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How do I prune cherry trees?

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A

Traditionally, both sour and sweet cherry trees are trained to an open center form.

Here is a website I’ve found that has a couple of good diagrams and photos of an open center tree form: http://www.uga.edu/fruit/chapter1.html  (scroll down a little further than halfway through the webpage).

As you can see there, you want to select 3 to four scaffold branches that are evenly distributed around the perimeter of the tree trunk. Therefore, you will top the tree above the highest scaffold branch.

Take care to leave about one-quarter inch above the topmost branch to allow the cut to heal without harming the top branch. Angle the top cut away from the uppermost scaffold branch so that any rain will run off and not pool on a horizontal cut surface (this could cause rot of the heartwood).

Posted on 27 Feb 2007

Maggie Wolf
Horticulture Agent, Salt Lake County

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