Both sweet and sour cherries trees (Prunus spp.) Have ornamental value whilst supplying delicious fruit. Like most of deciduous fruit trees, cherries need annual pruning to keep shape and structure, but may also require pruning to remove dead or diseased limbs. It’s very important to eliminate these limbs as soon as possible to protect the tree from infection. This is known as maintenance pruning.
When to Maintenance Prune
Because removing dead or diseased limbs help avoid pest and disease issues, you must prune these limbs once you see them. You don’t have to await some time of year since cherries don’t grow on these undesirable limbs, therefore tree or fruit development isn’t influenced by removing them at any given time of year. You should also prune away any mummified fruits right away and discard them, as well as any diseased limbs.
Maintenance pruning is the process of removing limbs from the cherry tree which are dead, diseased, broken or rubbing against healthy limbs. Pests and diseases can readily enter limbs which are lifeless, broken or have wounds from branches rubbing against each other. Wounds brought on by branches rubbing together take longer to heal than clean wounds, so the tree is left vulnerable. Standard inspection and elimination of dead branches, diseased branches, broken branches and branches rubbing together can help avoid future issues.
Maintenance Pruning Basics
When pruning a cherry tree to remove dead, diseased or broken limbs, then you must use sterilized pruning shears to avoid the spread of infection. To eliminate dead or unhealthy divisions, then you need to cut approximately six inches into wood. Live wood has feasible buds. To test whether a division is alive or lifeless, gently scrape on the surface and if the color exposed is green, the division is alive. If the color is brown, the division is dead and needs to be removed. When removing branches that rub, you can cut the division back to the nearest bud, or cut back to where the branch and back meet, known as the crotch
Annual cherry tree pruning should be carried out in the dormant season, typically in winter through early spring, until the tree starts to grow new leaves. Both sweet and sour cherry varieties only need light yearly pruning one recognized. New trees require annual pruning to help direct tree development, create powerful, productive branches and allow sunlight to be evenly distributed to the entire tree.