Please see picture of my cherry tree. Planted last year but I am concernes that it neess pruning. How should I do this?
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Hi Rachel, is it a flowering cherry or a fruiting tree? If its a flowering cherry it's obviously happy where it is and does it really need pruning? Did you check the ultimate size of the tree before you planted it? If its a fruiting tree it may need pruning to produce the best crop and there will be people on here that can tell you how it's done or check out the RHS website for advice.
OK, is it a sweet or an acid cherry?Do you know what rootstock it is on? Whatever it is, it looks too close to the fence - most cherries turn into big trees. I'd move it a good foot away from the fence in the winter. Pruning a sweet cherry is done in the spring just as the buds are oening and the idea is to form an open, cup-shaped tree with three or four main branches pointing outwards. These are cut back by a half in the spring for the first four years. Shoots that come out from their sides are pruned in the summer by pinching out their tips. From the fifth year on the four main branches are left alone and only the side shoots are pinched back at their tips. Any old dead wood or rubbing twigs are cut out to keep the centre open.
if it's an acid Morello cherry the first three years are the same as the sweet cherry but in the fourth year you let more of the side branches develop into extra main branches until you have about eight rather than four. The side branches are nipped out at their tips but some of them are removed to keep the centre of the tree open. After year five you only need to remove old, dead branches or ones that are crossing the centre or rubbing against other branches.
As you can see, cherries really don't need much pruning. They flower on last year's growth so it's crazy to cut it off.
sorry PaulaH I was busy typing and didn't see your reply!
It's ok Waterbutts, you know more than me regarding fruit trees. I do wonder whether people buy trees that are just a couple of years old expecting them not to grow that much. The amount of elderly customers I have that want me to cut things down because its reached the top of the fence....... I hate doing it
I've done it hundreds of times - you see something for sale and fall in love with it and spend the next ten years hacking the poor thing to fit the space and finally bite the bullet and accept the fact that neither of you is ever going to be happy...
I've done it as well but am a bit more choosy about what I buy now, given the lack of space I have.