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peach tree pruning

Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
Sat, Mar 15, 14 at 22:59

There have been lots of questions lately on pruning so I thought I'd contribute what help I could. To that end I intend to post several pictures on this thread. I don't know how helpful this post will be, discard what you will.

My purpose to not to offer any definitive way to prune, only to present the way that seems to work well for me. It's worth noting commercial trees aren't always pruned the same way as a backyard orchard, as the goals may or may not be the same. Wldlife pressure, aesthetics, space, etc may vary wildly from one person/locale to another.

The goals for my peach trees are:

1. A pedestrian orchard to facilitate ease of picking, thinning, harvest.

2. Open center trees with maximum sunlight penetration throughout the canopy.

3. Branches high enough to allow mulching, spraying weeds, or running a sickle mower under the trees.

4. Good spreading tree structure to support heavy crop loads.

Below is the first picture. All it shows is one of the peach trees we planted today. It's a 3/8" tree, typical of what I order. I prefer small peach trees because they are cheaper, easier to plant, and more trainable to the structure I like.

I placed a shovel beside it for a frame of reference. The shovel sticks out of the ground about 4 feet.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: peach tree pruning 2nd pic

  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 15, 14 at 23:16

Here is the same peach tree after I headed it. I cut the whips back to b/t 24 and 30". This one I beheaded on the shorter end (about 2')

It's not very noticeable in the picture, but the tree is planted on the top of a terrace for drainage. Good water drainage is essential for peach trees.


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RE: peach tree pruning 3rd Pic

  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 15, 14 at 23:36

Unfortunately, this pic is not the best example. It's a 2nd year tree. That is, it has gone through one full season and getting ready to start it's second season in the ground. It's a Redhaven, one of my grafts, planted as a sleepy eye in the Spring of 2013.

Normally one year growth would be better, but weed control and mulching was done later than I would have liked last summer.

Additionally, I like to select scaffolds very early so all the energy is diverted to the three scaffolds, rather than to the leader of the tree, which is pruned off for open center trees. However, this tree did not get any summer pruning, and thus a significant portion of the leader had to be removed after the growing season, thus leaving such a poor looking tree to start the second season.

The picture doesn't show it clearly, but there are three scaffolds, selected fairly evenly around the tree. I try to leave vertical space (of about 4 fingers) between each scaffold.

I tied the scaffolds to a fairly shallow angle. The scaffolds will ultimately grow to a more upright angle, but where they anchor to the tree provides a nice wide angle, which is very strong.


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RE: peach tree pruning 4th pic

  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 15, 14 at 23:46

This is a closeup picture of a sleepy eye grafted peach bud I planted two days ago (The bud has paint around it). The tree in the above photo grew from an identical bud planted about the same time last year.


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RE: peach tree pruning 5th pic

  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 16, 14 at 0:00

Here is a pic of a 3rd year tree (tree has completed two growing seasons). A Harken peach, also started from grafted sleepy eye planted in the Spring of 2012.

It is the low spreading shape I try to attain. I pruned this row about a week ago. Unfortunately, these trees were also not pruned last summer, so had a lot of vigorous upright growth which had to be removed. Most trees had to have 50% or more of the wood removed.


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RE: peach tree pruning 6th pic

  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 16, 14 at 0:16

For the last two pics, I thought I'd show a before and after picture of the same tree pruned.

I pruned this tree today. It is also starting it's 3rd leaf (has completed 2 growing seasons). Notice the vigorous upright growth which I should have pruned last summer. I don't know if you can tell from the picture, but the dense canopy shaded out and killed a lot of lower shoots. Many trees have worse upright growth than this one, forcing me to remove large portions of the trees to get the them back on course to a spreading open shape.


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RE: peach tree pruning last pic

  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 16, 14 at 0:43

This is the same tree after it was pruned. I'm not sure it's clear in the picture, but I removed all the vigorous upright growth (especially in the interior) all the low hanging shoots, and any branches with bad crotch angles on the scaffolds.

