Pruning Weeping Cherry Trees - Knowledgebase Question

Midlothian, VA
Avatar for copolillo
Question by copolillo
April 27, 1999
I would like some tips on how to best prune a weeping cherry tree to keep in health and flowering every year. What is the best time of year to prune it and how do I go about it? Any other pruning suggestions for this tree would be appreciated. Thank you. I love this web site and the opportunity to communicate with other gardeners.

Answer from NGA
April 27, 1999
Photo by DancingGenes
Really, not much is needed in the way of pruning a Weeping Cherry. Generally the weeping cherry (Prunus subhirtella cv.Pendula) is a naturally pendulous, flowering tree. Sometimes weeping trees are created by grafting a weeping-type top onto a standard trunk. Look for a graft to see if yours is in this category. If so, it's important to prune out any branches that sprout below the graft, so these non-weeping branches don't overtake the top part. Have you done any pruning in the past? If you prune back the weeping branches, this can cause the branches to stiffen and become more upright. Also, any heavy pruning can stimulate the tree to produce vigorous upright shoots called suckers.

Instead, prune weeping trees by removing crowded and crossing branches and any damaged wood. Other than that, they should develop the natural weeping shape on their own. Pruning is best accomplished immediately after flowering.

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