When to prune cherry trees – why you should only cut back cherry trees during dry weather

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It can take about three years for cherry trees to begin bearing fruit, but, your patience will be well worth it. Mature cherry trees can produce bumper crops of these delicious red gems, but how should you care for your trees to ensure you get the best yield year on year? express.co.uk has pulled together an easy guide to pruning your cherry trees.

There are two common types of cherry tree, sweet and acid ones.

Sweet cherry trees produce cherries for eating while acid ones produce fruit for cooking with.

You can either let your tree grow as normal or you can train it to grow against a wall or another structure this is known as “fan-training.”

However, you decide to let your tree grow how should you then maintain its growth through pruning it?

When to prune cherry trees

The best time to prune these trees is in the summer from mid-May to mid-August.

If you have recently bought an established cherry tree, it is important to ask if they have pruned it recently.

If not, you should prune it immediately after you plant it. This is typically done from November to March.

If your tree suffers from a broken branch outside of the typical pruning time, between May and August, you should prune back this branch to the good solid wood immediately.

If you leave the branch the tree is likely to suffer more damage than if you make a clean, straight cut on the damaged branch.

How to prune cherry trees

Cherry trees are particularly prone to disease, before pruning you should sterilise any equipment.

Pruning cherry trees can be relatively straightforward, simply, identify old, damaged or diseased branches and cut these back.

The branches of cherry trees can be strong so your equipment will need to be sharp, avoid bruising the remaining branches and stems as much as you can.

You should always prune on a dry day, preferably during a dry period so that rain doesn’t seep into the recently cut areas of your tree, as this will minimise the risk of disease.

Pruning schedule

You should prune your cherry trees annually, in the first three years your tree is unlikely to produce any fruit but, it is still essential to prune them.

This will make sure your tree has a good branch structure, providing it with the best chance to thrive.

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After three years, your tree should start to produce fruit, so it is important to prune annually from this point on to reduce the risk of fungal infections.

To do this remove any diseased and crossing branches, you need to maintain an open centre to the tree so, you may need to cut back branches in the centre.

Wood that is five years or older will have to be removed to encourage the growth of new wood.

This is because older wood is far less productive and the quality of the fruit after this period declines quickly.

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