This year some black walnut trees started coming up naturally on my property and I decided that I want to keep some of them. Is it too early in the tree's life to trim away the lower branches, or should I wait another year? Also, I live in Wisconsin and wonder what month is ideal for trimming them?
As far as trimming the lower branches, the rule of thumb is that you would like to have 2/3 canopy to 1/3 trunk. That means, if the tree is 6' tall, you can remove the lower branches so that there is 2' of clearance over the landscape. If the lower branches are impeding mowing or other landscaping, just trim them back so that they are not in the way. The tree will still use these "temporary branches" to add taper (diameter) and strength to the trunk of the tree. Purely from a theoretical standpoint, the best time to prune Black Walnut is in the dormant season. That said, there are no commonly known issues (insect or diseases) with pruning during the growing season. We prune them whenever the saw is sharp. If you need any additional information, please don't hesitate to contact us at Bartlett Tree Experts.
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