I left some short weak shoots (which should normally be removed) because I removed so much other wood.

We had such a bad winter, I don't know what this tree will produce, but there are enough shoots to carry and size about 200 peaches.

Hope these photos were helpful to someone in some way.


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RE: peach tree pruning

Man, it would be nice to grow peach trees free from deer, coons and squirrels and to have a chance to try to grow one with as perfect of a low spreading shape as the young tree in your final photo. Before I'm 80 I have to set up a decent electric fence system so I can retire to a truly pedestrian orchard.

How wonderful for your neighbors that you provide them access to peaches that taste how they are meant to taste instead of orange tennis balls from CA.


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RE: peach tree pruning

  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 16, 14 at 9:34

Thank you kindly Hman. Always appreciate a compliment from someone I respect.

Still keeping my fingers crossed to be able to sell a full crop of peaches this season. This particular tree looked like the fruit buds were swelling slightly, but I really have no idea what they are going to do.

You're right, the immediate neighbors get all the free peaches they can eat.


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RE: peach tree pruning

olpea,

Thanks for the pictures! I have about 45 fruit trees that I put in about a dozen years ago. I have started replacing most of the trees, esp. the peach trees. The old trees had about ended their most productive life, and then there is the usual disease damage as well as storm damage. I intend to print out your information and refer to it often as I train the my new peach trees.

My goal is similar to harvestman. I realized as I got older it was becoming impossible to care for such large trees.

Thanks again!


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RE: peach tree pruning

Nice pics Olpea. Good example to any beginner as how to start a peach tree from scatch, and end up with a fine producing speciman. And it really isn't that much work, if you do it right. Once you get to the last pic, maintaning the tree is not that hard or time consuming either.
The only thing that I do differently is my scaffolds start a little higher and I don't have quite as many, but I don't get your production. But I don't have a fruit stand either. Sometimes I wish I did.


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RE: peach tree pruning

Olpea, I was also referring to your customers as neighbors, even if they are not all that close. It is a wonderful exchange to make money not only by doing no evil but by doing good.


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RE: peach tree pruning

  • Posted by kousa Zone 6 (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 16, 14 at 11:19

These photos are really helpful to me as beginner. It is hard to prune a fruit tree because I have a tendency to want to keep more growths than needed. Thank you for posting them.


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RE: peach tree pruning

  • Posted by rina_ 5a Ont (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 16, 14 at 11:27

I don't have any fruit trees at all, but hoping to plant some - hopefully.

For now, I am reading all the threads on this forum in hopes to get educated some.
I really appreciate this kind of threads, and the time you experienced growers put into posting.

I have a question: is there any reason to keep scaffolds (I hope that's the right terminology - I mean branches?) that low? - I would worry about critter damage. But like idea of fruit being very reachable.

(Edited to remove photo)

Thank you. Rina

This post was edited by rina_ on Sun, Mar 16, 14 at 21:42


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RE: peach tree pruning

Olpea, not only is the info great, so are the very instructional pics. The first peach tree I ever purchased, looked like a tall lollipop. All of the small branches on the entire trunk had been removed. I bought the tree from a local nursery. First mistake. I have now pruned it into a large topiary! It does not produce much fruit, unfortunately. This might be its last year. The tree never stood a chance to grow or be pruned like yours. My new peaches arrived years ago, with low growth that I have since maintained. It really works. Your pruning produces a great deal of fruit. Thanks so much, Mrs. G


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RE: peach tree pruning

Very nice.

I also tend to let mine branch higher, but that is because of rabbits. Lower branches get hammered by my local winter rabbits...snow cover just makes it worse (they just climb up the snow banks and start chewing.

Do you grow a lot of your own trees or have you thought about it? Do you have multiple budded trees (many variates) and if not why? Other then bugs/disease...what animals do you have issues with (birds?)? Do you keep yearly records on blooming time/are you near that point? (its 13F right now up here!)....

Thanks..keep posting pictures. Heck...throw out a few high def videos on Utube over the summer!


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RE: peach tree pruning

Olpea, you have been kind enough to answer many of my posts over the past year as I've been learning about fruit trees and just starting down the road of enjoying this as a hobby. For that I've always been grateful, but this post may be my favorite so far (well, this and your spray routine). SO on behalf of all of us beginners who are often intimidated by many of the advance posts on here, thank-you for taking the time to do things like this.


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RE: peach tree pruning

  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 16, 14 at 15:35

Thank you all for the friendly comments. Very nice people.

Rina,

I really should have taken a better picture. I wish I had Konrad's skills.

The part you circled is dead a stick on the ground. The tree has 3 scaffolds tied down with sticks pushed in the ground to hold them down. One of the scaffolds you can't see because it's little bitty and points pretty near directly toward the camera.

I try to start scaffolds about a foot off the ground, then keep about 3-4" of height between the scaffolds. I generally try to keep 3 scaffolds. The photo to which Rayrose referred actually has only three scaffolds, even though it doesn't look that way from the picture.

I used to try to start scaffolds as low to the ground as possible because I've found it's easier for me to keep a peach tree low if the scaffolds are started low. With all the mulching done by hand, it didn't matter if the scaffolds started even at ground level. We don't as much by hand anymore, so starting the scaffolds a little higher is more conducive to equipment.

Frank,

You make a good point about rabbits. They are generally not a big problem here. We don't get near the snow cover you do. Last year I had some rabbit damage on some brand new grafts I was trying to nurse along. They kept eating the new growth down and I lost a couple grafts as a result. I've never had them attack any scaffolds here.

"Do you grow a lot of your own trees or have you thought about it? Do you have multiple budded trees (many variates) and if not why? Other then bugs/disease...what animals do you have issues with (birds?)? Do you keep yearly records on blooming time/are you near that point? (its 13F right now up here!).... "

I do grow a few trees myself. Thurs and Fri of last week we planted 33 I grafted myself. For the most part, anymore the only trees I purchase are patented varieties or varieties I don't have, but would like to try. I've now got about 100 varieties of peach/nect. so I probably won't be buying many more peach trees. I finally ordered a Honey Royale (Fruitnut's endorsement talked me into it) and got it with my last shipment from Adams County. I was kind of excited about planting it.

I haven't tried grafting multiple varieties on one rootstock. I think it's an interesting way of adding variety. For me, it would be too much to keep track of (pruning and labeling) but I think the whole idea is pretty cool.

Birds have been a huge problem in my backyard. Deer are a problem at the farm. I'm going to try to get a deer fence started this summer.

I do keep yearly records of bloom time and record the low of each winter. Most of the time the peaches bloom within a few days of one another. As I recall, since I've been keeping records, the earliest peach bloom was the middle of March, and the latest was the middle of April. Obviously later is better for me.


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RE: peach tree pruning

Years ago I read of a grower stringing small red glass balls on his cherry trees. The birds would investigate and give up before the tree actually ripened its cherries. I've never gotten around to trying this one- probably because I'm skeptical, but it's such a creative idea. Here birds aren't too bad on peaches at most sites, most seasons- after cherries they focus on plums. Crows like pears.


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RE: peach tree pruning

Olpea, that is a superb job and I'm grateful.

I could hint at a handful of people on this board who could collaborate wonderfully on a uniquely useful guide to pruning/grafting/propagating/spraying fruit. It might even be possible to assemble much of it from posts already written.


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RE: peach tree pruning

  • Posted by rina_ 5a Ont (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 16, 14 at 21:52

Olpea

Thank you, I thought that was way too low, but couldn't see anything else looking like a scaffold.

I removed the photo with the mistaken scaffold...

