The Q&A Archives: Winterizing Flowering Almond

Question: I have a newly planted flowring almond. It was just a shoot & has multiplied to many, it is about 3 ft. I know it is wispy growing & with winter coming I want to protect it. I planted it near my porch that gets heavy west winds. I tied rope all around it to keep it from blowing around. But am afraid when the rope gets wet & gets icy. I heard you should prune it right down to the ground. I wanted to ask the experts before I do something so drastic.

Answer: Dwarf flowering almond or Prunes tenella should not be pruned in the fall. This plant blooms on wood grown the previous year so pruning in the fall would remove next spring's flowers. The best time to prune is right after blooming, at which time it can be cut back hard if it has become untidy looking. It will regrow and bloom again the next spring. This plant is also quite winter hardy and should not require extra protection. Make sure the plant is well watered in the fall if the season is dry, and then apply several inches of natural mulch over the root zone but not up against the stems. The plant is naturally designed to withstand winds and snow works as a great insulator. If you are concerned about wind, it would be better to erect a wind barrier in front of it to help shield it a bit, using something like snow fence or a section of picket fence. In my experience tying up a deciduous shrub risks having the rope rub through the bark and thus causes damage to the plant.

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