More Productive and Profitable Peach Planting Systems
Although pruning and training sys tems for apple planting systems have changed rapidly in the last 10 years, schemes for training and pruning peaches have been slow to change. The Open Center or Vase is still the most dominant system in use today in New York. This system’s requirement for ground level production, strong annual pruning, and wide plant spacing has limited both early and mature production. New York’s marginal climate for peach production has also limited the productivity and profitability of NY peach orchards. Winter damage, the main cause of Cytospora canker disease, is primarily responsible for a peach orchard’s average lifespan of only 15 years in New York.
Experience with apple planting systems has shown that higher planting densities, and specialized pruning and training strategies have a huge effect on orchard productivity and profitability (Robinson et al., 2007). The renewed interest in peaches as an alternate crop for apples in recent years offered us the opportunity to investigate new pruning and training methods for peaches appropriate for New York. A planting systems trial was established in NY in 1999 with the objective of improving productivity and profitability in the NY peach industry. Six peach training systems [Open Center (155 trees/acre, Quad-V (218 trees/acre), Tri- V (366 trees/acre), Perpendicular-V (641 trees/acre), Central Leader (444 trees/ acre) and Fusetto (779 trees/acre)] on three varieties [Allstar (yellow peach), Blushingstar (white peach) and Flavortop (nectarine)] all on Bailey rootstock were compared in a replicated field trial planted in 1999 at Olcott, New York. In this article we will describe the training procedures for establishing new high density peach plantings and compare their performance in our trial.