tree's natural tendency to produce multiple growing points on terminals. Recently, a grower in Georgia set me this photo (at right) of a 'Sumner' tree that he inherited when buying a pecan orchard. His question was simple--"How should I prune this tree to a central leader?". The simple answer is--"Not all at once". Since trees are three dimensional objects, it is a little difficult to illustrate how this tree should be pruned using two dimensional photographs. However, I'll try my best and hopefully, I'll convey some general pruning guidelines.
Here are three basic principles to remember in pruning young, nut-bearing pecan trees.
- never prune more than 1/3 of the canopy out of a tree.
- use heading back cuts to slow the growth of side limbs and direct their growth outwards.
- remove lower limbs over time. Cut only one major limb every 2-3 years. Your goal should be to develop a tree with 8 to 10 feet of clear trunk.