Rina

This post was edited by rina_ on Sun, Mar 16, 14 at 21:55


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RE: peach tree pruning

  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 17, 14 at 11:08

Rina,

The picture you referred to was such a sorry example, I decided to take another picture of a one year tree from my backyard. It illustrates the same training I use with hopefully a better picture. The tree started from a bud graft in spring 2013. I pruned it this dormant season. I wish I had a "before" picture. The tree was a lot taller and had growth coming out everywhere. I pruned almost all of it off in order to select these few scaffolds. If you had seen the tree before, you would have said I butchered it with my pruning. You would be correct.

There are 3 scaffolds tied down with sticks (one is sort of pointing toward the camera) and one scaffold at the top not tied down. I'll probably remove the one at the top. Notice I like to leave about 4 fingers vertical space between each scaffold.

It seems to promote more even growth of the scaffolds if there is some vertical distance between them. Plus if there are two or more scaffolds right at the top of the trunk (with no vertical space separating them) the tree is more prone to split under a heavy crop load.

Notice again this tree is in a mound (raised planting). In my locale, peach trees planted at grade level grow very little in a season, if they live at all. Soils which drain well, don't require raised plantings (for peaches) but I suspect there are a lot of poorly drained soils like mine across the U.S.

I see a lot of pictures posted on this forum of languishing peach trees, which I suspect result largely from soil which could have better drainage and/or poor weed control.


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RE: peach tree pruning

  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 17, 14 at 11:17

Here is a top down view of the same young tree. Notice the three scaffolds tied down (ignore the 4th small scaffold at the top of the tree) are spaced evenly around the trunk. That will help promote a balanced even canopy around the tree.


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RE: peach tree pruning

Olpea and everyone who redundantly keeps answering the same questions, helping others out, you guys make this forum! I really appreciate all the information..

I'm trying to get a backyard orchard going for years now. I just began to research and it seems there's a lot of different ways to go about it. One tells you to prune this way, another tells you no not like that, like this. Some tell you to make raised mounds, some tell you not.. Pruning is one of the most confusing.. I guess if you understand plant physiology and take a moment to really look at the tree, you could more less tell what to prune or not, which i think i have a good idea. But what confuses me is everyone i talk to does it different. Pruning seems soo mysterious, it almost seems like a matter of preference. I just want to learn the rules of pruning, and follow them. But, ive been so confused, pulled different ways, i just shut down, and quit researching..

I know i am not the only one out there like this. If you experienced orchardist can do more before after pruning pictures,etc, it would greatly benefit lots of us.

I still don't know where to begin.. You guys started somewhere. Whered you learn? What books,etc helped you the most? Any information to clear things up. I'm a perfectionist, i'm not getting my trees before i know how to care for them! I'm eager to learn!

Thanks guys!


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RE: peach tree pruning

  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 17, 14 at 12:21

"But what confuses me is everyone i talk to does it different. Pruning seems soo mysterious, it almost seems like a matter of preference."

Nature,

You are exactly right. With peaches alone, I am aware of 6 different training systems which are used (open center, pillar, central leader, perpendicular V, Quad, Hex) and that doesn't even count espailer.

For peach trees, the way you train is based on your goals/preferences. Of course there are some obvious pruning mistakes which would apply to any training system (I'll encourage someone else to discuss those, so I don't monopolize this thread so much) but the biggest mistake new growers make is to not prune at all.

Below is a link discussing various training systems for peaches.

Here is a link that might be useful: Peach Training Systems - Ontario


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RE: peach tree pruning

"(I'll encourage someone else to discuss those, so I don't monopolize this thread so much) but the biggest mistake new growers make is to not prune at all."


You could monopolize all you want my friend, monopolize me to the point i feel comfortable sticking a tree in my yard. that's all I want is a little orchard in the back to supply my own food needs. You could even monopolize to the point of digging my holes and planting them, ill pay you for the service and training! I just need to get the ball rolling! Don't know where to begin..


