Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Training young pecan trees: The 2 foot rule

   The two foot rule is a simple way to remember how to prune young pecan trees during the growing season. There are three tenets:

  • Keep the top 2 feet of the central leader free of lateral shoots.
  • Limit lateral shoot growth to 2 feet per year.
  • Prune out upward growing shoots on laterals.
 The goal of this pruning system is to develop and maintain a strong central leader tree. Lateral branches are kept in bounds but not removed. It is important to maintain a large leaf area on the tree, maximizing the its ability to capture sunlight. The dense tree canopy also catches more wind, causing greater growth in trunk diameter.
    The before and after photos below demonstrate the 2 foot rule in practice. Notice a well defined central leader and compact laterals after pruning.

      The next post in the training young trees series is Corrective vs. directive pruning.