The Q&A Archives: Pruning a Ornamental Cherry Tree

Question: I just bought an Ornamental Cherry Tree. The instructions for planting is to prune the limbs back to within 6 inches of the trunk and then top the tree to with 13inches. The tree has already started to bud. Is it nescessary to prune when planting? If I do prune, will it bloom this year?
Thanks for your help!!

Answer: The reason you prune trees back is to create a balance between the upper part of the tree and the root system. That is, you remove some of the top so the root system can supply the top with adequate water and nutrients. There is some controversy over whether this type of pruning is really necessary, providing you give the newly planted tree plenty of water throughout its first season. I guess I'd opt not to cut it back--or just prune crossing or misshapen branches, and make sure you water the tree regularly whenever nature doesn't provide. Even if you don't prune it back, it may not flower this first, or even the second year.

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