We’ve been doing a lot of pecan pruning around the county these past few months. We want to get this done in January and February. I wanted to show these pictures as an example of how far back we want to cut these 3-year-old trees. It looks like a lot, but it’s important to understand that when we DON’T prune at all, we can actually lose a year on production. Many of these branches on these trees will not be productive branches in the future.
This is pretty much the last year where we will prune this hard. UGA Extension Pecan Horticulturalist Dr. Lenny Wells taught us to do 3 things:
- Cut off ALL branches up to head high.
- Select a central leader.
- Tip the terminal just UNDER the ‘cluster’ of buds at top. You will see the buds clustered at the very top. Come right underneath this, where the distance between the buds start to expand, and make a cut.
With these trees, you essentially ‘train’ it on how to grow. Developing that central leader is important also for structure. Tight branch angles (<45 degrees) develop ‘included bark’ as they grow. The bark is not as strong as wood, and these are the branches that break in wind. These branches need to be eliminated.