With the scientific name Prunus dulcis , the almond tree is a deciduous tree well known both for its fruits, almonds, and for its beautiful and small light-colored flowers, which give a unique appearance to any garden with all its branches crowned in white. or pale pink.
As in most trees, pruning the almond tree is very important for its proper development. Therefore, we have prepared this article as a practical guide to help you know when and how to prune almond trees .
When to prune almond trees
The first thing to clarify is that there are several types of pruning of the almond tree , although in reality it occurs both in the case of the almond tree and in most trees that bear fruit. On the one hand, there is the formation pruning, on the other the fruiting pruning and, finally, the restoration pruning.
All of them must be carried out in the period of vegetative rest of the tree, that is, when winter begins , but we will apply one type of pruning or another depending on the age and state of our tree.
How to prune almond trees step by step
Next, we explain how to do each type of pruning of the almond tree :
Formation pruning of almond trees
Formation pruning of the almond tree is practiced for the first time when the tree is approximately 1 meter high and, from there, it is carried out for the next four years. With this pruning, what we seek is to give the almond tree a good structure and shape, in which the branches are concentrated in the crown and towards the outside, without disturbing each other.
In this way, the first year all the main branches (the top 3 or 4) have to be cut 2 buds apart and the rest 1 bud. In the second year we repeat the process, leaving the main branches at 2/3 of their size, and the rest again at 1 bud. This time we remove the branches that grow inward, as well as the remains of those that remained at the base of the trunk. From the third and fourth year, the operation is repeated giving priority to the elimination of suckers and interior branches, since the rest will already be quite formed.
Maintenance or fruiting pruning
From the fourth year , maintenance or fruiting pruning is practiced, which consists of giving the tree good secondary branches that produce many fruits. Suckers are removed , their branches are well distributed, and dry or diseased parts are removed. If you don’t want your almond tree for the fruit, you can only focus on sanitizing the parts that need it.
Finally, the restoration pruning of the almond tree is practiced on old or very sick trees . It is done as a last resort, since it is a very aggressive pruning that puts the tree at risk. When it is carried out, we leave only the main branches of the tree, no longer than half a meter in length.
Pruning the almond tree in green
There is a single exception to the fact when the pruning of the almond tree should be practiced. The time to prune almond trees is always in winter, with the tree in vegetative rest, but after the first pruning , we must carry out a green pruning in that first summer .
The so-called green pruning is the one that tries to eliminate unwanted suckers and branches with an unwanted orientation early, since they will have grown very quickly.
How to prune old or abandoned almond trees
When we try to restore strength and vitality to a very old almond tree or one that has been abandoned for a long time, there is usually no choice but to resort to a restoration pruning .
As we have said before, it is a very aggressive pruning that endangers the health of the tree. In fact, if the main branches are more than 10 centimeters thick, the wounds to be closed are very large and the tree may not survive. However, as many times there is no other remedy, you have to take a risk. When carrying out the restoration pruning, all its main branches are pruned no more than 50 cm from its source, without leaving any secondary branches. With this we try to “restart” the tree to that point where we place it with the first formation pruning. In this way, if the almond tree survives pruning, it will grow back properly and with more force.
Remember that your almond pruning shears, as well as the rest of your gardening and horticultural tool kit , must always be well disinfected and very sharp to be able to make clean cuts, something especially important in aggressive pruning like this one.
In addition, if you notice that at some point your tree shows the slightest symptom of any disease that is frequent in trees that bear fruit, such as fungi, we recommend using these homemade fungicides for trees . Keep in mind that fungi can appear at any time, but after pruning they can reach the wound areas, as they are the weakest points at that time, so you can also use them preventively.