Pruning for any plant species is necessary and beneficial for practically all trees of human interest (both productive and ornamental). Pruning an almond tree as in any fruit tree is essential to correct growth and make the tree more productive and balanced. At Gardenprue we dedicate today’s post to teaching you how to prune the almond tree step by step.
TYPES OF PRUNING THE ALMOND TREE
We have already commented on other occasions, such as olive tree pruning or the most recent plum pruning, that there are different types of pruning depending on their purpose. In the pruning of the almond tree it will not be different but we will remember it:
- Formation pruning: Its name says it, shaping the tree to give it the desired structure.
- Fruiting pruning: Its function is to balance branches and shoots to achieve the highest possible productivity (it is tried not to harm the tree or decrease in product quality)
- Restoration pruning: It is what is applied when you want to rejuvenate a tree or recover in case of a severe disease.
With the 3 types of pruning clear, let’s see how to prune an almond tree for each type of pruning:
PRUNING OF THE ALMOND TREE
Normally, when an almond tree is to be formed, it starts from a tree acquired from the nurseryman, so we will start from that point. You can also get an almond stem but we will see that another time. Starting from the point where we have a tree of approximately 1 m, we must start the formation pruning as soon as possible. Dry pruning periods are always carried out when the tree has the least possible physiological activity, in winter rest , which ranges from November to February approximately.
All the graphic information that you will see below is taken from a very illustrative and very good book to start pruning almost any fruit tree that we have. Highly recommended. Here is the link.
Formation pruning will last about 4 years. In each of these years, pruning with slight nuances should be carried out as the tree evolves. Let’s get into the matter:
Once we have planted the stem from the nursery, we will have to prune above an anticipated branch at a height of approximately 1 meter. The branches destined to be the main ones, (usually 3 or 4), are cut to 2 buds above a lower bud. All anticipated branches below these 4 should be cut to a bud. These branches will be called tirasavias and will allow the trunk to widen.
When the almond tree is in the vegetative period (after winter), we will choose 4 vigorous shoots and clamp 3 or 4 leaves from the shoot born from the second bud. These branches will be pruned during the following winter’s pruning.
Click on drawing to enlarge
The main branches grow and grow early branches. The main branches should be cut to a height of 2/3 of their length . Branches 25 cm below the pruning line should be cut to a bud. We will leave the lower ones. They are the ones that will form the secondary branches. Also remove from the base, the strips that we had left.
Click on the drawing to enlarge
We repeat the same operation. We prune the main branches to 2/3 of the length and to a bud the branches that are 25cm below the pruning line. The lower branches will continue to form second-level secondaries. It is important to remove the branches that go into the crown of the tree. They must go out.
Click on the drawing to enlarge
We have no longer drawn the year 4 tree because pruning already consists basically of removing suckers that pull inward. Already the main branches grow much less.
FRUITING OR MAINTENANCE PRUNING
The pruning of fruiting has as main objective to establish the productive secondary branches. This pruning consists of distributing and balancing the productive branches well throughout the tree during the 4th and 5th year. Elimination of suckers, blunting extensions and generally eliminating dead, unproductive and diseased branches . As the years go by, the almond tree will be less and less productive.
Every tree has a few years of maximum production and then it begins to decline naturally. It is in our hands that this period of maximum production is extended as long as possible. For this, it is advisable to carry out light thinning every 3 years, taking advantage, for example, of new shoots to rejuvenate the secondary ones.
Normally this pruning should be done when there is no other solution. It is the most drastic when trying to recover a diseased tree for example. Recommendations for doing or not doing this pruning lie in the thickness of the main branches. If the diameter exceeds 10 cm, it is not convenient to prune. The open wound is very large. In these cases, substitution by another young specimen is the most appropriate.
The restoration pruning should be done at the beginning of the winter rest (November) leaving the main branches with a length of 0.5 m making the cuts as clean as possible.