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Pruning a cherry tree

When is the best time and how do I prune my cherry tree? Can I cut it back so it dosn't get too big?

Most stonefruit are pruned in winter, when the tree is dormant.  However, cherries are usually pruned in summer, to reduce the attack of a disease called "silver leaf".

Cherry trees tend to get very large very quickly, so pruning to a desired height (around 5 metres) is a good idea. Cover pruning cuts with a pruning paste which specifically protects against silver leaf.  Prune off dead, damaged or diseased wood.  Shape the tree into an open vase-shape if you can. Cherries fruit on 1-year-old shoots and lateral spurs, so you can prune off new material as you see fit. Make sure you remove and destroy any fallen wood, leaves and old fruit (to reduce disease).

Some growers suggest that a very hard prune can improve fruit size and quality.

UnitecAdvice by Dr Dan Blanchon from Unitec's Diploma in Sustainable Horticulture and Bachelor of Resource Management.

Reproduced with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous website of  TVNZ News

The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH

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Last updated: June 27, 2005