The Q&A Archives: Damaged Cherry Tree

Question: A small (5 foot high) bing cherry tree was severly damaged by my dog. I cut it off about one foot above the ground. It is starting to show signs of life and is sprouting a few green leaves very near the base. Is it worth continuing to try and bring it back or should I just start over? Will the tree bear fruit from the new growth or will it be sterile?

Answer: You need to look closely at the trunk and determine if the new growth is coming from above or below the graft union. The graft may appear as a swollen area on the trunk, usually within a few inches of the soil line, or it may be that the trunk diameter changes at the graft union.

If new growth is from above the graft, you can select one vigorous shoot, remove the others, and regrow a tree just like the old one. If there is no growth from above the graft you are better off starting over. Trying to regraft or bud one of the rootstock shoots is possible but may be difficult unless you are a determined do-it-yourself'er.

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