Pruning advice for a 3yr old hickory?

JonCraig(6b)December 16, 2013

Last question to all you who are wiser than me.

This is a sentimental tree. My father transplanted it and it's done very well. Probably ~12 ft tall at this point.

Thoughts on any pruning that needs to be done to get it off to a proper start?

Thanks as always!


This is 90 degrees opposite the above picture.


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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

hey.. welcome ...

get rid of the stake.. run out right now .... and do it .. so the rest of them.. wont bug the heck out of you .. lol ...

a stake is simply to hold it up.. for the first year.. while the roots grab hold..

unless you really screwed up the planting.. that should only need be for the first year ...

next ... whats your goal with the tree??

walk under it.. without poking out your eyes??? .. then take off one or two of the bottom branches ...

and that would be about all for this year ...

think of leaves as food making machines.. NEVER cut off too many at one time..

think in terms of the hundred years this tree might live ... there is never really any hurry with trees.. my only deadline.. is doing it before i have to pay for it ... which looking at your tree.... is anytime in the next decade .. lol ...

the only other thing i would suggest.. is that i would increase the size of the mulch ring to 3 to 4 feet ... and perhaps a little deeper AWAY from the tree ... in my yard.. that is mostly to keep the idiot in control of the riding lawnmower and weedwhip ... namely me.. away from it ...

BTW.. what is the tree??? .. find some leaves on the ground.. if you can.. for an ID ...


ps: do you know how to properly prune .. and do you have the right saw or hand pruners????

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 4:48PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Are these earlier pictures? The tree doesn't look like it is 12' in the pictures. Have you removed the stake yet? If this is not a recent picture, do you have recent pictures?

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 4:48PM
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kenptn(z6b TN)

Hmmmm...Looks more like Fraxinas that Carya. Anyhow, it looks fine to me.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 5:33PM
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Yep. Doesn't look like a hickory to me, either - that opposite branching habit doesn't fit - and, there is no way in creation that a 3-yr old hickory would be 12 ft tall, no matter how much Miracle-Gro you poured to it.
12 inches, maybe, at 3 years; some less than that - but the taproot might be 4+ ft long.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 5:56PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i see brandon and i posted at the same moment..

did i tell you to get rid of that stake.. before he got here... lol ...

find a selection of those dead leaves... and see if you can find the right one ...

hickory have compound leaves .. like at the link


ps: nobody above actually thought to mention whether they thought it needed pruning ... eh ... lol ...

Here is a link that might be useful: first pic at link.. thats one compound leaf.. not 5 .... or i am mistaken.. or overgeneralizing ...

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 7:23PM
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Sorry--my wording was misleading. I planted it 3 years ago (maybe 4⦠the memory fades⦠no more than 4 as we've only been in the house 4 years). It was ~12 inches when I planted it. So I'm uncertain as to its full age.

I'm also guessing at height--it may only be 10ft. But definitely more than 6 or 8. The stake (which, yes⦠I'll removeâ¦) is at ~armpit level.

Here's the tree in a pic dated April of '12:

And the only pic I have of the leaves specifically was when I was trying to figure out exactly what variety it was with an app called "Leafsnap". I had to take a screenshot of the app to get the pic postable:

For posterity, Leafsnap's other suggestions (not shown in the pic) include Carya cordiformis (Bitternut Hickory), Carya tomentosa (Mocknut Hickory), Fraxinus americana (White Ash), and Fraxinus pennsylvanica (Green Ash)

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 8:01PM
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kenptn(z6b TN)

It looks more like a white ash to me, although it's hard to tell from the image. I wouldn't do any pruning and I would make sure it can move freely in the wind so the trunk can stiffen up. It looks a little spindly. You are aware of the EAB...

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 10:37PM
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famartin(z5 NE NV)

Well, Leafsnap isn't a very good program... its obviously one of the Fraxinus species.

My guess is that he ISN'T aware of Emerald Ash Borer...

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 11:02PM
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