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In theory, the almond tree thrives for many years without having to be pruned. Nevertheless, an occasional pruning is advisable and sometimes essential for various reasons. The plant expert explains why and, above all, how you should proceed.

To cut

In order for an almond tree to give a lot of pleasure for decades, both visually and in relation to the harvest, it needs to be pruned every now and then. As a rule, he tolerates this quite well, but errors in execution can have fatal consequences for the almond bush. Therefore, the basic principle is never to use the cutting tool indiscriminately, but always to select the appropriate type of cut in advance according to the reason for the cut and to carry out the cutting technique correctly. You can find out how in the professional guide.

Why cut?

Dense leaf growth

Over the years, the almond bush can lose an above-average number of leaves during the growing season for various reasons or develop fewer and fewer leaves from year to year. This can be due to insufficient light getting to the inner branches or too many older branches stunting leaf growth. With a suitable pruning, you promote healthy, strong leaf growth and give the almond tree more energy.

Size and shape control

The almond tree from the genus "Prunus" can reach a few meters in height and, depending on the species, grow up to ten meters. Not every location offers the necessary space for uncontrolled growth in height and/or width. Almond bush specimens kept in pots in particular tend to tip over if you throw the plant off its stable balance due to immense growth. Especially in ornamental gardens, the almond tree comes into its own thanks to its even shape. Regular pruning is required to control size/width and achieve or maintain a particular shape. You can also pull up a high trunk with the right cuts.

promote growth

The older an almond tree or mature almond tree becomes, the more growth slows down. But diseases or pest infestation can also severely weaken a Prunus and disrupt vigorous growth. By cutting you can prevent typical "signs of aging", stimulate growth and make the almond bush more resistant to diseases or damage from parasites.

health promotion

The almond tree, which comes from the rose family, is considered to be quite robust and insensitive, but almond trees are not entirely immune to diseases. The Monilia fungus in particular can spread if the foliage is too dense and cause immense damage. With a targeted pruning, you not only remove affected parts of the plant, but also help a Prunus to have a stronger immune system and more energy, so that it survives diseases/damages better and faster.

Longer lifetime

As almond bushes get older, they become more lignified and less of the vital nutrients are transported. As a result, there are more and more dried-up branches and the formation of new shoots decreases, so that in the end the entire almond tree dies. In order to prevent this, it is important that the life energy is stimulated by an appropriate type of pruning, so that it can grow vigorously into old age like a young tree.

Increased flowering

In order to maintain and/or force a lush bloom, a corresponding pruning serves as a solution. This stimulates the formation of buds and strengthens the maturity of the blossoms. In addition, the metabolism is stimulated, which leads to an increase in new shoots and fruit formation.


When is the best time?

The right time to cut an almond tree usually depends on the type of cut you want or the reason for the cut.

Theoretically, an almond bush can be cut at any time from spring to October. It is important that no frost exists or is expected. However, it is logical that some types of cuts should not be carried out at certain times. For example, if you want to stimulate flower and fruit growth, it is of course not advisable to cut when the almond tree is in the middle of the flowering season.

The following schedule is recommended:

  • maintenance cut: anytime when there is no frost or imminent - once a year
  • taper cut: after flowering until June at the latest - every two to three years
  • Education cut: after flowering and/or harvest in October - once or twice a year
  • health cut: at any time - if necessary
  • radical cut: between May (after the ice saints) to the beginning of September - only if absolutely necessary

Cut Preparation

You may have picked the most optimal time and perfectly executed the most appropriate type of cut, but if you are not well prepared, all your efforts may be in vain. An important aspect here is the preparation of the cutting tool. This is to be selected according to suitability and should definitely be disinfected before use.

Cutting tool disinfection

Cutting tools are excellent carriers of viruses and bacteria. If this is infected, pathogens can easily get into the freshly cut wounds when cutting and can multiply there unhindered and cause extensive damage. To prevent this, you should disinfect the cutting tool with one of the following methods before each use.

