After planting, cut back the peach and nectarine trees
to 22 to 24 inches. Peaches may have numerous lateral
branches. After topping the tree back, cut the uppermost
remaining shoots or branches back to 6 inches. Lower
branches should be cut back to 4 to 5 inches. These
will be used to select scaffolds during the growing season.
Cut off all other branches back to one bud to provide
shade for the bark. Peaches and nectarines produce fruit
laterally on 1-year-old shoots. It is not uncommon for
them to produce fruit the first season after planting.
However, avoid allowing fruit to develop in the first
two or three years after planting. Whitewash or paint
with diluted interior water-based paint to protect from
sunburn and reduce borer damage. Avoid water stress,
especially in the first 2 years of development.