How to Prune an Almond Nut Tree

Overview

The correct pruning of an almond tree has been described as an art. The goal of pruning this nut tree is to make an attractive canopy that accentuates the tree's natural form. Pruning an almond tree is more than art, however, because proper pruning also encourages maximum productivity. The tree should be well balanced and symmetrical, which makes it strong enough to withstand high winds. One of the rules professional almond growers follow is to prune heavily after a year of light nut production and to prune lightly after a prolific year, according to the University of California at Davis.

Pruning an Almond Tree

Step 1

Prune young almond trees during their first winter to create an open center. Cut the central leader to within about 3 feet of the soil to encourage the growth of lateral shoots. Keep watersprouts and unwanted lateral shoots pruned off when the tree is small.

Step 2

Prune mature trees every winter if you wish, but pruning every two to three years is all that's necessary. Cut watersprouts and dead branches back to the main trunk. Prune limbs that cross over each other and that grow parallel to one another; the goal being to keep the inside of the almond tree open.

Step 3

Thin limbs to create a balanced appearance. Prune limbs that, as a result of winds. have grown into the tree's central canopy. Step back several feet to evaluate the visual impact of the tree. Prune to create the balanced shape.

Step 4

Make stiffening cuts by removing 1/3 of a limb, particularly when the tree has slender limbs that bend easily.

Step 5

Prune the almond tree to increase the amount of light that reaches the main scaffolds.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not make large pruning cuts in summer when the tree is in its active growth period. Do not seal pruned cuts with tree pruning tar or paint because such products can slow down the tree's ability to heal the cut, according to Texas A&M University.

Things You'll Need

  • Tree saw
  • Pruning loppers
  • Ladder

References

  • University of California, Davis: Almond Tree Pruning
  • University of Georgia: Almond - Prunus dulcis
  • University of Florida: Pruning and Training Deciduous Fruit Trees
  • Texas A&M University: Follow Proper Pruning Techniques
Keywords: almond tree, pruning methods, nuts growing

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, GardenGuides and eHow. She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.