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I have a relatively young peach tree which just split down the middle today, I'm assuming due to the weight of the peaches. I have cut off some of the branches and removed some peaches to help lighten the load. I called a nursery and they said in addition to doing that I should bring the branches back together and secure them together in attempt to save the remaining peaches. Then this fall I need to completely remove the partially broken branches. My questions for you are: Is this tree salvageable if I cut off 2/3 of its branches and will the peaches I've taken off ripen under any conditions?

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A

If the limb is still attached to the main tree the peaches should continue to receive nutrients to finish ripening.  As for the final state of the tree, what you do depends on the severity of the break.  Often peaches get what is called included bark, where the branches don’t mend together correctly as they grow.  This is due largely by narrow crotch angles.  These branches are often pruned out but if it isn’t severe you could bolt the tree back together for support.  Also, thinning fruit to every 5-6” is crucial in reducing the weight load of the fruit.  Thinning is often done when the fruit is the size of a dime.  If you would like to send a picture to me via email I would be happy to take a look at it.

Posted on 22 Aug 2008

Jaydee Gunnell
Master Gardner and Horticulture Agent, Davis County

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