Prune Trees

Lucerne Trees love to be pruned!

1-20140809_165445 18mth old 30 days after pruning
16-month-old trees with thick stems & no taller than 1 meter

Pruned trees bounce back within 50 days!  New growth is lush, abundant and nutritious.

3-20140809_170014 18mth old 30 days after pruning
Multi-stemmed tree heavily pruned at 16 months

Why & when to prune ~

5-20140809_170103 18mth old 30 days after pruning
Thick succulent leaves on thick branches
  • Prune lightly when the tree is young, even while in their potting bags at about 40cm, to encourage side shoots and branches from the bottom.
  • Cut all the tall branches above 1-meter height to keep the tree short for optimal grazing for sheep or cattle.
  • Remove all the tall & spindly branches. 
  • Shape the tree into a small, compact bush.
  • Pruning causes the stem and side branches to increase in thickness, which increases the carrying capacity for foliage.

    Compact tree
    Compact tree
  • All cuttings are food!
  • These cuttings should be processed into silage or chipped and fed green or dry to any livestock.  This is your best food-producing method in lucerne tree farming.

Happy Farming!

Copyright © 2012 by Myles & Nadene Esterhuizen

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher permitted by copyright law.


14 thoughts on “Prune Trees

  1. More
    Ek is gelee in NC naby Richmond raak baie koud. Eerst ryp in April laaste 20 Oct nie kouer as -11C. Beplan om saad te ontkiem Jan uit te plant Nov. Sal plantjies die volgende winter kan oorleef? Saad of plantjies? is die plant regtig so goed soos die media se of bemark hulle net goed?


    • Hallo Jozua dit is goed om die planties te ontkiem en hulle in sakkies te hou totdat hulle 60cm hoog staan. Koop vir jouself 2.5 litre sakkies en sit die sakkies om opgehoopte sag grond sodat as die wortels by die sak uitgroei dan sal jy hulle maklik kan uithaal sonder om hulle te beskadig. Die bome hoef net deur een groei seisoen te gaan en hulle sal die ergste omstandighede deurmaak. Die boom kan tot 1.8m groeie in sy eerste groei seisoen.
      Die boom is uitstekende weiding maar n mens moet hulle dig plant om genoeg weiding te skep. Enige dier vreet baie en om jou rye 6meter uitmekaar of self 5 meter uitmekaar te vestig maak nie veel sin nie. Ek stap vanoggend deur n aanplanting en besef weer dat van my aanplantings te ver uitmekaar is.


      • Maybe tramline planting would be better. You can keep every 2nd interrow at 4 metres for the tractor, but bring the tramline to 2 metres. This would give you 1650 trees per ha, and you could still get in easily and reach each tree from the tractor.


  2. Myles

    Ons plaas is in Mpumalanga in die Carolina distrik. Ek beoog om boomlusern te plant vir beeste en bokke. Die plan is om rye 10m uitmekaar te maak en dan die plante 2m van mekaar te plant. Wat is jou aanbeveling?



  3. ek is besig om van die lusern wonder aan te plant. Julle praat van snoei, is dit nodig om hulle te snoei of kan jy maar net bewei?



    • @Chris, sodra die boompie 40cm hoog staan, sny hom 5cm terug sodat hy kan bos. Dit kan jy al in die sakkies doen. As jy die boompie uitplant kan jy dit op 1m hoogte snoei. Die diere hou dit op korrekte hoogte as hulle dit bewei.


  4. The silage will contain woody material – correct? Will cattle/sheep/goats eat the wood material? What % of woody material will they eat? When drying do you dry the material before chipping?

    I love your work !

    Mark Boland
    Baton Rouge lousiana USA


    • @Mark Boland, You are correct – the chipped material includes the branches, but they are not very woody, but rather green and soft. This provides excellent, nutrient-rich fiber in the fodder. The advantage of chipping your branches is that you quadruple the tonnage from your trees. I’m not sure of the percentages. All animals LOVE this food!

      We chip the branches while green and wet. The chipped material can then be dried and stored, or closed up in air-proof bags to create silage. Dried cuttings are harder to chip and are not as nutritious.


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