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I have just acquired a young weeping cherry tree which has a single trunk/ trig as the main stem grafted to a root stock 
it is now dormant 
should I prune the end to encourage new branches to sprout and then encourage to weep?


  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Scariff, County Clare, IrelandPosts: 7,850
    Hi @pgeralddavies and welcome to the forum!  :)

    Do you know what variety your cherry is?  Generally, weeping flowering cherries have a natural weeping habit which will develop over time.  Pruning will hinder rather than help, I think - though if you can tell us the variety, and preferably post a photo of your tree (click on the "landscape" icon above the posting box and follow the instructions), we'll be able to advise you better.
    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • No,  You don’t need to prune it apart from removing dead or diseased branches and any crossing branches that could rub together causing the potential for disease to get in.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,972
    edited December 2022
    When you say it's a young tree @pgeralddavies, what do you mean by that?
    If you have a photo, that will help with advice- for anything.
    As @Liriodendron says, it will often depend on the variety, and too much pruning early on may have a detrimental effect. Less is usually more where pruning's concerned with young trees, as described in @rossdriscoll13 's post  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • steephillsteephill Posts: 2,618
    If it ever needs pruning then leave it till late July/August. You can get away with light trimming in the Spring if you must but avoid pruning at this time of year because of the risk of silver leaf and bacterial canker disease.
  • this is the weeping cherry tree it is a Kiku shidare zakura
    i put it in this pot temporarily until the weather is better and will then plant in the ground 
    as you can see it has lots of buds all the way up the trunk and also a few side shoots lower down 
    so do I just leave it grow and I suppose when there are side shoots at the top let them weep and go free there possibly removing any lower shoots to shape in years to come
    i would like it to grow to about 2 to 2.5 meters where I am placed it
    any comments would be gratefully received 
  • You will have to decide what length of clear stem you want. It will look more like a multi-stemmed bush if left to its own devices. The main stem will need to have the buds removed and a few of the lower branches if you want a standard style of tree.
    As you have just repotted it, I would be inclined to leave it alone until the Spring. That does not look like a particularly good location for a potted tree if there is pedestrian traffic on the path around the corner of the house. It is going to knocked and possibly wind damaged. You will also have your hands full keeping a potted specimen tree adequately watered.
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Scariff, County Clare, IrelandPosts: 7,850
    Thank you for posting the photo.  That's a very young tree which definitely needs a bit of training, if you want a 2 to 2.5m trunk.  

    It would do best if you can plant it in the ground while it's dormant.  Because you want the stem to grow to 2-2.5m before it branches, you'll need to give the tree a stake to that height so that you can tie the stem in to it as it grows.  The bamboo cane it's come with, isn't long enough or strong enough, in my opinion.  The natural habit of the whole tree is to "weep" so if you don't support the stem it will just bend over; you can buy them already "top grafted" to a tall stem (the sort of graft you see with standard roses) which would have given you a quicker - and possibly more sturdy - result, but I think you can get what you're looking for eventually.

    As @Joyce Goldenlily says, it wants to be a bush not a tree.  So when you've planted it, I'd remove the three shoots emerging near the bottom of the tree, right back to the stem, with sharp secateurs.  (Although the recommendation is not to prune cherries in winter to avoid silver leaf disease, it's ok to do so when they're very young.  Branches as thick as your wrist or thicker shouldn't be pruned in winter, but you're ok with your little tree.)  Take off the tight plastic ties fastening the tree to the bamboo, but tie it carefully to the new stake - old tights will do at this stage, though later on you might prefer the look of proper tree ties.  You'll need to check and replace ties regularly.  I'd put a temporary tie just above the graft union for support, and maybe one below it, as well as ties to keep the leading shoot growing straight up.

    Don't prune the top of the shoot or it will stop growing straight up.  For the next year I'd just keep it well watered and tied in to its stake.  

    Next winter, prune off any further side shoots from the bottom two thirds of the tree.  The reason for not cutting them all off at once is that the tree needs leaves to feed it, so it grows upwards fast.

    If it's grown to the height you want by the third winter, you can clean up the stem further - and hopefully the new growth will then weep down from the top of your stake.

    Hope this makes sense...
    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • @Liriodendron never use a tall stake to stake weeping cherry trees or any weeping trees.  You need to use a short stake driven in at a 45 degree angle. Using a tall stake will cause the trunk to stay thin and weedy.  By using a short stake the trunk will thicken up and become strong enough to support the tree.
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Scariff, County Clare, IrelandPosts: 7,850
    edited December 2022
    @rossdriscoll13 I'd normally agree with you - but if you look at the OP's requirements, he's hoping for a tree which weeps from 2 metres or more.  His young tree is grafted just above soil level, and will be a weeping shrub unless he trains the leader as a vertical trunk, I reckon.
    I've actually trained a weeping cherry with a tall stake after most of it died the first winter after planting.  It just had one shoot growing nearly horizontally a couple of inches above the ground.  It took a number of years but in the end I had a small but reasonably shaped weeping tree.  (I think it was 'Red Sentinel' but can't be sure now, thirty years on...)
    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • Thanks for all your comments 
    I have only planted the tree in this pot until the weather gets better and i only placed it against the wall for the photo it is not going to live here
    i have noted all your comments regarding lower branches and staking as I was concerned the lower branches would turn it into a bush rather than a tree
    thanks all
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