Pruning A Peach Tree & Borer Prevention

Question:

 We have an overgrown peach tree that needs to be pruned. When is a good time to prune and fertilize the tree? I've been told that if a branch is larger than one's wrist, I should wait and prune it after the fruiting season is over. Is this right?

Answer:

  •  I'm not aware that there is any correlation between a branch size and one's wrist when pruning. So, I'm not sure where this is coming from. That being said, the traditional time to prune fruit trees is during the winter months when they are dormant; however, they're pruned in other seasons.
    • In your case, I'd prune it now if there is little to no fruit or if harvesting a crop is not a priority; otherwise, wait until later. The timing is a judgment call on your part.
  • Your first priority is reestablishing the scaffolding and secondary branches within the canopy with overgrown fruit trees. You would remove any dead wood and all the crossing and rubbing branches.
    • Also, remove the twisted and bending limbs, keeping those that add to the overall shape to the tree. It may take several years to reestablish these branches with a neglected tree.
    • Heavy or severe pruning removes the fruiting spurs. Peaches form on the second year's growth, so it will take several years before they fruit again.
    • If you're not confident in doing it yourself, I'd hire an arborist to do the job. Fruit Trees are fertilized with organic Fruit Tree Fertilizer. The fertilizer is evenly distributed under the canopy, and you should water the tree the day before and immediately afterward. They're fed twice a year, once in March/April and again in June/July.

Question:

We have several, twenty-year-old Deodar Cedars planted along a hillside. Recently, our neighbor's trees were diagnosed with borers. They are planted within one hundred feet of ours. What can we do to keep our trees from getting this bug?  

Answer:

  • Deodar Cedars are an excellent tree for dry hillsides, as they require little to no summer water. Also, little or no fertilizer is necessary. However, an application of an organic tree fertilizer in the early spring won't hurt.
  • I'm going to assume that your trees show no signs of any problems, and this spring, the new growth was lush and vigorous. Also, needle drop in the spring is normal, so I wouldn't 't be concerned. If this is so, then you have nothing to worry about as Borers only attack trees under stress. If the trees are planted on the slope, you need to be concerned with the soil erosion that occurs each winter.
  • A clear sign of a pending problem is soil building up against the upward side of the tree trunk. This soil build-up is burying the trees so that crown and or root rot could become a huge problem. Annually, the excess soil needs to be removed before the next rainy season begins.