Win a copy of Permaculture Design Companion this week in the Permaculture Design forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Mike Jay Haasl
  • Burra Maluca
garden masters:
  • James Freyr
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Dave Burton
  • Pearl Sutton

pruning / training advice for cherry

 
Posts: 86
Location: South NB
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have a sweet cherry tree that has some shape issues This year is the first year of truly good growth on it since we planted it, and so I would like to work on reshaping it into some proper form. The main trunk doesn't have anything going on - just that tuft of leaves up top and one branch halfway up. There are multiple fresh-growth branches from around the middle of the tree. I'm not shy with pruning, but this one really has me stumped - any advice on what could be done here?

Obviously, most of the new growth needs to be removed, it's the main trunk that I'm undecided about. I'm thinking along any of these approaches, but very much looking for new thoughts:
1) Train one of the new shoots to be the main trunk, remove the actual main trunk (and most of the other new shoots)
2) Remove the actual main trunk to the point of the bend, then wait for new shoots to emerge next year
3) Leave as is and pray for more branches

Any thoughts? Thanks so much!
IMG_4074.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_4074.JPG]
 
gardener
Posts: 6256
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1016
hugelkultur dog forest garden duck fish fungi hunting books chicken writing homestead
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
First off, that tree is really not in need of pruning yet, that doesn't mean you can't prune some but it will do much better if you just leave it for a couple of more years before starting to shape it up.

The one cut I would make now is that main leader, I would cut it back to the lone branch which will hopefully stimulate the trunk to put out some more upper branches. Or you can just leave it and see what develops.
The lower end is growing nicely but, I'd wait at least another two years before thinking about pruning those, right now you could take a strong branch by accident.
 
Posts: 4
Location: West Virginia
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've always been told that a cherry is one that doesn't require pruning.  When I moved to my farm 10 years ago, I had 3 mature cherries and other than a couple branches that grew low, close to my walkway, have never pruned.  And they seem to naturally have that perfect shape.

So I would just leave it alone for now and watch it grow.  Good luck.
 
Posts: 33
Location: Vashon Island, Washington, USA
1
purity forest garden bike
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Bryant RedHawk wrote:First off, that tree is really not in need of pruning yet, that doesn't mean you can't prune some but it will do much better if you just leave it for a couple of more years before starting to shape it up.

The one cut I would make now is that main leader, I would cut it back to the lone branch which will hopefully stimulate the trunk to put out some more upper branches. Or you can just leave it and see what develops.
The lower end is growing nicely but, I'd wait at least another two years before thinking about pruning those, right now you could take a strong branch by accident.



I agree completely with Bryant. The new growth is providing much needed energy to the tree, and are in no danger of causing form problems. Eventually, depending on their height from the ground, all of those lower branches may need to go, but there is absolutely no rush on that. I also agree on pruning the top down to the first branch to see if it will throw a new shoot to straighten up the trunk. With the energy provided by the lower leaves, it may well do that. Or, it may put out a nice new branch just where you need it anyway, to fill that gap.

And, it makes me wonder why it is leaning that way to begin with. Is there another tree nearby?
 
Posts: 55
Location: San Martin, CA
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Pruning is such an interesting topic...  I think you'll find a lot of different opinions.....  Dave Wilson Nursery touts summer pruning to keep fruit trees small for backyard use.  Keep the trees no taller than 6-8' for ease of maintenance.  Commercial growers will just mechanically top trees - looks like to about 10-12' here in Santa Clara Valley.  Back to Eden gardener, Paul Gautchai, will prune so the limbs sprawl contorted to the side drooping to ground.    I was taught in my PDC to cut the main leader of a bare root tree between your knee and your waist... something like that, so it will branch out low.

So in this particular case for this cherry tree, if you don't like ladder work for pruning maintenance in the future, I would simply cut the main leader back to the next branch and forget about it.   If you want a taller tree, just prune it where it curves above a bud node that is growing in the direction you want it to grow.
 
S Usvy
Posts: 86
Location: South NB
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sorry for the super-late reply. I ended up doing the pruning before receiving any of the responses (because I was going away for a month and didn't want to wait that long). I miraculously managed to do exactly what all you smart people recommended - I left the bottom to its devices and chopped that crooked top to the next bud. Honestly, I should have done that when I got that tree, but hey, better late than never. Thanks so much for piping in and providing advice - even if it wasn't available to me before my decision, I feel validated and will know to give that tree some more time before any other chopping (if any).
 
This is my favorite show. And this is my favorite tiny ad:
Heat your home with the twigs that naturally fall of the trees in your yard
http://woodheat.net
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!