How To Prune An Old Cherry Tree

Cherry tree pruning is an essential part of tree maintenance for any cherry tree, generically referred to as Prunus. This type of tree typically responds well to pruning once established and it is usually best to wait until it’s at least 3-4 years old before you begin. Thankfully, pruning an old cherry tree is a fairly straightforward process, with some basic rules and precautions needed to practice in order to effectively prune your tree and maximize its lifespan.

When it comes to pruning your established cherry tree, it is important to consider the overall structure of the tree. Pruning involves removing any dead or diseased branches and stems, as well as branches and shoots that are crossing or growing too close together. This is important to clear some space and prevent any potential issues from occurring in the future. In addition, you should look to remove extra branches that have become too tall, or branches that may be blocking light from reaching other parts of the tree.

It is also important to use the right tools for the job. Depending on the size of the branches of your cherry tree, standard gardening shears, or a small saw for larger branches, should be used to do the job. It is also important to never try to remove too much from the tree at once as this can cause major damage. In order to avoid this, it is recommended to only remove up to 1/3 of the tree in one maintenance session.

When doing the actual pruning it is important to remember that the process should not involve harsh cuts. When branches and stems are removed, they should be clipped cleanly near their base. In addition, cuts should be kept small and never too close to the base, to reduce the risk of infection for the remaining stem. This is especially important for older trees where the bark may be thicker and more vulnerable to disease.

Timing is also very important when it comes to pruning your old cherry tree. The process should only ever be done during the winter months, preferably when the tree is dormant, as this will put the least amount of stress on the tree. Additionally, it is important to avoid pruning during the flowering stage, as this can inhibit the blossom and the formation of the cherry fruit.

The pruning process should take into account the varying shapes of cherry trees, and the kind of growth they can and should experience. Rounded crowns are generally preferred, and the tree should be allowed to develop its natural shape without being pruned too drastically. In addition, it is also important to remember that cherry trees can be quite delicate, so any pruning needs to be done with a delicate touch.


It is important to ensure that the cherry tree is well-watered, especially during the summer months. As water is essential to the tree’s health and growth, it should receive up to an inch of water each week. Deep watering is recommended in order to reach the tree’s roots and ensure that the soil is consistently moist. However, overwatering should be avoided as this can lead to flooding and root rot.


Cherry trees can benefit from fertilizing two to three times a year. Using a balanced fertilizer that contains both nitrogen and potassium is recommended. Care should be taken to avoid fertilizers with high levels of nitrogen, as this could lead to excessive vegetative growth that could eventually become unmanageable.

Disease Prevention

Due to the delicate nature of old cherry trees, diseases can be more likely to affect them. Therefore it is important to take precautions to prevent this from happening. These can include avoiding overcrowding when pruning and keeping the soil free of debris and dead leaves to help reduce the risk of infection. Additionally, keeping a close eye on the tree for signs of disease can help to identify any issues in the early stages.

General Maintenance

In addition to the steps mentioned above, general maintenance is key. Insect infestations can be avoided by covering the tree when needed, and regular pruning can help to maintain its shape and structure. Overall, a well-looked after cherry tree can prove to be a valuable asset to any garden.

Gordon Wesson is an environmentalist and author who lives in the Pacific Northwest. He has been writing for many years about topics related to trees, the environment, and sustainability. In particular, he is passionate about educating people on the importance of living in harmony with the environment and preserving natural spaces. He often speaks at conferences and events around the country to share his knowledge with others. His dedication to protecting our planet makes him one of the leading voices in his field today.

Leave a Comment