How to trim a walnut


Walnut is grown by gardeners quite often, especially in the southern regions of our country. Often, they are treated according to the principle of "planted and forgotten", since the tree is rather unpretentious and is able to grow without any intervention. However, to obtain consistently high yields of nuts, it is necessary to carry out some care activities. These include walnut pruning in the fall.

Do I need to cut the walnut

A walnut, like any other tree, grows rapidly in the first years of life. In the first 5 years, its skeleton grows, framed branches are laid, a crown is formed. If you do not take any measures, the shape of the tree will be far from ideal, and the fruiting is unlikely to become regular and abundant. Therefore, in the first years of life, the future crown of a future walnut is necessarily produced by trimming. During its implementation, unnecessary and improperly growing branches are removed, form the basis of the future tree, its frame in accordance with the selected type of crown.

In addition, in spring and autumn walnut pruning is carried out to maintain the health of the tree. From its crown, it is necessary to cut out dried, broken and damaged branches, since all of them are a potential place for the appearance of diseases and pests. This procedure can be carried out throughout the season.

Walnut is a very light-loving culture, therefore for normal fruiting its inner space should be well lit. This is also achieved by pruning, removing thickening branches growing inside the crown, as well as the top shoots.

When to trim a walnut

The main types of walnut pruning are usually carried out in the spring. However, part of the work can be carried out in other periods. For example, sanitary pruning of walnuts is carried out at least 2 times a year: in the fall, after harvesting, and in early spring, before the beginning of the growing season. In addition, it may be necessary in case of emergency if the tree was damaged, for example, by strong wind or suffered from mechanical impact.

Walnut pruning in spring

Spring pruning of walnuts is carried out in a period when the air temperature steadily keeps above 0 ° C, but the kidneys are still in a dormant state. This suggests that the growing season has not yet begun, the tree continues to be at rest. Inside it there is no active movement of juices, so it will transfer the pruning painlessly.

In addition to sanitary, in the spring they make rejuvenating pruning of adult walnut trees, removing some of the old wood at the top of the tree. This allows you to light up the inner space of the crown and stimulate the growth of new lateral shoots. And also in the spring they make the formation of the crown of young walnut trees, cutting them according to the chosen scheme.

Walnut pruning in summer

Summer pruning of walnut is produced in the middle or at the end of July. At this time, the tree gives a lot of young shoots. Removing it at an early stage can significantly reduce the amount of work for the fall, and also save nutrients to the tree, directing them not to forge improperly growing and unnecessary shoots, but to produce fruits. It is also important that the shoots at this time green, lumbering. Their growth is easy to stop by simply pinching their tip with their fingers.

Walnut pruning in autumn

In order not to weaken the plant before hibernation, do not practice strong pruning at this time of year. In the fall, the walnut pruning scheme is quite simple. At this time of year, it is enough to make an inspection and remove the diseased and dried branches. In addition, the current year’s growth is shortened by 1/3, since young branches over 0.6 m long are prone to freezing.

How to trim a walnut

For good fruiting and workability, a young walnut tree is formed, giving it a certain type of crown with a pruning. The most common formation methods are as follows:

  • longline (improved longline);
  • leader;
  • bowl-shaped.

The choice of the scheme of the formation of a crown of walnut is determined by the gardener independently, based on the conditions, climate, as well as personal preferences and experience.

The following tools are required for trimming:

  • garden knife;
  • delimber;
  • pruner;
  • garden saw;
  • stepladder or ladder to work with the upper tier of the crown;
  • garden pitch or oil paint on a natural basis;
  • gloves, glasses and other personal protective equipment.

Before cutting, all cutting edges of the tools must be properly sharpened. The sharper the tool, the cleaner the cut will be. He heals much faster. To avoid infection, the instrument must be treated with alcohol or any disinfectant solution before work.

Tiered Walnut Trimming Scheme

After planting, a walnut seedling is pruned at a height of 0.6-0.8 m. This is necessary for the tree to restore the root system, which is usually badly damaged during transplantation. Starting from the second year, the formation of the crown starts. The essence of the longline method consists in the formation of 5-6 fruit tiers on the tree, each of which consists of 3 skeletal branches that have good detachment angles and are 12-15 cm apart. The distance between tiers should be in the range of 0.5-0 6 m.

Important! The tree after formation should have a bare stem with a height of 1.2-1.5 m. If the lower tier is laid too low, it is better to remove it.

Leader pruning

The basic principle of the leader scheme of the formation of a walnut crown is the uniform arrangement of 6-8 skeletal branches in a spiral at a height of 0.5 m from each other. The tree formed in such a way turns out to be evenly lit, which has a positive effect on productivity.

