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Cherry pruning in spring is essential to maintain plant health and maximize yields. With proper pruning according to the rules, the cherry begins to grow only better and pleases with a large number of delicious fruits.
When to prune cherries: Spring or Fall
Gardeners prune cherry trees in both spring and fall. However, the autumn haircut procedure is practiced less often, since it carries unnecessary risks.
Removing branches and shoots always weakens the plant. In the spring it quickly recovers, but in the fall it may not have time to get stronger before the cold weather, and in this case, frost will cause serious damage to it.
Spring Cherry Pruning Benefits
Pruning in the spring has several benefits.
- Rapid plant recovery. With the beginning of the growing season, the cherry begins to actively develop, and the inevitable injuries received during pruning do not harm its health.
- Improving fruiting. Pruning a fruiting plant in spring relieves it of weakened and too old shoots. Nutrients are used for the development of young shoots and ovaries, respectively, the yield increases.
- Protection from pests and diseases. The presence of sick and weak branches, as well as excessive thickening, increase the likelihood of being affected by ailments. Pruning in spring improves the health of the fruit plant and helps prevent fungal diseases and pest attacks.
Spring pruning is less traumatic than fall pruning
You can also prune cherries in the spring to form a crown. After the foliage appears, the cherry will immediately acquire a beautiful shape, and the gardener does not have to wait until the next season, as with autumn pruning.
When is the best time to prune cherries in spring
Timing of pruning in spring depends on the region of growth and weather conditions. It is necessary to carry out pruning at the end of the cold weather, but before the start of sap flow.
In the middle lane and southern regions, cherry pruning in the spring and crown formation is usually carried out in mid or late March. In the northern regions, you need to prune the plant in mid or late April. It is important to finish pruning before the buds begin to open.
Important! For pruning a fruit tree, it is recommended to choose a windless and warm enough day. In this case, the haircut will be the least traumatic and will not lead to profuse gum flow.
How to prune cherries in spring: step by step diagrams for beginners
The pruning algorithm in spring depends on the age of the cherry. Young, fruiting and old plants are trimmed differently.
How to prune cherries in the spring according to the classic scheme
The standard pruning scheme in spring is used for mature tree-like plants that have already entered the fruiting period. The main goals of pruning are to increase yields, crown formation and sanitary thinning.
The classic scheme looks like this:
- the cherry tree is carefully examined and all broken, weakened, diseased branches are removed from it, which no longer participate in fruiting, but take some of the nutrients;
- after that, last year's shoots are shortened - this stimulates the formation of new bouquet branches with flower and vegetative buds;
- branches that are already 3 years old or more can be cut off entirely, you can also remove side shoots on branches 5 years old or more;
If the tree is more than 3 m in height, you need to cut off the tops of the skeletal branches, the plant will stop developing in the vertical direction, but will more actively release side branches.
Cherry pruning when planting in spring
The first pruning is carried out immediately after planting in the soil. This allows the formation of the correct, beautiful crown and, moreover, stimulates the growth of the roots. A diagram of how to properly prune cherries in spring looks like this:
- the sapling is left with the main vertical shoot, or trunk, and no more than 6 lateral branches, which in the future will form a "skeleton";
- the distance between the frame processes is about 10 cm;
- all shoots that grow curved or towards the trunk are cut off from the seedling;
- also cut off shoots that intersect with each other and impede the development of each other.
If growth is already present at the base of the seedling in the roots, it must also be removed. It does not bring benefits, but it takes away nutrients.
For the first time, the shoots of a cherry tree are pruned immediately after transfer to the soil.
How to prune young cherries in spring
Special care is required for a young fruit tree from 2 to 5 years of age. A video of pruning young cherries in spring for beginners can be found on the net, and the basic rules for cutting are as follows:
- In the second year of life, all dry, diseased and crookedly growing shoots are removed from the plant. Also, the branches formed in the intervals between the frame ones are eliminated, and the lateral processes are shortened. All shoots thickening the crown of a young tree are cut “on a ring” - flush with the trunk.
- In the third year, it is necessary to shorten the shoots by several centimeters, the length of which has exceeded 60 cm. Of all the branches that have grown over the past year, only 2 or 3 are left to form the second level of branches - other shoots can be removed.
- In the fourth year, the young plant is thinned again, removing all improperly growing shoots that contribute to thickening. The branches are trimmed, making sure that the lower ones are longer in length than the upper ones, and the upper ones are 10 cm from the top of the tree. During pruning, 2-3 shoots can be left to form the third level of the cherry.
