The Q&A Archives: Prune a pecan?

Question: We have a rather large Pecan tree in our back yard that is causing problems to our power lines. We'd like to keep the tree, but need to cut off the lower branches to free the power lines. How much can we cut off the tree without damaging it? And what are your suggestions about proper trimming?

Answer: Late winter when the trees are dormant is the normal time to remove dead wood, low hanging limbs or branches that are in the way, endangering structures or power lines. However, pruning can be done anytime it is necessary. The general rule of thumb is that you can remove up to one-third of the live material without harming your tree.

You can remove the offending branches by cutting them all the way back to where they join the main trunk. Your local Cooperative Extension office can offer publications which contain diagrams if you're not familiar with pruning trees.

Best wishes with your pecan tree!

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