The Cerasus , commonly called cherry or sour cherries , are a subgenus of fruit trees belonging to the genus Prunus. These trees are highly valued both for their tasty fruits, cherries, and for their pretty pink or white flowers. So much so, that in Japan, the sakura, which is what they call their cherry blossoms, is a national symbol that enjoys its own festival.
In this article we are going to see when and how to prune a cherry tree to get the most out of its fruits and its beauty.
When to prune a cherry tree
Like the vast majority of trees, the cherry tree should not be pruned in winter. The low activity of the plant at this time causes the sap to circulate less and, therefore, that the cuts take longer to heal, making the tree more susceptible to fungal attacks or infections. Taking this into account, we must differentiate two types of pruning in the cherry tree .
- Formation pruning should be done between February and March to give the cherry tree adequate structure, and this is carried out especially during the first 4 years of the tree’s life.
- Production pruning is carried out on trees that are at least 3 or 4 years old, to which we have already given the desired structure and in which we seek to stimulate greater fruit production. The best time to carry out production pruning is in early fall , when the tree has already given all its cherries.
How to prune a cherry tree according to its shape
When it comes to pruning a cherry tree there are many possible patterns to follow, although the most common forms are pyramid and volume.
How to prune a cherry tree in a pyramid
For the pyramid shape, leave about 80 cm of main trunk in the first pruning, and structure the lateral branches in floors, leaving between 3 and 4 floors with around 5 secondary branches per floor. It is advisable to leave a height difference of around 80 cm between floors. This structure is very popular because it forms trees no more than 3 meters high with many fruits, which are easy to collect.
How to prune a cherry tree to give it volume
The volume shape in turn differentiates two different techniques. The reduced glass technique produces very small trunks of no more than 25 cm, but with up to 20 ascending branches that are allowed to grow to a length of up to 1.5 meters, thus causing a great fruiting capacity. The regular vase technique, on the other hand, produces longer main stems of up to 60 cm, with ascending branches that do not spike up to 60 cm.
How to prune a cherry tree for production
Production pruning is very simple, and with it we simply seek to keep the tree in the best possible health and production state. You only have to cut out the branches that grow excessively high so as not to hinder the collection, in addition to eliminating the suckers that appear on the trunk. As always, prune the branches that hinder the growth of the main ones, as well as those that seem weak or diseased.
Tips for cherry tree pruning
There are some general tips to follow when pruning your cherry tree :
- Regardless of the option you have chosen to shape your cherry tree, the ascending branches that you are interested in developing are those that grow with an inclination of about 60 degrees. The branches of this inclination allow an adequate structure that does not excessively obstruct the light to the lower ones.
- If you want your cherry to bear larger fruit, you can remove some side branches with blooming buds. This will make your cherry tree bear fewer fruits, but they will be larger.
- Finally, remember that it is very important to sterilize your pruning scissors or pliers, or the tree is at risk of infection from the wounds sustained.
How to make cherry cuttings and plant them
- Cherry cuttings should be cut in winter , when the tree maintains a lower activity, but you must take care of the healing of the injury, for example by applying a natural antifungal such as cinnamon. Here you can learn more homemade fungicides for fruit trees .
- Cut the cuttings into sections of about 20 cm or 25 cm , with pruning shears or a properly disinfected sharp knife.
- Soak the cuttings in rooting agent for about 10-15 minutes. You can buy it at any garden store or make one yourself.
- Prepare a large enough container with a substrate of soil and peat. Make holes about 6 cm deep and plant the cuttings in them. Make sure that the container offers good drainage and water it to keep it moist, always without getting waterlogged.
- Keep the pot or container in a bright area but out of direct sunlight, and keep it moist while the cuttings develop.