Thus, in the fifth year of life, a young plant should consist of a main trunk and about 15 frame branches, and semi-skeletal shoots should be located on the sides of the main branches. When carrying out the next haircut, all unnecessary shoots are removed and dried and twisted branches are eliminated.
The diagram shows pruning options for trees of different ages.
How to form a fruiting cherry in spring
When pruning an adult fruiting tree, the main goal is to remove all unnecessary shoots that take away the vitality of the cherry. The scheme for pruning cherries in spring for beginners is as follows:
- cut down all the shoots that thicken the crown of the plant, and leave only horizontal branches;
- cut off the processes that prevent the proper growth of skeletal branches;
- if the main trunk rises above the skeletal branches by more than 20 cm, it is pruned at the top by a few centimeters;
- last year's shoots are slightly pruned to stimulate the growth of new branches;
- the skeletal branches are trimmed to the point where the lateral shoots begin to branch.
Attention! Rejuvenating pruning in the spring of fruiting cherries is not required every year, it is enough to carry it out every 3 years.
Rejuvenating pruning of old cherries in spring
For cherries that have reached the age of ten, a so-called anti-aging pruning is required. First of all, it increases the lifespan of the culture as a whole, and clipping also has a positive effect on fruiting. The procedure is carried out in several ways:
- Cutting off the top. In the video of cherry trimming in spring for beginners, it can be seen that the top of the trunk at a height of 2.5-3 m is eliminated in old trees - this stimulates the growth of side branches. After their appearance, only the most promising, even and well-located shoots should be left, and the rest should be removed.
- Shortening wireframe branches. The main skeletal shoots are cut to the point of branching, in other words, to the point where new young branches begin to grow upward.
When performing anti-aging pruning, it is necessary to act gradually and without haste. It is not recommended to cut off all the old branches in one spring - this can injure the tree too much. It is best to harvest several branches annually to ensure that the tree is fully renewed within a few years.
An old plant should be trimmed carefully and gradually.
Pruning neglected cherries in spring
Sometimes pruning in the spring is required for a heavily thickened tree that has not been trimmed for a long time. In this case, the algorithm remains standard - all old, weak, incorrectly growing branches are removed, leaving only promising and strong young shoots. At the same time, it is important not to rush and cut off several old branches annually so that rejuvenation takes place gradually.
Advice! Sometimes they use a radical method of pruning heavily neglected cherries. If there is young growth at the roots below, then the old trunk is simply cut down entirely and the plant is allowed to develop anew from the remaining young shoot.
How to properly prune cherries in spring, depending on the species
The pruning algorithm in spring depends not only on age, but also on the type of fruit tree. Cherries are tree-like and bush, dwarf and columnar, in all cases the pruning rules will differ slightly.
How to prune felted cherries in spring
Felt cherry is a very productive crop that begins to bear fruit within a year after planting. In this case, the plant is prone to thickening and rapid growth. Therefore, special attention should be paid to pruning felt cherries in the spring.
Each spring, the plant is trimmed, removing all weak and diseased branches, as well as shoots that grow towards the trunk.
Last year's branches, on which the main crop is formed, are pruned by a third, provided that they have stretched out more than half a meter. The height of the plant is maintained at the level of 2-2.5 m - this is the optimal growth for the felt cherry.
Felt cherries need to regularly cut off strong lateral shoots.
A well-formed plant should have about 10 main branches making up the frame. Lateral shoots in mature trees are regularly cut "into a ring", while not affecting the frame branches and the central part of the crown.
Pruning bush cherries in spring
The bushy variety also has a high yield, but it is prone to active thickening and gives root shoots. Therefore, you need to thin out the shrub very carefully, otherwise the cherry will bear fewer fruits, and they will be small. Spring Cherry Pruning for Beginners in Pictures offers:
- prune weak and broken branches, as well as shoots that compete with the main trunk;
- remove branches growing downward or towards the inside of the crown;
- cut off shoots more than 50-60 cm in length by a third, and cut off skeletal and semi-skeletal branches to a dormant bud;
- thin out the branches thickening the silhouette of the plant.
In any video of pruning bush cherries in the spring for beginners, it is emphasized that the bush bears fruit exclusively on annual shoots. Therefore, young branches cannot be cut off from him - this negatively affects the yield.
Scheme for pruning columnar cherries in spring
There is an opinion that slender and straight columnar cherries, in principle, do not need pruning. In fact, this is not the case, first of all, trees need an annual sanitary mowing, and, in addition, periodically it is necessary to maintain the shape of the crown.
