When Do You Prune A Cherry Tree

When to Prune Cherry Trees

Pruning a cherry tree is essential to keep it healthy and free of disease. However, when and how to prune can be confusing. The best time to prune a cherry tree is during late winter or early spring when the tree is still dormant. Pruning at this time of year helps maintain the tree’s shape and protects it during the winter months.

Reasons to Prune Cherry Trees

There are several reasons why you should prune your cherry tree:

  • Promotes healthy growth: Pruning encourages new growth in the tree, eliminates weak or dead branches and keeps it at a manageable size.
  • Improves fruit production: Pruning helps to ensure that the tree will bear more and larger fruit.
  • Boosts disease resistance: Pruning improves air circulation in the tree, making it less susceptible to pests and diseases.

Things to Consider Before Pruning

Before you begin pruning, there are a few things to consider:

  • Tree type: Cherry trees can be divided into two categories: sweet cherries and sour cherries. Knowing which category your tree falls into is important, since the pruning techniques and timing vary depending on the type.
  • Tools: You will need the right tools to complete the job safely. Pruning shears and a good pair of gloves are essential.
  • Frequency: Pruning should occur at least once a year, although some trees may need to be pruned twice.
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When Not to Prune

There are certain times of the year when you should avoid pruning your cherry tree. These include:

  • Summer: Pruning should be avoided during the summer, as it can cause shock or illness to the tree.
  • Dormant season: During the dormant season, the tree should be pruned in late winter or early spring, not at other times.
  • Following a freeze: If your tree experiences a hard freeze, wait until the following year to prune.

How to Prune a Cherry Tree

When it comes to pruning a cherry tree, there are a few key steps to follow:

  • Start at the top: Begin by pruning dead or weak branches at the top of the tree. This will help to open up the air circulation inside the canopy.
  • Shape: Prune the tree into an open vase shape, cutting away any branches that aren’t necessary.
  • Cut those suckers: Cut away any suckers, or water sprouts, that are growing from the trunk or main branches. These can divert energy from the fruit.
  • Size Matters: Take out any overly long branches to keep the size of the tree in check.
  • Finalize: Trim back any branches that are growing too close to one another or touching the ground.

Professional Assistance if Needed

If you’re unsure about how to prune your cherry tree, or if you’re not sure if it’s suitable for pruning, then it’s best to consult a professional. A professional arborist will be able to advise you on the best pruning practices for your particular tree.

Fortifying Your Tree After Pruning

Once you’ve completed pruning, there are certain steps that you can take to help fortify your tree:

  • Fertilize: Fertilize your tree with a high-quality fertilizer to ensure that it has the essential nutrients needed for optimal growth.
  • Mulch: Apply a layer of mulch around the tree to help keep the soil moist and suppress weed growth.
  • Pest control: If you find any pests or diseases, take steps to control them as soon as possible.
  • Water: Make sure to water your tree regularly to keep the soil moist and nourish the roots.

Pruning Fruits and Flowers

When it comes to pruning fruit and flowers on a cherry tree, the pruning techniques are slightly different. You should aim to prune the branches back to a four- or five-bud cluster. You should also prune back the laterals or side shoots to just two or three buds. This will encourage the tree to produce more fruit and flowers.

Preventing and Minimizing Damage

If done correctly, pruning can help reduce the risk of disease, improve the health and appearance of your tree and increase fruit production. However, pruning can also be damaging if done incorrectly. To minimize the risk of damage, you should take steps to ensure that your equipment and techniques are up to the task. Make sure to use sharp, clean pruning shears and prune carefully, snipping away small amounts at a time.

When to Prune Suckers

When pruning a cherry tree, it’s important to know when to prune suckers as well. Suckers are new shoots that grow from the base or neck of the tree and can be mistaken for fruit-bearing branches. They should be pruned back in the winter or early spring before they start to grow too long, as they can divert energy away from the tree’s fruit-bearing branches.

Overwintering Care

Once the pruning is done, it’s important to ensure that the tree is well-prepared for the winter months. This includes protecting the tree from both cold and dampness. Covering it with a tarp or burlap bag can help to protect it from the cold, while making sure that the soil stays moist can protect it from the dampness. Mulch or straw can also be used to help insulate the roots.

Closing the Pruning Window

Once the winter months are over, it’s time to close the pruning window. Pruning should stop when the tree starts to bud and bloom, since pruning any later can interfere with the flowering process. During this time, the tree should be monitored closely to make sure that it’s in optimum health.


Pruning a cherry tree is essential to keep it healthy and productive. However, when and how to prune can be confusing. The best time to prune is during late winter or early spring when the tree is still dormant. It’s also important to know what type of tree you have and to use the right tools and techniques. Finally, be sure to take measures to protect the tree during the winter months and to stop pruning when the blossoming process starts.

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.

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