Pruned trees bounce back!

20150504_140623We cannot over-emphasize the importance of pruning!

  • Prune your trees to promote

    bushy, dense foliage.  Side branches and more leaves will grow on off the main branches and stem.

  • Branches will become thicker and will not break easily if your animals graze directly off the trees.
  • Prune your trees to maintain optimal grazing height = 1m to 1.5m tall trees with loads of nutrient-dense leaves.
  • Animals will not be able to eat every leaf off a pruned tree.  Densely leafed trees will always have central leaves as their “solar panels” to provide food for the tree even after they have been grazed.  This will prevent grazed trees going into ‘shock’ and they will recover quicker.
  • Prune your young trees, even while in their potting bags to promote side buds.  Simply nip off the top growing tips of your 30cm sapling.  You do not want to grow a thin, tall, spindly tree.  You want to encourage bushy growth from the start.
  • Prune with sharp, clean shearers.  Cut your branches off with clean, slightly angled slice.
  • Of course you must use your clippingsFeed to your animals chipped, or on whole branches or simply slide your fingers down tougher branches, removing the leaves into feed troughs.  These clippings will also make excellent compost or mulch as they are packed with nitrogen!

Spring has sprung!  Order your seeds and trees now!

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Benefits of pruning lucerne trees

2-20140809_161544 compare pruned unpruned
Pruned 16-month-old trees on the left compared to un-pruned trees on the right

Every time you prune your trees, you increase your trees carrying capacity.

Lucerne trees must not be grazed within their first 2 years, because the animals tear the branches and stunt the growth of these young trees.  The aim is to have a mature tree having a thick stem of about 280mm, but being no more than 1 meter in height. The result is thick 50-75mm branches carrying very dense foliage.  These branches are never grazed or damaged while the foliage is eaten off them.

Pruned 16-month-old trees
Pruned 16-month-old trees

Whenever you prune your trees, the roots prune themselves, fixing nitrogen in your soils.

Every pruning should give you up to 40kg of plant material off a 3-year-old tree.  In the case where you have established 2000 trees in a hectare, this will amount to 80 tonnes of silage!

Pruning is the most beneficial practice for the lucerne tree and it is an essential component of lucerne tree management.

Do NOT neglect to prune your trees!