How to prune walnut tree

Updated February 21, 2017

Most people picture walnuts when they think of a walnut tree, but walnut trees are also great for shade and wood. Walnut trees are drought-resistant, requiring moderate amounts of water and they only require pruning on occasion. When pruning your walnut tree, the least amount of pruning required to rectify the problem, is the best.

Before you prune your walnut tree, determine if it really needs pruning. Sometimes a defect, if given time, will correct itself.

Produce a vibrant walnut tree with single straight stems, by removing any outward growth. Avoid removing to much of the leaf area.

Prune your walnut tree during the first few years after growth before the tree reaches 17 feet. You can better manage the shape of your tree while it is still small.

Select a dominant leader to function as the main stem and then remove all additional leader stems. The chosen stem receives the nutrients that allow it to grow upright and straight.

Use a severe form of pruning called coppicing for trees that are hopelessly deformed. Cut the tree off near the ground, high enough above any graftings, to enable new sprouts to grow. Allow only one sprout to remain.


Make sure to prune your walnut tree when your tree is dormant, usually in the early spring.


Most walnut trees will grow tall and straight without any help. Only prune your walnut tree if it is absolutely necessary.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Pruning saw
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About the Author

Lacy Enderson is an Addictions and Recovery Counselor. She is Certified with the American Association of Christian Therapists and holds a Master's Degree in Biblical Counseling. She is currently enrolled in Liberty University's Master of Divinity Degree program with Chaplaincy. Lacy is a graduate of Rhema Correspondent Bible School and has completed the first section of Berean School of the Bible. Lacy is the author of, "Addiction: A Personal Story" and "So You Want to Lose Weight But You Can't Stop Eating." Her newest novel is a teenage Christian fiction titled, "Honey Sweetheart."