Here's part 2 of the weekly food forest tour for 2/23/20.
The older peach tree has a lot of flowers blooming currently. Some of the blossoms were completely covered in snow and ice, hopefully they survived. The vegetative buds at the ends of the branches look like the beginning of some leaves are starting to grow.
I decided to cut off the rootstock branches on the young peach tree to let it put more energy
and growth into the main variety. I had to cut off more than 50% of the tree! (Gasp!)
I've heard it repeated a lot that it is best to not cut out more than 30% of the wood
from a tree. I actually prefer to cut as little as possible, usually just damaged or dead areas, and way less than 30%. This tree is so young and vigorous though, I don't foresee any negatives to cutting it back so much at this time. I am actually hoping that the main variety will now send out some vigorous growth this year. If 50% was removed on a larger tree, it would most likely change the whole structure of the tree and send up an army of vigorous waterspout shoots in reply, but for a tree this small, I'm thinking that it should
be fine and will benefit from the rootstock branches being removed.
The rootstock branches were all different sizes, so I used a few different tools to cut off the three branches. One was small enough
be removed by hand pruners. The second one was large enough to need loppers to remove it, and the third was growing right up against the trunk of the main variety, so I needed to use a small hand saw to cut that one, so I wouldn't damage the main trunk.
When using the hand saw, I generally like to remove the branch a few inches away from the target cut area, unless it was a really tiny limb, so that it removes a lot of the weight off of the area that I will be cutting, which will minimize damage such as ripping or cracking as a result of cutting a full heavy branch off.
All three rootstock branches were removed successfully with nice clean cuts. I'll be hopefully mounding up soil around the tree soon which will cover these wounds, and hopefully I can add enough soil to cover above the graft union and encourage the tree to send out roots
from the main variety and become an own root fruit tree!