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RE: peach tree pruning

If you want to know anything and everything about growing peaches, there is no better source than the Clemson University website. It even contains a peach growers manual that covers, in detail, every aspect of peach horticulture. I'm posting a link below.

http://www.clemson.edu/extension/peach/


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RE: peach tree pruning

  • Posted by rina_ 5a Ont (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 17, 14 at 18:31

Olpea

Thank you for the link and additional photos & explanation.
It's good for us newbies to read articles with good illustrations, but it's even better to see photos - so together, it's really appreciated.

Rina


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RE: peach tree pruning

These pictures and text are good for selecting and spacing scaffolds but I'm not sure what to do now that I have identified the scaffolds on my little first year in ground trees.

Do I cut the non-scaffold branches back to trunk or just shorten them?
How long should I let the scaffolds get before I cut them to promote branching? etc etc

I have lots of questions along these lines. I can see the finished product in olpea's pics above but not sure what to do in the growing season to get there,


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RE: peach tree pruning

  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 5, 14 at 21:57

"Do I cut the non-scaffold branches back to trunk or just shorten them?
How long should I let the scaffolds get before I cut them to promote branching? etc etc."

Reader,

For peaches, I cut non scaffolds off when I prune. I don't shorten scaffolds either, as a general rule, when peaches are young. I do prune scaffolds to direct the growth where I want it.

If the growth is too tall or shading too much, I cut it out. If it is too low, I cut that off too.

I need to be pruning right now. Peach trees are getting too dense. Crazy busy here. No time to get it all done.


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RE: peach tree pruning

I also have done a lot of research on how to care for all sorts of fruit trees ( I have apple, pear, peach, cherry, plum and fig). I always feel very overwhelmed every time I finish reading all the different styles of "caring" for the trees...from pruning to spraying! I have found that the only way I can figure out what to do is to simply ask one or two question at a time! One thing I never seem to be able to find the answer to is, when, EXACTLY is one supposed to prune a "whatever kind of fruit tree" I'm am researching at any particular time! Maybe I am a little "overzealous" about certain details...but I dread the thought of making a senseless mistake that will kill a healthy fruit tree. Yet, I am not as worried about "how" to prune the tree...as far as shaping it, etc. I know that is important but I also know a misshapen tree probably won't die - the worst that will happen is it won't produce much fruit. See how my mind thinks...lol. So, since we are talking about peach trees here, can you tell me exactly what month I should prune my peach tree? I see that yours have no leaves so I assume it is in the late fall? Also, EXACTLY what month should you "spray" your peach tree with pesticides (if at all)? Thanks for your patience.


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RE: peach tree pruning

  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Sun, Jun 22, 14 at 9:38

Carla,

I used to prune peaches "when the knife is sharp" as they say. In other words I pruned whenever it was convenient.

That's not necessarily the best way, but if the trees are vigorous and healthy, it works.

Now I mostly prune in the dormant season and then a good summer pruning.

There are a lot of different opinions on when's the best month to prune, and it depends partly on your goals and locale.

For example, some commercial growers in this area like to prune around the time of bloom. If there is a spring freeze, pruning can be adjusted to keep the most peach blooms (i.e. prune off shoots which have no fruit set, and keep shoots which do).

One commercial grower in the area starts pruning just after leaf drop and prunes all winter long. He has 9000 peach trees and can't get his pruning done, unless he starts in the fall.

I prune pretty much the same way - all winter long. It works in our relatively mild winter climate as long as young trees pruned to severely.

This winter was fairly severe and I lost several young trees which I had pruned very aggressively (i.e. removed more than 75% of the wood). These trees had never been summer pruned and had very large upright water spouts which I removed and left only 3 small pencil sized scaffolds. The subsequent -10F weather killed about a dozen of these 1st year peach trees.

From now on I plan to dormant prune very young peach trees in the early spring.

For summer pruning, it's best to have it done before July 1st. That is early enough to prevent "dead zones" down low from too much shading of the vigorous upper canopy growth. That said I have summer pruned up until Aug. 1 and kept low growth alive for the most part.

