Q:

How do I prune a flowering cherry tree?

A:

Keep your flowering cherry tree looking good by pruning it regularly into a vase shape. This type of pruning requires regular care, pruning shears, bleach and paper towels.

  1. Prepare your pruning shears

    Sharpen the shears as needed to keep from damaging the wood. Mix together a bleach solution with nine parts bleach to one part water, and dip the shears into the solution. This prevents the shears from transmitting disease to your tree.

  2. Prune scaffold branches

    Choose three or four primary branches that grow at angles between 45 and 60 degrees from the trunk and have at least 6 inches of buffer space. Prune the limbs down to 24 inches. This encourages branching and growth. Cut the branches off 1/4 inch above the bud. Each year choose three or four other scaffold branches, and prune them down to 30 inches.

  3. Prune secondary branches

    Remove all but two secondary branches from the scaffold branches by cutting them away at the base. Prune the remaining secondary branches down to 24 inches to encourage tertiary branch growth.

  4. Remove dead and damaged limbs

    Once your tree is old enough and reaches its third season, reduce pruning dramatically to allow fruit growth. Remove only dead and damaged growth. Trim away shoots.


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