Cup-shaped pruning of young walnuts

The formation of a tree in the form of a bowl can significantly reduce its height and facilitate the work with the crown. In order to form a nut in this way, it is necessary to leave 3-4 skeletal branches at a height of 1-1.2 m, having good angles of detachment and 0.25 to 0.3 m from each other. The center conductor above the upper branch is cut completely . Thus, the tree does not grow up, but in breadth, gradually overgrowing with branches of the second order, which are shortened by 1/3 with each subsequent pruning.

Anti-aging pruning walnut wood

Over time, the yield of a walnut (as a rule, in trees older than 10 years) may decrease, while the fruits themselves become smaller and deformed. The situation can be corrected with the help of anti-aging pruning, removing part of the old wood and growing new shoots instead. Conduct such a procedure in the spring. First of all, they remove too long shoots, lateral processes, lighten the inner space of the crown. Easy rejuvenation is done 1 time in 3-4 years, more serious pruning - 1 time in 6-8 years.

After a particularly harsh winters, it happens that the walnut tree freezes out completely. In this case, a radical pruning is used, consisting in the complete cutting of the trunk. If the walnut root system remains in a viable state, the stump will begin to produce abundant root growth. In this way, on the site of an old tree, you can grow a new one without resorting to uprooting the old one and planting seedlings.

Sanitary walnut pruning in autumn

Sanitary pruning in the fall is very important for keeping the tree healthy. Each broken or dried branch is a place where diseases can develop, especially in a humid warm climate.

Attention! Properly pruned walnut in the fall - this means not only remove excess shoots. It is also a great way to inspect crowns and shoots, assess their condition, identify potential problems and dangers, and outline ways to eliminate them.

It allows you to identify the disease at an early stage, localize the foci of disease and save the trees from possible death.

Affected and dry branches are the wintering grounds for insects and their larvae. The timely removal in the autumn of such "hostels" contributes to the overall improvement of the tree and prevents the development of the pest population. For maximum safety, all cut wood and fallen leaves must be burned after sanitary pruning.

Departure after pruning and walnut formation

Pruning in the fall weakens the walnut. He will be quickly recuperated by timely feeding with a small amount of potash and phosphorus fertilizers, which are applied to the stem in a liquid form. After sanitary pruning in the spring and autumn, whitewash of booms of trees and lower skeletal branches should be performed. This is a great way to control pests that live in bark folds. In addition, on the whitewashed trunks appear less often frost.

It is possible to whiten either a ready-made composition, purchasing it in a specialized store, or other solutions prepared by yourself. For whitewashing use a solution of hydrated lime, chalk, PVA wood glue, acrylic and water-dispersion paint. Most importantly, a layer of paint does not impede the access of air to the bark.

Experienced Gardeners Tips

Walnut pruning, especially for an adult, is a long and painstaking procedure. Experienced gardeners recommend using the following recommendations when doing independent work.

  1. A tree formed in a longline or leader way can reach a considerable height. In order not to have problems with work at height, it is better to form it in the shape of a bowl.
  2. The points of origin of the shoots, which form an acute angle with the central conductor, are the places of potential break of the walnut tree trunk. It is necessary to get rid of them.
  3. Large branches must be removed in several stages. To avoid burrs of the bark, you must first make the bottom of the branch.
  4. The entire instrument must be sharp. This is not only a guarantee of even cuts and cuts, but also a way to not get tired any longer. It is easier and easier to work with a sharp tool, it is important for large amounts of work.
  5. It is better to remove one large branch than several small ones.
  6. Too strong anti-aging pruning is likely to harm the tree, its restoration will take a lot of time. At the same time no more than 1/3 of old wood can be removed.
  7. After the rejuvenating pruning in spring, trees must be fed, including with nitrogen-containing fertilizers, in order to stimulate the growth and development of new shoots. In the fall, fertilizers that contain nitrogen cannot be used.
  8. Do not start work in the spring too early or too late in the fall. If the plant gets under frosts, the sections will surely freeze, and the branch will die.

It is also worth noting that gardeners do not have a unanimous opinion about the use of garden warrior or oil paint for processing cuts and cuts during walnut trimming. Some believe that healing should take place in a natural way, others prefer to use honey, potassium permanganate and other means as a healing agent. Therefore, in this matter the right of choice remains for the gardener.


Pruning a walnut in the fall is only part of the work to take care of this beautiful tree that has lived for 100 years or more. This procedure not only promotes good annual fruiting, it maintains the plant in a healthy state for many years. Therefore, do not neglect it.