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Do pecan trees require pruning?

Young pecan trees must be trained during the early phases of development. If left untrained, they will naturally produce scaffold limbs with narrow crotches. As these limbs grow to become the dominant scaffold limbs of a mature tree, they will eventually split off in wind and under heavy crop loads.

The angle of scaffold branches can be controlled, since the angle of the branch depends upon the position of the bud from which it emerges. Pecan usually have 3 or more buds at a node. The top bud is the primary bud. It is dominant and tends to grow almost straight up. This bud should be used to establish the central leader. However, scaffold limbs should develop from secondary buds during the 1st and 2nd years. These buds should only be allowed to develop after the tree is over 6 feet tall.

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