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Yesterday I discovered a broken limb on a peach tree. My plan is to remove it properly in another week or so hopefully after the fruit ripens.

My question is how should this be addressed for the future health of the tree. Is the exposed wood going to cause health problems? Should I just leave it alone? Or perhaps prune the entire branch back to before the break?

As you can see from the below images, there are a couple of branches below the break that could still thrive and the tear is about 8" long and maybe a bit less than 1/2 way through the branch.

enter image description here

enter image description here

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  • Time to put the break out of its misery with a cut close to the trunk. For the visual, spray brown paint over the wound (tar was used in the past.) Plants cannot repair themselves and our fixes are not permanent. For a consolation, consider that the remaining branches will produce bigger fruit for a similar total harvest weight. Jul 4, 2023 at 16:28
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    Do not apply paint of any sort! In the future, do either or both of thinning the fruit earlier, and/or providing support to the branches before the fruit gets too heavy for them.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jul 4, 2023 at 18:14
  • @Ecnerwal - I literally just drove in and commented how loaded that branch was looking with a plan to add some support. Walked out a couple hours later and it was too late :-( Jul 4, 2023 at 22:13

2 Answers 2

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Cleanly cut off the broken branch as close to the trunk as you can. Don't bother with wound paints or covering the wound with anything. Let nature take its course. Trees want to heal themselves and (no guarantees, I'm afraid) the wound should heal itself over time. There's information (courtesy of Purdue University) on tree wounds and healing here.

EDIT To be clear, cut off the broken branch at the point indicated in the photo below. enter image description here

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  • Thanks - can you elaborate on why this would be a better option than just cutting it back to the remaining branch below the break? If you look at my first picture you will note there is a decently developed branch with fruit just below the break. Jul 4, 2023 at 22:15
  • @Butthosenewbuttonsthough.. - You could do that, but it just seemed a shame to remove a reasonably sized branch.
    – Peter4075
    Jul 5, 2023 at 7:33
  • Sorry I'm lost. You are the one who said to cut it back "as close to the trunk as you can" - which would result in losing the branch. I'm asking why you suggested that instead of just cutting it back to the branch. Jul 5, 2023 at 12:01
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    I think you're talking past each other. Just cut off the broken part. If you don't regard the part that it broke off from as "the trunk" that's not obvious from the pictures. Cut the broken smaller part away cleanly from the upright larger part and let it heal.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jul 5, 2023 at 13:05
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    @Butthosenewbuttonsthough.. - I've added a photo to my answer.
    – Peter4075
    Jul 5, 2023 at 17:19
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<to play the devil's advocate>
<disclaimer: I've never grown a tree, just seen it done>

Either after the fruit is ready or later in October when the tree is asleep:enter image description here

Advantages:

  • healthy tree(given competent pruning)

Drawbacks:

  • 10 large juicy peaches less next year

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