In the past I've started spraying at shuck split. This year I waited a couple weeks after shuck split for the peaches in my backyard, and got more stink bug damage than I liked. I also got too much PC egg laying on plums, so I'm going back to spraying at shuck split.


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RE: peach tree pruning

Thanks so much for the information. I have copied it and pasted it to my "fruit tree" care information folder.

These are my three peach trees. The second and third photo show the two trees that are snuggled against a mulberry tree (that once was a peach tree but died back to its graft). All my trees in my yard were small when I planted these peach trees. I didn't know what I was doing at the time but I've learned - not as much as I'd like to know. All three trees produce but the peaches never get very big and the trees are at least 4 years old. They get some morning sun and a lot more evening sun but they are surrounded by large sycamore (which grows fast) and that Mulberry tree (which grows fast also). As you can see they are spindly but healthy. I know to cut the branches that are growing straight up but there aren't many more branches to cut. Should I top them out (what I mean by that is cut the top branches lower) - say a foot or two shorter? I don't want a lot of fruit, I just want some big enough to eat...lol. Any hope for these trees besides just letting them be pretty in spring with their tremendous amount of pink flowers they produce?


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RE: peach tree pruning

  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Sun, Jun 22, 14 at 22:04

Carla,

It's difficult to tell from the photos, but it looks like the 1st and third tree have multiple leaders.

If that's the case, and they were my trees, I suppose I'd start by cutting out some of the leaders. You really just want one leader, but it may be too much of a shock to cut those trees back to one leader all at once.

You might try taking the trees back to two leaders a piece for starters. Then cut the remaining two leaders shorter (take a third off the top). That's probably enough pruning for this year.

The trees should respond by putting out new growth. Next year take the trees down to one leader and shorten them further (assuming you want pedestrian peach trees).

The tree in the middle pic looks like it already has one leader. I'd shorten that tree by 1/3 to 1/2.

If you can, get rid of as much competition as possible for these peach trees. If you can, remove the mulberry and remove some of the sycamore, so the trees get more sun. Remove the grass/weeds at the base of the trees, so the trees aren't in competition with the grass for water and nutrients.

You mentioned your peaches are small. Make sure you are thinning your fruit adequately. Peaches must be thinned adequately to grow large fruit.

I'm not sure I understand, but it sounds like one of your peaches is a rootstock. If this is the case, it may never grow large peaches.

This post was edited by olpea on Mon, Jun 23, 14 at 10:13


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RE: peach tree pruning

We reside in North Texas and inherited two patio peach trees gone wild with the purchase of our home. I don't believe they have ever been pruned. With that said, they are mature and gorgeous. Loads of leaves and fruit on them this year. The problem is that one of the trees was allowed to grow sideways - looks like it may have fallen over when planted. There are limbs growing out laying on the flagstone. It is unsightly and I can't imagine it is good for the tree. The temperature is in the low 80s now. May we cut off the low lying branches and seal the cuts even though it is mid September?


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RE: peach tree pruning

Olpea...I thought I remember you describing your soil as a real heavy clay soil. Maybe I'm getting you confused with someone else. The exposed soil in the first two photos looks like rich loamy garden soil.
That's a lot of mulch. You get the free tree trimming stuff don't you? I'd sure hate to buy all that mulch. Is Asplundh the company that does all the tree trimming for the utilities there in Kansas? Big orange and black trucks?
Do they just deliver it to you in a dumped pile or are you able to get them to row it along the aisles?
Who does all your picking, pruning etc? Do you hire anyone? That looks like a ton of work for one guy.
Do you have a tow behind spray system, if not, what is your method of spray application?
Enjoyed your post olpea...as always.

Sorry for so many questions. Sorry also for getting off-topic.


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RE: peach tree pruning

  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 15, 14 at 14:44

JennLee,

I wouldn't be afraid to prune the low growing stuff on your peach tree now.

