Peach Tree Trimming Guide: How To Prune Peach Trees, Cut Limbs (5 Steps)

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Gardening | November 9, 2023

Woman wishing for a peach tree trimming guide that explains how to prune peach tree branches, trim peach limbs for more peaches, which peach branches to cut, and when to prune fruit trees.

Peach Tree trimming goes a long way to make sure that you get nothing but the best from your peach orchards.

Peaches, like other fruit trees, produce juicier, healthier fruit when they are properly cared for, and peach tree trimming is as important as fertilizing, watering and other tree maintenance tasks.

However, if you’ve been neglecting your fruit trees, you can start to repair the omission by following this peach tree trimming guide.

It contains five simple steps that outline how to prune peach trees, and also explains when to contact a professional tree trimmer if the peach branches are too high or difficult to remove.

How To Prune a Peach Tree: Peach Tree Trimming in 5 Steps

Knowing the right way to prune a peach tree just involves some basic tips.

Diagram showing how to prune a peach tree with the parts of the peach tree and peach branches to cut.

When you have gathered all your tools and made sure that they are sharp and clean, you can follow the following steps to keep your tree looking beautiful and healthy.

Step 1: Cut Compromised Limbs

The very first thing that you should do is check for any branches that are in poor condition in any way. This means chopping off any part that is dead, discolored, broken, or one that looks weakly. Bundle all of these parts and dispose of them.

Step 2: Cut Competing Branches

There is one intention in this step: making sure that the tree maintains a proper V-shape with an open center without any branches in the middle or the sides. This is done in the tree’s first years of life, and you will only leave 3 or 5 main branches that grow upward. This means doing away with anything that is growing towards the ground or facing inwards in the tree.

Step 3: Shorten Branches

You will likely find some extremely long limbs that make it difficult for you to harvest your peaches, so you are going to trim out these parts. While at it, just make sure that you are left with the main branches as you get rid of the spindly ones.

Step 4: Remove Tiny, Thin Limbs

Any branch that looks weak and too tiny has to go for the tree’s well-being. You will chop off anything that points to the ground or straight up, and this will also help the peach achieve the open V-shaped top.4

Step 5: Remove Suckers

You must have seen suckers growing in your trees at some point. These are the tiny branches at the base of the tree trunk. These are also competing branches, and you have to remove them to keep the tree focused on the most essential parts.

When all is said and done, you will have removed about 40% of the tree’s limbs in a single annual pruning. You can now enjoy a neat, healthy, and happy tree until the next time that it needs pruning.

Why Peach Trees Trimming Is Important

One of the best parts about having a Peach Tree is the fact that it is the least demanding.

Even though it is not exactly one of the many drought-tolerant trees, it is generally easy to care for. However, one maintenance that you can never dismiss is pruning, considering how many leaves are on a tree and how bushy fruit trees can get.

Here is why pruning fruit trees, particularly the peach, is a necessity.

  1. Peach Tree trimming is vital for the tree’s health and well-being so that it is able to stay strong and productive.
  2. The fruit production will be impressive, and whatever you harvest will be of great quality, which is what you ultimately want from your tree.
  3. You will effectively be reducing the chances of your tree contracting diseases that have a lot to do with congestion, poor air circulation, and limited access to sunlight.
  4. If, by chance, your tree does contract a disease, it will be easier to protect it when you prune or chop off the affected areas.
  5. By pruning, you can easily control the size and height of your Peach Tree.2 This way, harvesting will be a walk in the park.

What Is the Best Time To Prune Peach Trees (When To Trim Fruit Trees)?

Wondering how long does it take for a tree to grow? The peach takes about a year to grow by 18-24 inches, so that means that there are very high chances that you will deal with overgrowth.

The problem now is timing: how to tell when you need to prune your trees. Or is it any time you see it growing out of shape? Or is it when it is dormant, like what happens with many other fruit trees?

