your thoughts. I'd be concerned to but this has been working for 10 years. Even the fruit under the canopy on pendant wood has been good in the past. I started with open center spaced 6ft by 8ft. That worked well but I didn't renew wood down low and ended up with the best wood at the tops of the tree. But like I say the bottom fruit has been as good as top.

I think 2x6ft will work as well and if I can renew wood every year it can last longer than 10 years.

Light in the greenhouse is about 50-60% of outdoors according to my new meter. But it is much more diffuse and I think probably just as productive. The diffuse light and reflective fabric on the ground may account for good fruit under the canopy. Diffuse light penetrates the canopy much better than direct sunlight and the reflective fabric on the ground has been proven to increase brix and fruit color outdoors.

Here's a picture of an outside row about 2ft from outer wall of greenhouse after heading to 23 inches and tipping back the feathers. The plants won't be grown on the trellis on the outside wall. Instead I'll keep that area open for spraying.


 photo 2x6ftnectarineafterpruning2014003_zps8cc56ef0.jpg

This post was edited by fruitnut on Sun, Feb 9, 14 at 13:07


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RE: How to prune and train peaches 2x6ft spacing?

UFO (Upright Fruiting Offshoot) is the one where they plant the tree at a 45 degree angle, bend the trunk horizontal, and grow the "laterals" vertically. KGB (Kym Green Bush) is probably more like what you are thinking of doing.

Have you watched the videos at giselacherry.com? Lynn Long (Oregon State University) and Greg Lang (Michigan State University) talk about pruning and training cherries on "productive rootstocks". Much of the information appears to be relevant to peach trees, especially, maintaining vigor, maximizing fruit quality, and renewing fruiting wood.

Be aware that the videos download painfully S L O W. The same videos can be found in a lesser quality on you tube but they load much faster.

gary


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RE: How to prune and train peaches 2x6ft spacing?

  • Posted by fruitnut z7b-8a,4500ft SW TX (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 10, 14 at 10:10

Thanks gary, I'll have a look at those videos. You're right the KGB is more like what I'm talking about.

This post was edited by fruitnut on Mon, Feb 10, 14 at 10:34


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RE: How to prune and train peaches 2x6ft spacing?

  • Posted by mrclint z10SoCal Valley (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 10, 14 at 12:16

rayrose, not all full sun is equal. Full sun in my locale is blistering, that might be true in fruitnut's area as well. Partial sun to light shade at my house is like full sun in a lot of other places.


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RE: How to prune and train peaches 2x6ft spacing?

  • Posted by fruitnut z7b-8a,4500ft SW TX (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 10, 14 at 12:55

mrclint:

Don't know if I have more sun than you or not. We average more than 75% sun all year long. Less in summer than Fresno but there was hardly a cloud all summer in Fresno. We have a lot more than Fresno in winter. And being 30 degrees north our days are about 10 hrs sunlight in mid winter. I'm in the perfect climate and have the right soil to push the envelope on close spacing.


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RE: How to prune and train peaches 2x6ft spacing?

  • Posted by mrclint z10SoCal Valley (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 10, 14 at 16:33

fruitnut, I like what you are doing (a lot). But I don't really consider it pushing the envelope all the much. DWN has had examples of very close spacing of hedgerows and other multi-plantings for many years now. There are a lot of examples in videos, pictures and diagrams. 30" to 36" hedgerows have been commonly recommended.


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RE: How to prune and train peaches 2x6ft spacing?

  • Posted by fruitnut z7b-8a,4500ft SW TX (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 10, 14 at 19:17

mrclint:

Why don't you do something useful like help jujigirl with her LA basin fruit questions?

Here is a link that might be useful: LA basin fruit question


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RE: How to prune and train peaches 2x6ft spacing?

  • Posted by bob_z6 6b/7a SW CT (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 10, 14 at 21:02

Dave Wilson recommends 36" hedgerows, but they seem to have the rows spaced much wider than 6'. In this page they have the hedgerow taking up 18', about 3 of Frutnut's rows.

Even professional super spindle apple growers have wider spacing. I vaguely remember one video saying that height should be no more than 90% of spacing (with 6' spacing they would be 5.4' tall). This page says that the ratio should be between 1.3 and 1.5, depending on the NS vs EW orientation (4-4.6' tall). But, as FN says, with the light being more diffuse (and more plentiful due to the lack of clouds), he may not need to space them as widely to prevent them from shading each other. I'm interested to hear how it goes.


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RE: How to prune and train peaches 2x6ft spacing?

  • Posted by fruitnut z7b-8a,4500ft SW TX (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 10, 14 at 22:03

Bob:

Thank you for a helpful and thoughtful response. My plan is to have a canopy depth of about 4ft, the 2-6ft level. With the reflective fabric I have on the floor some of the light that goes under the canopy would be reflected back up into adjacent rows. I am concerned about too much shading of one row by another. I've got to manage that by canopy depth and density.

I plan to summer prune as needed to manage canopy height and density. Any light that passes through the canopy of one row could be used by adjacent trees.

With a reflective ceiling and floor there's light bouncing around in there pretty good. The two layers of woven fabric on top diffuse the light so much that I can look directly at the sun with my sunglasses on in all but the brightest conditions. When looking up the whole ceiling looks bright instead of just one spot.


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RE: How to prune and train peaches 2x6ft spacing?

  • Posted by mrclint z10SoCal Valley (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 11, 14 at 1:26

bob_z6, please follow this link and discover the 30" hedgerow recommendation. Truth be told, they have not been all that specific about the exact spacing.

fruitnut, I really like what you are doing, and look forward to your next installment. :)


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RE: How to prune and train peaches 2x6ft spacing?

  • Posted by fruitnut z7b-8a,4500ft SW TX (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 11, 14 at 9:14

mrclint:

Turns out, according to your link above, that DWN BYOC is nothing but a salesman's handbook. How to maximize tree sales. Doesn't that bother you any that your Guru is a tree salesman?

DWN are first and foremost tree growers and salesman. Not fruit growers. There is a difference and a big one.

This post was edited by fruitnut on Tue, Feb 11, 14 at 10:12


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RE: How to prune and train peaches 2x6ft spacing?

Amen Fruitnut!!
A lot of what DWN promotes isn't practical for those of us that aren't in California.


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RE: How to prune and train peaches 2x6ft spacing?

  • Posted by mrclint z10SoCal Valley (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 11, 14 at 18:49

rayrose, fruitnut is in Texas and is planting a few inches closer than the DWN sales doc has stated. That is why I wouldn't exactly call this pushing the envelope. Fruitnut, you are knocking a company document that is using the same relative spacing that you are in this thread. Please note that I wish you nothing but success.


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