The Q&A Archives: Pruning a cherry sapling

Question: Is there a correct proportion to pruning a cherry sapling? With all the rain, it is very leafy and branchy relative to the trunk size (about 2-3 inches). I worry a strong wind could blow it over. Thanks, Jeanne

Answer: I think rather than pruning you should just stake the tree so it doesn't blow over. Then in the wintertime when you can see the branch structure you can safely prune it back or thin it out. Pruning now will only encourage more growth, which will defeat the purpose of pruning. Stake by placing two or three stakes around the tree and gently but securely tying the trunk and/or central leader to the stakes. Allow the ties to be loose enough to let the tree move a little in the wind, but tight enough to keep the top from becoming a sail in the wind. You can remove the stakes this winter and prune your cherry if necessary to thin it out.

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