Photo of a full grown Peach tree lying on the ground.

(Image: Prianxi9)

This is not really the case when it comes to the peach. You want to avoid pruning it when it is too cold outside because that leaves them vulnerable to dieback and also affects their ability to resist the cold. So, the trick is to wait out the cold, at least until the air starts to get a little warmer.5 Your best shot is early on in spring when you see the buds starting to swell up and new growth showing up.

Annual Peach Tree trimming works just fine; some gardeners even opt for it later in spring. Truthfully, there is no harm in waiting, but there will be problems if you do it in winter. In most cases, pruning will start when the tree is 2-3 years old, enough time for the fruits to turn up, but you can also do it after a year in order to maybe maintain the shape.

Pruning a Peach Tree According To the Seasons

Your outdoor plant gets to experience all the seasons, and pruning still remains an important part of care and maintenance. All these seasons are important to consider when it comes to Peach Tree pruning, and here is how everything plays out.

  1. Winter: This time is probably the worst time to think about maintaining your tree in matters of pruning because of the risks involved. You will have to wait until the air gets a little warmer unless you want to remove diseased branches that would otherwise affect the entire tree.
  2. Spring: This is the perfect time for pruning. But why? In spring, it will be easier to tell which parts of the plant have been affected by the cold in the previous season; maybe they have died or contracted diseases. So, pruning at that time gives them a fresh start.
  3. Summer: Summer comes, and you start seeing your tree fruiting heavily, sometimes even putting the branches in danger of falling under the weight. The tree knows this and reduces its growth rate, and the outcome is smaller fruits, which you don’t want. So, thinning helps increase the fruit sizes and enriches their taste and color.3

Preparing for Peach Tree Trimming: Getting Pruning Tools Ready

Remember that you have to be very careful when pruning your Peach Tree because there are cases where there is more harm done to the plant, leading to stunted growth and interference with fruit production.

So, you need to know all the best practices when taking care of your tree. The very first step is gathering the tools or pieces of equipment that you will need.

Gardening gloves and pruning tools such as trowel and pruning shears.

(Image: Gary Barnes10)

Most gardeners, beginners, and experts use hand pruners or secateurs for the entire process, especially with smaller trees, but if yours is massive, you are also going to use a step ladder to get to it, and of course, you will need a more efficient tool like a pruning hand saw or loopers. Just make sure that they are clean, not rusted, and sharp enough to make very clean cuts.

Hygiene is very important when it comes to caring for your Peach Tree because otherwise, you may be inviting diseases to attack.6

Also, make sure that you don’t compromise on the quality of the tools, even when they are a little pricier.

Pruning Peach Trees: Young Vs. Mature

Most people start Peach Tree pruning when their trees are a little older, but interestingly, pruning could start as early as after planting.7 It all depends on your goals or what you want for your tree. Therefore, you can prune a young Peach Tree if necessary and do the same for your mature Peach Tree. For the smaller and younger ones, you should consider pruning to make sure that the branches grow back higher and that the tree retains its great shape as it keeps growing.

On the other hand, the goals may change when the tree gets older. Here, you will be more concerned with keeping your tree safe from diseases. You will also be interested in making sure that the fruits grow bigger and of better quality, and, of course, you will do all this while maintaining the tree’s shape. So, there is no formula to it; just prune according to your needs, but remember to follow the best practices whether it is a young or mature tree.

Goals of Pruning Peach Trees (Peach Tree Trimming)

Do you know how to grow a Peach Tree from a seed? It can be quite a process, right? This is why you have to make sure that nothing will ever go wrong. Pruning helps with that while making care and maintenance easier. You already know it all depends on your goals, which will basically determine the best time and way to prune. Did you know that some gardeners only do it to make harvesting easier?

A peach left to grow on its own will shock you by its sheer 25-foot height. This will be a headache to maintain, not just to harvest, and that is why pruning comes in handy to maintain the height to 7-8 feet, which is more manageable. Thanks to pruning, you will also be certain of a tree that is not congested and stays happy, and the bumper harvest of massive and tasty fruits will attest to that.

