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Flowering cherry pruning help please

PaulineRPaulineR Posts: 3
edited April 2020 in Problem solving
I have finally got my own garden after renting for years but am a total newbie. In the new house there is a flowering cherry - Prunus Hanagasa (pink parasol) but it doesn’t have a good shape. It has got a handful of low lateral branches but the main stem is very tall and spindly. I have no idea how old the tree is either but is clearly quite young. 

Can it be pruned to a better shape or will I need to live with it? And if so, where should I cut? 
From what I have read prunus are prone to silver leaf so would need to do anything just after flowering in good weather and maybe(?) use wound paint. 

Thank you!


  • robairdmacraignilrobairdmacraignil CorkPosts: 669
    edited April 2020
    You should be careful with pruning cherry as you say because of the potential for them to become diseased so I would say don't do any pruning until July and then just in dry weather as you mention. The most recent material on tree pruning I have seen seems to agree that wound paint can cause more trouble by sealing in potential pathogens in the plant so should be avoided. If you take off any diseased or crossing branches that could potentially rub off each other first then it might help you decide on what pruning to do to shape the tree.
  • PaulineRPaulineR Posts: 3
    Thanks! I’m unsure though with the current appearance where to cut. How can I encourage more lateral growth lower down and can/should I cut back the long spindly main stem (pic in main post) 
    there’s some nice lateral lower growth, then a long bare trunk, then 1 more lateral quite high then just long bare main stem. I would like to have a more balanced tree. 
  • robairdmacraignilrobairdmacraignil CorkPosts: 669
    I would not cut it now due to the disease potential which you already mentioned in your first post. The tree will likely look a bit different in the summer after some growth in between now and then and as I said if you need to remove any problem branches this will also effect what other pruning you need to do to make the tree look more balanced. I would expect some of the higher branches to have grown a bit before you are pruning so exactly where you cut would be better decided closer to the time you are pruning based on how it looks then. It might be better to try change the tree shape over a couple of years rather than expecting to do it all in one season. Some trees don't take well to having too much taken off them in one go.
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,391
    I'd be careful when it comes to pruning this one.  From what I've read, this variety reaches it's final height (about 5m) and then grows in a weeping form, so shortening the leader my not be ideal at this stage.  It apparently grows in a vase shape when young and matures into a parasol shape, hence the name.  The way to go may be to completely remove a few of the of the lowest branches each summer so that when it is mature, you have at least couple of metres of clean trunk before the main branches grow outwards higher up.   
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • PaulineRPaulineR Posts: 3
    Thank you both so much! 
    Trees are the thing I am most nervous about doing anything to due to the maturity time so really appreciate the help. Will see what it does this summer :smile:

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