Forum home Plants

How aggressive with 12 year old cherry tree?


I have this cherry tree in the garden. It was sandwiched inbetween the yew and the Rhododendron in the bottom right. I've had the crown raised on the yew and cut back the Rhododendron. I'd really like to make this cherry tree a lot smaller but I don't know how far I can take it.
It was planted for the 50th birthday of the guy we bought the house from and I feel like I should try and look after it.

Any suggestions for how aggressive I could be. Maybe even lines drawn to show where you'd prune it :):smile:

Suggestions most appreciated!


  • Slow-wormSlow-worm Posts: 1,576
    The rule of thumb is to take no more than ¼ to ⅓ at a time - per year. With the smaller, lower branches, you can chop them right back, or take half a one off etc, whichever is best for the tree. 
    You could take some of the small ones out completely to keep it from getting overcrowded, and allow plenty of light and air in, but as pansyface says, wait until late summer - after fruiting if it's getting cherries yet.
    That's a sweet thing to do for the man who had it planted for him, he actually could have taken it with him, so that's a result! 😄
  • Thanks pansyface. I thought I'd read that for more aggressive pruning winter was best as the tree was dormant.
    If it's not clear I don't really know what I'm doing. I'm a year into this garden. Biggest garden before was a hedge and a few potted plants
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,858
    Prunus varieties  ie cherries, plums and other ‘stone fruit’ shouldn’t be pruned during winter as it makes them susceptible to Silver Leaf disease which can kill your tree. They’re best pruned late May and June. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Ok. Message received. Wait until May/June :). Thanks for all the help
  • steephillsteephill Posts: 2,835
    Don't feel obliged to keep it if you don't really want it, it is your garden now. If you do keep it then look at removing what look like suckers at the bottom left of your photo. I would also tidy up any previous pruning and remove the branch on the lower left. In Summer as suggested of course.
  • thevictorianthevictorian Posts: 1,249
    Is there a reason you'd like it pruned? It isn't crowded and looks like it has an enormous amount of space to grow into. Large cherries can look amazing in the spring. I'd suggest cutting off any twiggy growths that are in the way and then give it a couple of years to grow out more to see what it can look like before any drastic prunning.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,858
    As has been said, I'd get rid of the suckers at the base, and the rather ugly stump a couple of feet from the base (trim close but not flush with the trunk).  Apart from that I'd only prune out any crossing congested or rubbing branches/twigs ... in mid summer.  Clear the grass from around the base so that you have a clear circle 1m diameter, so that you can feed and mulch in the spring.  

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

Sign In or Register to comment.