Walnut Tree Pruning Tips

several walnuts, some cracked open

A walnut tree makes a great addition to any yard. They do not require a lot of work once they have gotten started and established. The first few years are full of care and maintenance of the young tree though. They do require regular pruning. If left to grow as it likes, a walnut tree can become quite massive and full of limbs. Pruning your walnut tree will keep it healthy and full of fruit for many, many years. Here are a few things to know about pruning your walnut tree.

1. Pruning Is Needed

man pruning a tree

As a walnut tree is growing, it will need to be pruned in order to train it and shape it to the way you want. Pruning is basically taking off damaged and dead branches that are not growing and are too weak to handle any added growth. Pruning, though, keeps the tree invigorated. As you take off some of the new limbs, old growth, and dead limbs, the tree can release that energy into different parts of the tree. This will cause an abundance of nuts, revitalized growth in the direction you want, and better resistance to disease.

2. When Should You Prune Your Walnut Tree?

There are several different times when pruning is necessary, the first being at planting. When you first plant your walnut tree you should cut back the top of the tree until it is a dormant bud. This bud will then begin to be the main trunk of the tree. For the first couple of years, you should continue to prune the tree back to this main trunk to let it grow taller. As it gets taller you should then remove any branches that you do not want to be the main skeleton of the tree.

After the first five years, you should have a wonderfully-shaped tree with a strong main trunk and skeleton branches that fill out the tree. Prune it very heavily every three years after that to thin it out and create new upward growth.

3. How to Prune

pruning branches on a tree

One of the biggest tips for pruning your walnut tree is to cut off the limbs when they are very small. This will make the wounds in the tree small and less susceptible to insects. If you are removing larger branches, then you should leave the base of the limb so that it will scab over easier. Taking off the top of the tree, or the top of limbs, requires that you cut it back to the dormant bud.

4. What Is Pruned?

The main focus of the pruning should always be the shape of the tree. Always remove any branches that are drooping towards the ground or do not add to the overall structure and shape. Any weak branches that you see, and dead branches should also be removed. Use your discretion of what else to take off. You should look at the canopy and remove any limbs, offshoots, or small stems that will not add to the structure.

Pruning your walnut tree will help it grow healthier over time and produce much better nuts. Use these tips to help you better prune your walnut tree.