DIY Vs. Hiring an Arborist

Considering what we have shared so far, you can tell that pruning is not that challenging, and you can do it all alone. If your tree is of manageable size and there will be no risk whatsoever when you prune by yourself, then you can go ahead. It will work if you are on a tight budget or just want to avoid outsourcing a tree trimming service because of a task that you can do.

It is only a challenge when there are safety risks, say your tree is huge, and you will need some special pieces of equipment. In such a case, you will have no other choice but to call in an arborist.1 One that is experienced and well-qualified to handle the job, preferably ISA-certified.8

The price point also matters a lot because some are too overpriced. Here is where a tree trimming cost calculator will be of service, providing a rough estimate of how much it will all cost you. You can now budget for it from there.

Photo of an arborist pruning a tree.

(Image: TreeMinion1511)

Obviously, you can’t wait for your tasty fruits to start growing on your tree, but that may never happen unless with proper care and maintenance. Pruning is one thing that you can never ignore if you own a fruit tree because otherwise, it will clearly show from the unkempt branches and a tree that seems to get sick all the time.

Pruning your peach is the perfect way to make sure that the fruits grow and are big and juicy, which is the whole point of planting one anyway.

The goal is to ensure that the tree maintains a V-shape and that there are no competing tiny and weak branches that will interfere with its growth.

With the right skills and the perfect tools, you can do it all on your own, but be careful because sometimes Peach Tree trimming requires an expert, especially when it is a matter of safety.

Frequently Asked Questions About Peach Tree Trimming

Is Pruning Peach Tree in Summer Advisable?

Summer is when the fruits of your labor literally start showing, and you may wonder whether pruning may be a good idea at the time. It actually is and for a very crucial reason. If the tree is healthy and strong, it is more than likely going to bear some massive fruits, and that could put a lot of pressure on the branches. So, instead of the tree having to bear tiny fruits, you can trim and reduce the extra weight, and the fruits will end up bigger and better without stressing the tree.

Why Prune a Peach Tree?

There are so many reasons why you should consider Peach Tree pruning, or that of any other fruit tree for that matter. Not only does it help with neatness and decongestion, but it also goes a long way to improve the quality and quantity of the fruiting. Moreover, it reduces the chances of contracting diseases and protects other parts of the plant in case a disease does attack.

What Happens When You Don’t Do Peach Tree Trimming?

So many terrible things could happen if you ignore trimming your Peach Tree. For one, your tree will have problems growing fruits; even when they do, they may not be of great quality. Two, the tree will be too congested, and all the overgrown parts will compete for the little resources available, which will definitely show. Diseases and pest attacks are also eminent in such cases.


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3Hughes, M. (2023, September 18). How to Prune a Peach Tree to Boost Your Harvests. Better Homes & Gardens. Retrieved October 5, 2023, from <>

4Iannotti, M. (2022, June 9). How to Prune Peach Trees. The Spruce. Retrieved October 5, 2023, from <>

5Coordinator, B. C.-P., & Horticluture, S. (2019, May 20). Pruning for Fruit Production. Cooperative Extension | the University of Arizona. <>

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7Training and Pruning Peach and Cherry Trees At planting. (n.d.). Retrieved October 16, 2023, from <>

8Daugherty, J. (2021, November 22). Do I really need an ISA Certified Arborist for tree work? How do I pick one? UF/IFAS Extension Lake County. <>

9Full grown peach tree Photo by Prianxi / CC BY-SA 4.0 Deed | Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International. Resized and Changed Format. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved from <>

10Photo by Gary Barnes. Pexels. Retrieved from <>

11Tree Pruning Photo by TreeMinion15 / CC BY-SA 4.0 Deed | Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International. Resized and Changed Format. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved from <>