  • immerse in 70 percent isopropanol for two minutes (drinking alcohol is not suitable)
  • hold the cutting blades deep in the flame of a gas Bunsen burner for a few seconds
  • Spray on bathroom or kitchen disinfectant, such as Sagrotan

Cutting tool type

Especially with a tall almond tree with thick branches, it is important that you use a pruning tool that leaves the cut edges as smooth as possible and is very sharp so that no crushing occurs on the remaining branches/shoots.

  • thick branches and/or thin trunks: special pruning shears or fox tail
  • thick trunks: fine-toothed pruning saw or electric chainsaw
  • thinner branches and shoots: secateurs or pruning shears

TIP: If you rub the cut surfaces of your garden tools with a drop of oil after use, you will keep them in optimal condition for a long time without rusting.

types of cuts

maintenance cut

The maintenance cut serves the healthy, strong growth of an almond tree and ensures that the supply transport can be optimally maintained.

Cutting Instructions:

  • Cut off wild shoots from the trunk and from the root directly at the outgrowth
  • Cut off crossed shoots at the base of the branch or trunk
  • Inward growing or curved shoots cut completely or two centimeters before the bend
  • noticeably thin shoots without leaving a stump, shorten the branch or trunk

taper cut

Rejuvenation pruning ensures more flowers and fruits, healthy growth and a longer lifespan. With this type of pruning, your almond bush or tree will get fresh energy again and will sprout like a young plant. In addition, it makes it less susceptible to fungal infestation in particular, because the rejuvenation cut also involves thinning out, which allows more light and air to get into the middle of the tree and allows moisture to escape to the outside.

Cutting Instructions:

  • for young plants cut all new shoots by half
  • When the almond trees are grown, cut off new shoots except for a few eyes
  • Cut off old and dried branches completely
  • remove leafless or leafless shoots from anything indoors directly on the branch or trunk

Size, shape and training pattern

With this type of pruning, you can keep your almond bush or tree in shape and shape it or trim it in size/width and “educate” it. You can achieve more width if you cut it off evenly once or twice in height. Shorten the side shoots, promote height growth. To reduce the width and/or height, cut the existing branches to the desired length. To keep the shape it is only necessary to trim protruding shoots and, if necessary, to shorten all shoot tips.


The Prunus dulce ornamental shrub is wonderfully decorative when it is "trained" as a standard. To do this, proceed as follows.

  • "educate" already young plants
  • select the thickest trunk in the middle
  • Cut away all other trunks/branches in the lower area to the desired trunk height
  • Stick a stick into the ground next to the trunk and tie the trunk to it (for stability)
  • Shorten the top remaining shoots by a third in the first year
  • from the second year only cut the shoot tips for more branching
  • the stick can be removed in the second year
  • free the trunk of new shoots several times between May and October

health cut

If your almond tree has suffered from an illness/pest infestation or is acutely in this situation, a health pruning is necessary. Among other things, this helps to remove damaged and currently infested parts of the plant. In addition, the health cut stimulates self-healing, strengthens the immune system and accelerates the regeneration process.

TIP: Never remove parts of plants infected with fungi or pests from the compost, but instead put them in the household waste. They can spread further on the compost and migrate back to garden plants.

Cutting Instructions:

  • Cut off diseased/affected shoots/twigs two or three centimeters into the healthy area
  • Generously shorten wilted and dried shoot tips, as is usual with fungal diseases
  • Completely remove discolored leaves and leafless/leaf shoots
  • In the case of severe and extensive damage, shorten the almond tree by at least a third

radical cut

A radical pruning is advisable when the almond bush or tree threatens to die or no new shoots, flowers and fruits are formed due to incorrect care, lack of pruning and/or extensive diseases. This type of pruning should under no circumstances be carried out during periods of frost or shortly before the onset of frost. The usually larger cuts can otherwise result in signs of frostbite.

In addition, this cut should always be done on a dry day without much sun. Warmth combined with moisture would promote the development of fungus, while rain wounds heal more slowly, which means that there are optimal conditions for the almond trees to penetrate the interior of the plant.

Cutting Instructions:

  • Shorten all main branches to two centimeters
  • leave at least three to five leading branches in the middle of the crown
  • Make cuts at an angle (for better water drainage)
  • Seal larger cuts with wax or powdered charcoal

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