Prune a cherry tree : when and how ? Our advice

Pruning is essential to promote the fruiting of the cherry tree, give it a balanced shape and eliminate useless or dead branches. But beware, this fruit tree is extremely fragile and sensitive. It is therefore necessary to choose the appropriate period but also to operate with discernment and method. Zoom on the pruning of the cherry tree.

Cherry tree pruning: recommended period

The best time to prune a cherry tree isfalland more precisely during the months of October and November because it is in descending sap. This means that the sap no longer circulates in its aerial parts. This is very important because the pruning that occurs out of season causes injuries to the cherry tree and this results in the production of a thick gum at the level of the branches and the trunk. This is called the gummy. The main causes of this are the accumulation of water from rain or irrigation and freezing.

Late gardeners, however, have the option of carrying out this task during the winter, but only in dry weather and provided you choose a period during which it does not freeze. This prevents the appearance of fungi and therefore fungal diseases or maladies cryptogamiques.

When the weather conditions do not allow it, they will have to wait until March and not delay any longer. The pruning of the cherry tree must absolutely intervene after leaf fall et before the buds appear. If these conditions are not respected and the fruit tree is pruned when the sap is rising, it flows in large quantities. It is then said that the cherry tree bleeds. This is very serious since this phenomenon can lead to the death of the tree.

Pruning a cherry tree: how to do it?

This operation requires delicacy but also of moderation because this fruit tree hates drastic pruning. This is also the case for all other stone fruit trees. If you take care not to prune it too severely, it can live for a good hundred years.

Three types of pruning are identified, namely the pruning of the young cherry tree or pruning of first age, the maintenance pruning and the shortening pruning during fruiting.

The pruning of the young cherry tree

It is carried out at an early age, when the fruit tree is still only at a stage of formation since it is not even one year old. You just have to remove the excess stems. We select the shoots in axis since it is about the future branches which will give buds. In the cherry tree, the first age size is very important because this is how we control the future shape of the tree and the volume it will occupy in its environment.

Cherry tree maintenance pruning

It consists in shortening by about thirty centimeters the branches that are too long in order to form a crown, to restore to the tree a harmonious habit and a perfectly balanced shape. It also allows:

  • Remove all dead or diseased branches.
  • To remove the branches which tend to move towards the center of the tree and those which cross.
  • To ensure good ventilation and better sunshine in the center of the antlers, which also benefits from good light.
  • To promote fruiting and a good distribution of cherries on the tree.
  • To boost the renewal of short branches bearing flower buds.
  • To get bigger fruits.

To do this, it is absolutely necessary to carry out a straight and clean cut 1.5 cm just above a bud. But it is imperative bevel cut ensuring that the lower part of the cut is opposite the bud. Thus, rainwater will flow to the back of the eye (bud) which will therefore not risk aborting.

Cherry tree shortening pruning

It concerns only the oversized temples which give many fruits under the weight of which they can break and those which remained unsuccessful and therefore become useless.

The problem is that it takes place in season. Some gardeners perform this fruiting sizebut it is a huge risk for the cherry tree if several branches are cut, as this results in the loss of a large quantity of sap. There is a risk not only of interfering with the quality of the cherries but also of considerably shortening the life of the fruit tree.

Whatever the pruning carried out, as soon as it is finished, we apply a mastic to heal on the notches or else of theclay, a step not to be forgotten. It should however be noted that the maintenance pruning is highly preferable to the size of fruiting because it is much less harmful to the cherry tree. However, it does not have to be carried out every year, but only every 3 to 4 years. This is enough to keep the fruit tree healthy and avoid over-exhausting it. Finally, to avoid the risk of contaminating your orchard, all cutting tools must be disinfected before and after a pruning session.

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