How to prune an ornamental cherry tree

Ornamental cherry trees are usually selected for the showy blossoms that cover their branches in the spring, not for the fruits the trees produce. Ornamental cherries are available in several varieties and sizes, so you can find one that works well in your garden. These trees require little pruning. However, it is vital to examine and prune ornamental cherry trees once a year after the flowering period, as well as any time that diseased branches are seen.

Examine the overall appearance of the ornamental cherry tree. Allow it to develop naturally, unless the tree interferes with paths or other obstructions. Remove any branches needed to maintain the size or shape of the tree.

Prune the tree with tools matched to the size of the branches: pruning shears for branches up to 6.5 mm (1/4 inch) in diameter, loppers for branches up to 3.75 cm (1 1/2 inches) in diameter and a pruning saw for larger branches. Make the cuts at an angle near the main branch or trunk, and just above a node on the branch to encourage new growth.

Eliminate any branches on the ornamental cherry tree that cross through the centre or touch other branches. This allows better light penetration and air circulation.

Remove any suckers emerging around the base of the tree or on the trunk. Pinch them back with your fingers or use pruning shears to cut them.

Prune frail or sickly branches on your ornamental cherry tree as soon as you notice them throughout the year. Cut the branches back to healthy wood. Sterilise your pruning tools with rubbing alcohol after removing diseased branches.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Loppers
  • Pruning saw
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About the Author

Diane Dilov-Schultheis has been writing professionally since 2000. She is a food and travel writer who also specializes in gaming, satellites, RV repair, gardening, finances and electronics. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has been published online at the Travel Channel and Intel.