Saturday, February 22, 2014

When To Prune Pecan Trees

Many people have pecan trees growing on their property. This nut has been found in North American forests for centuries, and in fact is the only major nut tree that is indigenous to American soil. The word pecan is from an Algonquin term that means nuts that need a stone to crack. Widely used by pre-Colonial settlers, the pecan was a staple of the autumn diet in early times. If you're lucky enough to have one of these trees growing near you, take advantage of it! With a little bit of routine maintenance, you can get years of nut production from a single tree.


1. Understand the growth habits of pecan trees. If a pecan tree is growing in the wild, then it's going to self-prune and won't need any help from you.

2. Choose a day in the late winter. If you're growing pecan trees in a controlled environment, such as your yard, rather than in the wild, you can prune them back if you like. Do this in the late winter when the trees have gone dormant and the nut harvest has ended. Prune off any limbs closer than 5 feet to the soil. Particularly if you have multiple trees, this will help prevent them from growing too close together and impinging on nut production.

3. Cut off dead limbs and extra branches. This will help maintain the health of these hardy trees. If limbs are dead, you can remove them at any time during the year without harming the tree.

4. If you cut off a live branch, don't cut too close to the main stem of the tree. Leave a little space so that the cut is not flush on the trunk. After cutting, seal the cut. You can do this by taking plain white latex paint and painting over the open grain. This will seal the area and prevent fungi or infection from developing on the cut wood. After a week or so, the wood should be out of the danger zone. Pruning your trees regularly and conservatively will allow you to maintain a healthy nut crop each year.

Tips Warnings

If your tree is young, and appears to be forming branches in a narrow Y formation, trim these shoots back before they form completely grown branches.

A fully mature pecan tree rarely needs any pruning, and should only be trimmed to remove deadwood or limbs that are abutting a power line.

Don't over-prune or you'll end up with a reduction in yield that may last for several years.

Tags: prune, pecan, trees, pecan trees, late winter, pecan tree, This will, trees growing, will help

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