Pruning established fan trees
Pruning immediately after cropping lessens the risk of disease, although it is slightly more difficult to assess exactly which branches should be pruned, as the tree’s framework is covered with leaves. In an area where there is little likelihood of infection, it is easier to prune in winter, when the leaves have fallen.
Because the peach flowers only on wood made in the previous year, wood which has fruited is useless as far as future cropping is concerned. After sideshoots have cropped, cut out the old fruit-bearing laterals back to replacement shoots. Fruit-bearing laterals can be kept, however, if there is wall space to be filled out; they then become part of the tree’s framework, on which new fruit-bearing sideshoots will grow.
After cutting out unwanted laterals, tie in the new growth and renew any ties where constriction is taking place. Cut out all dead or diseased wood at this time, and shoots growing directly towards or away from the wall. The fan should present a neat, flat appearance, well secured against winter.
When the tree has filled its allotted space, prune the leaders like a sideshoot, back to a replacement shoot.
Rubbing out in spring
At blossom time, or just after the flowers fade, deal with the newly produced shoots; at this time they will be about 1.2 cm in length. Rub out altogether those growing directly towards the wall. Those growing away from the wall should be pinched back to one leaf.
Now turn to the blossom-bearing sideshoots which grew last year. There will nearly always be a new shoot growing near the base of a blossom-bearing shoot, or nearby, and this new shoot is left to grow on as a replacement. The end bud on the fruiting shoot is allowed to produce a shoot. All the new shoots in between the terminal and the basal shoot are rubbed out, except any produced at the same point as the blossom. Stop these at one leaf. Do this in three stages at intervals of about ten days, to avoid shocking the tree. It is a good idea to start at the top of the tree and gradually work downward.
Pinching back and tying in Tie in the young shoots in spring and summer while they are still flexible. They must not overlap but should radiate out like the spokes of a wheel. Check that the shoots carrying fruit are securely tied. Pinch back the replacement shoot to six leaves, and stop the new shoot at the end of the fruit-bearing branch in the same way. At the centre of the framework where the branches converge, young shoots should be pinched back to about six leaves.