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Advice on a newly planted Tibetan Cherry (Prunus serrula)

We have had a new Tibetan Cherry planted in our front garden and at the moment it has quite an upright profile, with a tall leading branch.

A couple of questions: i) should I cut the tall leader to make it bush out more? ii) is there anything I can do to train the branches to grow out more as opposed to just growing straight up? I don't want it to turn into a tall, columnar shaped tree. Can post pics if it would help. Thanks!
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  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,556
    A photo would help.   How tall is it?

    Cutting the top off the leader will change the flow of hormones and encourage side shoots to form and give you that bushier shape you want but you need to think about where that cut will be so you don't get a shrub form rather than a rounded tree witha good main stem.

    I have one, planted out in late winter after a couple of years in a pot?  It is grafted and multi-stemmed above the graft which suits my planting plan but may not suit yours..   
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Silver surferSilver surfer Posts: 3,667
    What ever you do do not cut anything off now. 
    Sap rising..it will bleed.
    Perthshire. SCOTLAND .
  • Obelixx said:
    A photo would help.   How tall is it?

    Cutting the top off the leader will change the flow of hormones and encourage side shoots to form and give you that bushier shape you want but you need to think about where that cut will be so you don't get a shrub form rather than a rounded tree witha good main stem.

    I have one, planted out in late winter after a couple of years in a pot?  It is grafted and multi-stemmed above the graft which suits my planting plan but may not suit yours..   
    I think it's a good 15 feet tall. Here's a picture:

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,556
    It already has some side stems and as they mature and grow I think they'll drop down a bit and the shape will broaden for you.  

    As @Silver Surfer says it's too early in the season to be pruning trees as the sap is rising fast.   Prunus can be prone to Silver Leaf disease if pruned too late tho so you need to make the cut between mid May and late July or else give it longer and wait till next year because, once done, you can't go back.

    I suggest you wait a few weeks to see how the tree behaves and only then think about taking the top off that leader.   Use a very sharp, clean pair of secateurs or loppers and cut on a slant about 1/4 inch/6 or 7mm above a bud or node.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • What ever you do do not cut anything off now. 
    Sap rising..it will bleed.
    Obelixx said:
    It already has some side stems and as they mature and grow I think they'll drop down a bit and the shape will broaden for you.  

    As @Silver Surfer says it's too early in the season to be pruning trees as the sap is rising fast.   Prunus can be prone to Silver Leaf disease if pruned too late tho so you need to make the cut between mid May and late July or else give it longer and wait till next year because, once done, you can't go back.

    I suggest you wait a few weeks to see how the tree behaves and only then think about taking the top off that leader.   Use a very sharp, clean pair of secateurs or loppers and cut on a slant about 1/4 inch/6 or 7mm above a bud or node.
    Thanks to you both for your very helpful advice.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,556
    Our pleasure.  Let us know how you get on.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Are you worried it's getting too tall? Because trees naturally begin as a single straight stem, then in year 2 they get a couple of side branches, in year 3 a few more, and so on. They even have names for the stages in the fruit-growing trade: feathered or unfeathered, maiden or whip. Yours looks splendidly healthy to me for its age, and I think you need to give it time. I'd only prune out the tip if you don't want it to get much taller. Tree growing = slow gardening (but fun).
  • PS also congratulations on choosing such a beautiful variety!
  • Are you worried it's getting too tall? Because trees naturally begin as a single straight stem, then in year 2 they get a couple of side branches, in year 3 a few more, and so on. They even have names for the stages in the fruit-growing trade: feathered or unfeathered, maiden or whip. Yours looks splendidly healthy to me for its age, and I think you need to give it time. I'd only prune out the tip if you don't want it to get much taller. Tree growing = slow gardening (but fun).
    PS also congratulations on choosing such a beautiful variety!
    Yes, it's in our front garden and I don't want it to dominate the lawn. I did wonder about weighting the branches down to pull them out or tie them to the stake, but am concerned I might snap off the tender growth. Perhaps I should leave it for a year or two to settle down and see what it does. We love that beautiful bark - so tactile!
  • Silver surferSilver surfer Posts: 3,667
    That tree is perfect!
    Lovely straight trunk...good balance of branches.
    DO NOT TOUCH IT!

    However ...check that your mulch is not too deep and touching the bark.
    Mulch volcanos can and do kill trees.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=mulch+volcano&client=firefox-b-d&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjzzYOdk4jwAhVCt3EKHbCzANEQ_AUoAXoECAEQAw&biw=1280&bih=579#imgrc=5jK6le0CcUzB6M


    Perthshire. SCOTLAND .
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