Walnut trees are beautiful and stately, and as an added bonus, they provide you with delicious nuts to eat every summer. However, these trees can be a little picky and demanding when it comes to care. In particular, when you trim your walnut trees, there are a couple of tips you should follow to ensure a good nut harvest and a healthy tree in general.
1. Trim before any leaves appear.
Walnut trees send out a lot of new growth each spring, and these new growth branches are the ones that will produce nuts. If you wait until the tree produces new spring leaves to trim it, you'll be removing a lot of this growth and wasting the effort the tree put in. Not to mention, you won't have as many nuts! Therefore, it is very important to trim the walnut tree before any leaves appear. February is a good month for trimming in most cases. A lot of walnut tree owners like to trim their trees around Groundhog's Day.
2. Use sharp tools.
Walnut trees are prone to a number of fungal diseases, including walnut blight, which can be deadly. The faster your tree is able to heal its post-trimming wounds, the lower its risk of infection will be. You can ensure the tree heals its wounds quickly by always pruning with sharp shears. Take them to a sharpening service every year right before you use them. (Most hardware stores sharpen pruning shears.) Sanitize them with some rubbing alcohol, too!
3. Keep low branches trimming up.
You may be tempted to leave the lower branches on the tree so you can reach to pick the walnuts, but here's the thing: walnuts fall to the ground when they are ripe. It is therefore better to trim away the lower branches of the walnut tree. This makes it easier to sweep up under the tree, which is important for keeping squirrels and other pests at bay. It also increases airflow so the lower branches do not get too wet and prone to infection. Aim to leave at least 6 feet between the ground and the tree's lower branches so that you can stand under the tree as needed.
With the tips above, you can more effectively and healthfully trim your walnut trees. To learn more about tree trimming contact a local tree service with any questions. Most will be happy to take care of your trees each spring.