The algorithm for pruning a columnar cherry is reduced to the following actions:
- after 3 years of life, every spring, the lateral branches of the tree are pinched at a distance of 40 cm from the trunk;
- after the cherry reaches a height of about 2.5 m, the top of the plant is cut off to prevent it from stretching too far up.
Without annual pruning in the spring, the columnar cherry will lose in yield, since even its elongated crown will thicken with excess shoots.
A columnar tree needs shaping despite its slender silhouette
Pruning dwarf cherries in spring
Dwarf varieties of fruit trees up to 2 m in height are very popular due to their compact size and high yield. Also, early maturity is characteristic of dwarf cherries, usually you can pick berries in the second year after planting the plant.
The procedure for pruning dwarf cherries is mainly in the sanitary thinning of the crown. Weak and crooked shoots should be removed annually so that they do not interfere with the growth of fruiting branches. After 8-10 years of life, the bonsai is rejuvenated in the standard way - they begin to gradually remove the old skeletal branches, replacing them with younger side shoots.
Spring Cherry Pruning Rules
Regardless of the scheme and goals, during the pruning process, you need to follow the time-tested rules. When done, clipping will not harm the tree, but will only contribute to healthy growth and fruiting.
Preparation of tools and materials
To thin out cherries in spring, the gardener will need several tools:
- a garden saw, or a hacksaw for wood - with its help, thick skeletal branches with a large diameter are removed;
- pruning shears - a tool designed to cut thin young shoots and twigs;
- Lopper - A garden tool is used to remove small branches that are at an awkward angle or in hard-to-reach places.
Before carrying out the procedure, the tools must be carefully sharpened. Cherry cuts should be as even and smooth as possible, so the tree will not get unnecessary injuries and will be able to recover faster after pruning.
It is recommended to disinfect the tools before thinning cherries. You can use a solution of potassium permanganate for this, it kills bacteria well and is not dangerous for plant tissues.
In addition to the tools, you will need to prepare heavy garden gloves to trim your cherry tree to protect your hands from cuts. If the tree is tall enough, you need to take a stepladder, it will provide access to the top of the cherry and upper shoots.
All pruning tools must be sharp and sterile
How to prune cherries correctly
During pruning, you need to adhere to the following recommendations:
- Thick old branches with a diameter of more than 5 cm are cut with a hacksaw, medium and thin young shoots up to 3 cm in girth are removed with a pruner or a lopper. It is very important to use the right tool for branches of different thicknesses, as a quick and even cut will minimize injury to the tree.
- A ladder is used to access the upper shoots. Climbing the branches of the tree itself is undesirable. First of all, it is traumatic, and besides, you can accidentally break thin young shoots, which will cause unnecessary harm to the cherry.
- You need to cut off the branches of a fruit tree carefully and quickly, at the chosen cut point. Do not inflict unnecessary wounds on the shoots and unnecessarily leave scratches on the bark - this will negatively affect the health of the cherry.
- It is recommended to cut the shoots at an angle of 40-45 ° C, and the cut line should recede 5 mm from the inner or outer bud.
- When cutting skeletal branches “into a ring”, a neat cut should be made along the upper edge of the ring at the base of the branch. It is impossible to cut off the shoot together with the ring, from this the wood may crack, a hollow will appear.
Immediately after the spring cutting, all removed parts of the fruit tree must be collected and burned. Leaving branches on the ground should not be, as this will increase the risk of infection by pests and fungal spores.
To prevent infection from entering the sections on the trunk and branches of the tree, they must be treated with antiseptic solutions, for example, copper sulfate or Bordeaux liquid. After that, the sections are covered with garden pitch.
If we neglect the processing, then in the places of the cuts the wood can begin to rot, and abundant gum is also likely to appear.
Fresh cuts should be immediately treated with garden varnish.
Caring for trees after pruning
Pruning cherries in spring is recommended as this is the least traumatic for fruit trees. However, even after it, the cherries need minimal care. It consists in the following:
- all cut branches are removed from the trunk circle and burned at the far end of the site;
- with the beginning of the growing season, cherries are fed with nitrogen fertilizers, they help to restore strength and build up green mass;
- shortly before flowering, the tree is treated for diseases and pests, while paying special attention to the places of the cuts.
Additional watering after pruning is only required if the spring is dry and warm and the tree lacks moisture.
Cherry pruning in spring is carried out to increase yields and to rejuvenate the mature fruit tree. The thinning scheme depends on both the age of the cherry and its type, but in general the procedure is not particularly difficult for the gardener.