Lanky butternut

Asked August 1, 2015, 4:31 AM EDT

We have a butternut tree that was planted a number of years ago along our hedgerow to help to replace some very old Italian plums. It didn't do very well and last summer we finally decided to move it. It is about 10 feet tall with very few side branches. The trunk is also still fairly thin and the how tree is just unattractive. I would like to find out if there is a way to encourage branching and increase vigor through pruning.

Clackamas County Oregon

1 Response

Hi:

Butternut should form a very broad tree when it is growing normally, so the lack of vigor and branching implies a cultural or environmental problem that is inhibiting growth. Pruning is employed most usefully to direct growth on vigorous plants, and if there is an underlying problem that is inhibiting growth, pruning is not likely to change that. Perhaps you can send a few photos of this tree to me at the email address below and I can get a better sense of what is up with it and suggest some options for you.