It doesn't bother me too much to have some growth touching the ground, but if you want to prune it, I don't think you'd have any problems pruning it now.

In terms of the orientation of the trunk. I'm not at all bothered by how the trunk is oriented. At one time, I followed the advice of "experts" which recommended orienting the trunk in a SE direction to combat our strong SE winds.

Then I heard a commercial grower recommend a NW orientation of the trunks, so the trunks would sort of go with the direction of the SE wind. He claimed he got less "blow overs" with this trunk orientation. Finally, I figured out none of it makes any difference here.

I plant trees w/ the trunk straight up. They blow over some, but don't seem to die or affect their performance. I have tree trunks in all manner of orientation (from the wind). Eventually they anchor, hard and fast, and that's where they stay.


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RE: peach tree pruning

  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 15, 14 at 15:10

Appleseed,

You are correct, we do have pretty heavy clay based soil here. You don't have to dig very far to get to pure clay.

That said, the top 12" of soil has a lot of organic matter (around 6%) but the soil in general gets very saturated w/ water because of the clay subsoil. Really a very poorly drained soil overall.

Obtaining enough wood chips has always been a problem. In a good year I can get about 60 loads. This year I've been able to obtain about 70 dump truck loads, so it's been a good year. One company needed to get rid of about 60 loads, so that helped a lot.

I've had fairly poor luck getting mulch from the big companies who do tree trimming for utilities, like Asplundh and Wright. Around here, they seem to have their usual places to dump and don't like to deviate.

I've not paid for mulch yet, and I doubt I will. If I were to have to pay for mulch, I think I'd just go ahead and skip it. It costs quite a bit to spread it anyway. To pay for it, would make it cost prohibitive.

I spread the mulch using rented equip., or I just hire someone with a skid steer to spread the mulch. I've done both, and it's about the same cost.

The people who deliver the wood chips don't spread them. They just dump them wherever you tell them too. I used to own a road grader and spread some wood chips with that. That went real fast. I could spread a whole load in about one pass. I'd drive up over the top of the load and push it down the aisle spreading it as I went.

In terms of labor, it's pretty much my son and I. We only have about 300 peach trees (plus some apples, plums, cherries) so we can fairly easily do it ourselves. I hope to avoid hiring a bunch of labor. I'm friends w/ another commercial peach grower and he has expanded to such a point he hires a lot of outside labor. He told me this summer, he sometimes wishes he was back to the same 100 peach trees he started out with, with just him and his wife. He said life was a lot simpler back then.

I do have a tow behind (airblast sprayer). I think it would be very difficult to spray numerous trees without one. Basically, it would take me forever to spray 300+ trees with a wand. I spend a ton of time spraying the 50 fruit trees in my backyard with a wand sprayer.

As it happens, I'm currently working on my airblast sprayer at the house now. One of the v-belt pulleys is worn out. The pulley takes 8 v-belts, but it burns up the belts pretty fast because the pulley is worn. I'm planning to convert it to a synchronous (geared) belt system. I've been on the phone all day working w/ a guy trying to design a geared belt system for this sprayer.


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RE: peach tree pruning

I think I was confusing you with ClarkinKS on the clay soil olpea. I guess it's no coincidence you are both in Kansas..right?
I guess when you owned the grader that's what you used to create all the berms/raised beds.
I'm not sure what you mean by a "synchronous geared belt system".
Do you mean cogged or toothed belts?
Good luck with your sprayer olpea.

This post was edited by Appleseed70 on Tue, Sep 16, 14 at 10:49


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RE: peach tree pruning

  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Tue, Sep 16, 14 at 13:48

"I guess when you owned the grader that's what you used to create all the berms/raised beds."

Yes, that's correct.

"I'm not sure what you mean by a "synchronous geared belt system".
Do you mean cogged or toothed belts?"

Right again. Cogged/synchronous belts are commonly used in industrial applications requiring high horsepower belts. Some cars use cogged/timing belts to run the camshaft(s).


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