The almond tree, like all fruit trees, requires two types of pruning: formation pruning and production pruning. In this case we are going to talk about the pruning of the almond trees, either adult or old, so we will only focus on production pruning.
Do you want to know how you should prune the oldest almonds to produce to the maximum and keep them healthy?
The almond tree is a fruit tree that grows quite fast, and which has proven to be very adaptable. In fact, it has been cultivated without problems for about a thousand years throughout the Mediterranean region, where temperatures in summer become high (35-40ºC maximum, sometimes somewhat higher) with dry periods or droughts that can last for months (in my area, for example, we can stay up to six months without seeing rain). Although it is never left without watering, it is true that, unlike others such as citrus, it tolerates dehydration better.
In addition, it must be said that it is one of the least cold hours that needs to pass to be able to bear fruit; specifically, between 250 and 300 hours will be enough for him , especially if he is of varieties originating from the Balearic Islands, or from the south and / or east of the Iberian Peninsula, such as the ‘Marcona’ for example.
Its fruits are very important, since having a pleasant taste and being nutritious, they are incorporated into recipes for desserts, ice creams, drinks … They even make personal hygiene products, such as hand soap or shampoos. It is not surprising then, that more than one ends up with a specimen in his orchard, garden … or patio. And it is that its flowering in spring is spectacular, when the branches are covered with magnificent flowers that, depending on the variety, are white or pink.
But for everything to go smoothly, it is important to ask yourself …
When is the almond tree pruned?
Well. As we said before, there are basically two prunings that must be done to our beloved tree: one is the formation pruning , which is done regularly since it is a specimen of 1.5 meters and has a very thin trunk, until it is It turns into a full-fledged tree whose trunk thickness starts to measure from a few 1-3 centimeters to 10 centimeters or more when it is older.
This is a type of pruning that should be done when you are young, as they are prunings that can be drastic, since it often involves removing and / or reducing several branches at once, and you can only bear it in your youth. Likewise, it is necessary to do it during the period of least activity, that is, at the end of winter to avoid excessive loss of sap.
On the other hand, the other type of pruning that must be done is production . This has a single objective: to ensure that the almond tree produces as many almonds as possible, and of the highest quality. It is also done at the end of winter, although it can be done in autumn when the leaves drop -and as long as there are no frosts until after about 3 months-.
How to prune an old almond tree?
Image – Wikimedia / Thomas Bjørkan
We are going to start from when the almond tree was formed in its day. When you do the production pruning, the first thing to keep in mind is that most of the fruit (the almond) is produced in essential elements of the branches called darts or fruit centers. These elements usually last for five years and their annual growth is low.
For this reason, production pruning must be done by maintaining at least a fifth of these darts, replacing them with the others that are no longer productive. When we want to achieve the renewal of darts, we must prune every year those branches that are between 4 or 5 years old , having a diameter of between 2 and 3 cm on which are the darts of that age.
If we are continuously carrying out this annual renewal, it will not be necessary to make the cuts on the branches that are too thick. In this way we will avoid a decrease in the production of almonds. In general, the almond tree usually produces enough suckers in the center of the tree, so it is convenient to leave some. These pacifiers can be a replacement wood for a branch that needs to be renewed.
In any case, as a large part of them should normally be eliminated , it is advisable to do it early in the summer, when they are still succulent. This is done in the summer pruning.
In addition to the removal of a fifth of the branches with darts, which will allow the renewal of these fruit centers, the diseased and damaged branches must also be removed to keep the almond continuously healthy.
With this information you can prune the oldest almond trees.