How to Prune Nectarine Trees

Nectarines are a great substitute for peaches. The main difference between nectarines and peaches is the skin texture. Nectarines have a smooth skin while peaches are sort of fuzzy. Because of the smooth skin, nectarines appear more reddish as compared to peaches. Early pruning is very important to maintaining healthy nectarine trees. When pruning nectarine trees, it's important to remove the previous year's growth, as well as any branches that are dead, damaged or diseased. Pruning the inner branches of the tree helps open it up to more sun light and better growth [source: URI]. Here's how to prune nectarine trees.

  1. Prune nectarine trees lightly at the beginning of the summer.
  2. Prune away any diagonally crossing limbs that are rubbing against other limbs. All new growth that appears weak should be pruned away.
  3. Prune away any dead, damaged or diseased branches, as mentioned above.
  4. Stagger the branches. Cut the branches back to different lengths to encourage new fruiting wood to form throughout the crown, not just on the tips of the branches. For example, cut them by staggering the branches thus: the first by ΒΌ inch, the next by 1/3 inch, and the next 2/3 inch back.
  5. Remove any shoots that start growing up the tree's center, to keep the area around the main trunk fairly open.
  6. Make your pruning cuts at an angle.
  7. Remove all debris and cuttings from around the tree [source: Ferguson].