A Gardener’s Guide to Pruning Cherry Trees

Gardenerdy Staff Dec 12, 2018
Pruning cherry trees is not an easy task, but at the same time, manageable with the right guidance. Read following tips to find the necessary information to get the job done.
The life span for cherry trees is only 20 years, no matter how much care and maintenance is put in. Delicate by nature, cherry trees need to be pruned properly. The reason behind pruning the cherry trees is simple, to produce bigger and maximum amount of fruit.
During the harvesting period, pruned cherry trees are convenient and it also helps in keep the insects and diseases at bay. Also, pruning the trees makes the young branches grow the right way.

How to Prune a Cherry Tree

The ideal time for pruning is early summer or late winter. Once you have picked all the fruit, the process is much simpler, and it protects the tree from harmful disease in the cold.
If the trees have branches growing outward (not upward) from its main trunk, let them be. This will give all the branches some time, space, and enough sunlight for the cherries to grow. Finally, the most important reason for cherry tree pruning is to make sure that they won't starve and expire.
■ As I mentioned earlier, the pruning process should be conducted in the summer after the fruit is harvested. Many fruit tress are pruned during winter, cherry trees are an exception because they are gravely vulnerable to silver leaf disease that attacks them in winter. Hence, pruning in warm weather, at least once every year is ideal.
■ First of all, cut down any dead or diseased branches. To inspect if the tree is infected, check the color of the leaves. If they have a gray cast on them or are discolored and have holes in them, then the tree is definitely infected.
■ Cutting of the dead branches will aid in better growth of the tree, making it strong, flourishing with healthy branches, preventing diseases and bacteria from damaging the tree's durability.
■ Don't prune too much, which means, little is always helpful. You will need pruning shears, wound sealer or pruning paste to do the task.
For small branches and twigs, make a small wedge shaped cut (⅛ of an inch) under the branch. This cut will be 3―5 inches away from the stem. As you do this wedge cut, the branch won't come off in strips (you don't want that) and will prevent it from growing further.
As you make the cut at angle, it will also help the water to flow off it. This avoids the complications of diseases harboring near the open cuts in the trees. For large branches, it will be the same angle wedge cut but at a 45º angle. Make sure that it is not too close to the trunk where the branch has grown out of.
■ Once finished, seal all the cuts with the help of the wood sealer, or with the pruning paste which has a non-asphalt base. The paste will work as a band-aid for the freshly pruned trees. As the tree heals, it will keep harmful bacteria and diseases away from the wound.
Once the task is complete, disinfect all the tools that were used. This prevents the risk of spreading any unnoticed diseases in the future. You can clean the tools in a mixture of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water. If there are any other questions, do visit your local garden store for more information. A professional help or advice should never be overlooked.
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