Can You Prune Peach Trees in Summer? Yes!

— Written By Bill Hanlin and last updated by JoAnne Gryder
en Español

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I spent a couple of hours this weekend pruning a peach tree in my yard. Many homeowners don’t even consider pruning this time of year because they think they are harming the tree. Actually, summer pruning opens the tree up for sunlight penetration and air movement which are important for quality fruit production.

If your tree is like mine, it is putting on excessive growth right now. The little fertilizer I put on the yard has produced 3 to 4 feet of growth. The straight, upright growth on the interior of the tree is called water sprouts, and, if left in the tree, will shade out lower branches.

The nice thing about summer pruning is that you do not necessarily need pruning shears. Most water sprouts can be removed by pulling them out by hand. Make sure to dispose of any prunings since they can be a source of diseases.

Removing water sprouts and other excessive growth will thin out the tree canopy. Increased air movement through the tree will help dry the leaves and fruit more quickly, reducing disease pressure. A more open canopy will also help with better pesticide coverage to prevent insect and disease damage.

Summer pruning will take some of the vigor out of the tree and is not recommended for all fruit trees. If your tree has less then 18 inches of growth then summer pruning may actually harm the tree. Pruning can be done throughout the summer as needed, however pruning in late August and September should be avoided since this may produce new growth that could be damaged by winter weather.

summer pinching