For the most part, I like to do most of my pecan tree pruning during the growing season. Summer pruning allows me to shape the way a tree grows much better than dormant pruning. However, during the late dormant period, I like to work on keeping a well focused central leader.
The first step in pruning this tree and to preserve its central leader is to remove two of the three upward growing branches. Next, I'll remove all lateral limbs within 2 feet of the top of the central leader. Moving down the tree, I will head back some of the strong laterals to reduce competition with the central leader.
This may be the last time I'll be able to preform detailed pruning on this tree. By the end of this summer, the top of this tree will be out of reach for pruning from the ground. However, because I've worked on building a strong central leader for at least 14 feet in height, I have a tree that should develop a strong, straight trunk that will easily bear the weight of future nut crops.