How to Prune a Moringa Tree

Interested in growing your own Moringa tree? You may know the average height is 16-24 feet, but without pruning, it can reach up to 40 feet, posing challenges for leaf harvesting. So, how do you effectively prune a Moringa tree?

Harvest the leaves, then trim the tree down to 3 feet. If branches extend below this line, prune them at a consistent height.

Of course, there’s a little more information that you’ll need to know about pruning than just the above, including the why, when, and how. Let’s explore these aspects to ensure you prune your Moringa tree correctly.

If you’re planting a Moringa tree during the winter season, check out our guide for growing Moringa in cold climates:

Pruning a Moringa tree

Why Should I Prune My Moringa Tree?

When embarking on tree planting, it’s important to know the eventual height of the Moringa tree. Much like the disparity between a modest crabapple and the commanding oak, where one reaches a modest 12 feet and the other will take over the entire yard.

At Morning Gardens, our Moringa tree has already claimed our entire yard; it feels like just yesterday we planted those Moringa seeds! This takeover aligns perfectly with our preferences, offering an uninterrupted leaf supply for either immediate consumption or drying.

However, during our initial years, we came to the realization that Moringa trees thrive with regular pruning. Despite diligently harvesting leaves at winter’s onset, we initially overlooked this essential practice. Lessons learned through the seasons.

So what happened?

As spring unfolded, fresh shoots emerged from our Moringa tree once again. The predicament surfaced when these shoots soared to six, seven, and even eight feet, rendering them practically out of reach by summer. When you don’t prune your Moringa trees, it’ll keep growing taller into a towering, slender figure. 

We’ve come to understand the pivotal role of regular pruning for Moringa trees, and, funny enough, it has become one of my husband’s favored outdoor activities (just kidding).

Without intervention, the tree’s height surpasses convenient harvest levels, and its slender structure fails to offer substantial shade. The pruning ritual, however, not only stimulates new shoots but also ensures a lush, bushy appearance. Observing a flourishing Moringa tree with a thick leaf canopy signifies diligent annual pruning by its caretakers.

This practice not only enhances the tree’s vitality but also prevents it from reaching impractical heights that require a ladder for harvesting.

Best Time to Prune a Moringa Tree

The ideal time to prune your Moringa tree depends on your hardiness zone. As a general guideline, wait until your tree becomes too tall to prune easily or right before the first winter frost, whichever comes first.

Understanding the timing aspect makes learning how to prune a Moringa tree much simpler. Moringa trees sprout in mid-spring and can surpass human height by mid-summer. If your tree grows too tall for convenient leaf harvesting, it’s time to start pruning. Allowing the tree to grow unchecked might result in heights of 12-16 feet even in the first year, making later trimming challenging.

moringa tree

If your Moringa tree hasn’t grown significantly, you can continue its growth through autumn before pruning. Be vigilant about weather forecasts, as a sudden frost could harm unprepared trees. While it’s possible to keep Moringa trees alive in winter (check our post on growing Moringa in cold climates), it’s advisable to prune your tree at this stage.

Regular pruning is key to managing excessive height, encouraging bushier growth, improving quality, fostering more flowers, ensuring faster growth, and yielding abundant seeds and leaves. Embrace regular pruning for a thriving Moringa plant with superior quality and productivity!

How to Prune Your Moringa Tree

Pruning your Moringa trees is a breeze, and here’s your simple guide.

Since Moringa trees are slender, all you need are:

  1. a trusty pair of pruning shears (we recommend these on Amazon).
  2. A spacious basket or blanket to keep those leaves off the ground.
pruning branches with pruning shears
Pruning branches with pruning shears.

The pruning process:

Start your pruning adventure from the top. The upper branches are generally thin, and you might find snapping them off at their bases where they meet the trunk is quite doable, even without shears.

If needed, use your shears to tidy up, cutting each branch at its base.

For routine upkeep, concentrate on branches exceeding 18 inches. While you can chop off entire branches, we suggest a subtler approach—cutting them in half. Trimming the ends of individual branches fosters growth while keeping the length in check. This results in a fuller, bushier tree that generously provides leaves and shade, growing outward rather than skyward.

Pruning for winter:

Now, if you’re pruning for winter or ahead of frost, a more extensive trim is in order. While snapping off individual branches is beneficial, especially for ease of harvesting, you’ll need to execute a more comprehensive cut at the trunk. Measure up approximately 3 feet from the base and use your shears to make the cut. If branches sprout below the 3-foot mark, trim them about 2-3 inches above this line.

And there you have it!

You can harvest the leaves or repurpose the branches as mulch. Come next year, your seemingly dormant trunk will spring back to life, thanks to your pruning efforts. Not only have you secured a bountiful harvest, but you’ve also prevented your tree from reaching towering heights that would require a crane to get to it!

When to Prune Your Moringa Tree

Understanding when to prune you Moringa tree is vital and varies depending on the season. For winter pruning, aim for about a month before winter sets in (tailored to your local climate). If it’s maintenance pruning, schedule it once or twice a year, considering your soil quality, focusing on branches surpassing 18 inches in length.

Keep those pruning shears ready!

Conclusion

So, there you have it! Armed with a pair of trusty pruning shears, a blanket, and an hour of dedication, you’re all set to nurture your Moringa tree to optimal health. Pruning, a simple yet crucial aspect of Moringa care, ensures not just a well-maintained tree but a source of leaves and seeds for years to come. Whether you’re preventing it from soaring to impractical heights or preparing it for new spring growth, regular pruning is the secret ingredient to a thriving Moringa tree.

Don’t miss out on the wonders of this “miracle tree.”

Shelby Kaplan

1 thought on “How to Prune a Moringa Tree”

  1. Aw, this was a really nice post. Spending some time and actual effort to create a superb article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a whole lot and don’t seem to get nearly anything done.

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