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Pruning peach tree

Pruning peach treeIn general the peach is a stronger and more rapid grower than the apple or the pear. For that reason it is planted in the orchard at an earlier age than either. Yearling peach trees are considered more satisfactory by orchardists than older trees.

These young plants are usually reduced to a single stein or whip at planting time, the head being, formed from the shoots which develop along the body of the tree during the first year of its growth. It is an easy matter to go over the newly planted tree and rub off such shoots as are not desired.

Practically the same rule that holds for forming the head of the apple and the pear is adhered to in forming the body branches of the peach, three or four being the number most frequently used. These shoots are, at the close of the first season, shortened back to about 1 foot in length and are allowed to divide into three or four branches during the next season's growth. The same heading-back and multiplication of the branches takes place the next year.

At planting time, however, the main stem of the tree, which carries the roots but no lateral branches, is seldom more than 2 feet in height, so that when the framework branches develop from it the head of the tree is not more than 18 or 20 inches from the ground. This arrangement enables workmen standing upon the ground to gather the fruit during the first three or four years of the fruit-bearing period.

As the tree grows older and the branches become longer, it is necessary to employ picking stands of some description. The best growers, however, systematically shorten the annual growth of all of their orchard trees.