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Pruning mature flowering cherry tree

we have inherited a mature flowering cherry in our front garden. it appears healthy and has flowered well for the first two springs we have been in the house and has just started flowering again this year.

However, there are a number of long straggley branches overhanging onto the front footpath and over the neighbour's fence. there are also telephone cables above and there are branches beginning to reach into these too.

I would like to prune and shape the tree this summer, and intend to plan for that now before the leaves appear. 

advice please:

  • How hard can I cut it back?
  • Will new flowering shoots appear on the larger mature branches if I cut them hard back?
  • Will I need to treat the branches after cutting

Any advice or experience would be very welcome. thanks!!



  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,902

    Cherries should be pruned in the summer to lessen the risk of Silver Leaf Disease, so June/July would be a good time.

    It's a good idea to study the form of the tree now while it's without many leaves - taking photos and marking on them which branches need pruning will enable you remove branches in a way that will enhance rather than spoil the shape of the tree.  In most cases it's better to take a branch out rather than shorten it.  Also take out any branches which are dead or dying or showing signs of disease, and any that are crossing others or rubbing them. 

    After pruning I'd sprinkle the ground around it with some Fish Blood & Bone meal, give it a good soaking watering and then mulch with compost or well-rotted farmyard manure (don't allow manure to touch the trunk of the tree).  That'll perk it up no end for next year. image

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

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,384

    I fully agree with Dove's advice.  It's tricky to be specific as the photo isn't very good, but if that were my tree I'd prune it something like in the picture below, in July.  You already have a couple of damaged branches and I'd remove those, the long one going over the fence and the low one over the wall.  Blue marks are the cuts.  When removing a branch, cut partially below first so that when you make the final cut the branch doesn't tear off a strip of bark from where it is attached to the trunk or other branch.  If you do need to shorten a branch rather then removing it, always cut just above another side branch.




    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Great advice guys, many thanks. 

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