How to Prune an Almond Tree

Overview

Almond trees can benefit greatly from regular pruning. By keeping the top of the tree open and allowing light to reach the lower branches, you will increase your almond harvests and improve the health of your tree. With some planning and care, you can turn an overgrown, unbalanced almond tree that isn't producing well into a beautiful tree with good almond production.

Step 1

Prune your almond tree when the tree is completely dormant. In most areas, this is in December and January. Pruning when the tree is dormant will minimize new growth in the spring.

Step 2

Remove dead wood by cutting dead branches off about 1/4 to 1/2 inch from the trunk. For smaller branches, use sharp pruning shears with the cutting edge on top. With larger branches, use a pruning saw.

Step 3

Remove any branches that cross or rub on other branches. Saw from the bottom up through two-thirds of the branch and finish the cut from the top to prevent splitting or splintering. Consider sealing larger tree wounds with pruning pitch.

Step 4

Prune smaller shoots from larger branches near the top of the tree to allow light to reach all levels of the tree. Allowing light to reach the lower branches will make the tree more productive. Your almond tree should have an open, well-balanced look.

Step 5

Consider tipping the larger branches to keep them from growing longer. Tipping consists of removing the growth bud and about 8 inches of the branch. Tipping can encourage nut setting. If you are trying to limit the size of a tall, well-established tree, tip the tallest branches using a ladder.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't eliminate lower branches that aren't producing well. It is usually better to prune higher up to allow more light to reach the lower branches.

Things You'll Need

  • Established almond tree
  • Pruning shears
  • Pruning saw
  • Pruning pitch (optional)
  • Ladder (optional)

References

  • Almond Trees Care Guide
  • Almond Tree Pruning
  • Almond pruning steps fairly rigid

Who Can Help

  • Fall almond pruning has practical advantages, no adverse effects
Keywords: almond tree pruning, almond tree care, almond tree maintenance

About this Author

Christopher Earle is a freelance writer based in Denver, Colo. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, The Associated Press, the Boeing Company, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, Active Voice, RAHCO International and Umax Data Systems. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota.