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Cherry tree

Cherry tree
Posted by Matthew Levie from CA (USDA 10/Sun on 2002-02-05 21:49:48

Hi there!

The focal point of our very small garden is a Taiwanese flowering cherry in the center of a raised bed. I've always wanted a cherry tree--but this one has some aesthetic issues that maybe you can help with. We're pretty new gardeners so pardon our ignorance!

1) The leaves don't fall. Most cherry trees around here (San Francisco) get a little fall color and then drop their leaves. Ours simply hangs on to its dull green ones until the new leaves arrive--so for most of the winter it looks pretty sad. Am I doing something?

2) I've read you shouldn't prune ornamental cherries much, but ours is starting to look like a mess. Branches are crossing all over the place, some are too long and thin so they're bending downward, and most of the branches emerge from a pretty ugly graft union so it looks kind of like an upside-down broom.

Help!

Matt Levie
  • Cherry Tree
    Posted by Newt from Maryland zone 7 on 2002-03-26 13:43:20

    Quoting Matthew Levie: ------------
    -Hi there!

    -The focal point of our very small garden is a Taiwanese flowering cherry in the center of a raised bed. I've always wanted a cherry tree--but this one has some aesthetic issues that maybe you can help with. We're pretty new gardeners so pardon our ignorance!

    -1) The leaves don't fall. Most cherry trees around here (San Francisco) get a little fall color and then drop their leaves. Ours simply hangs on to its dull green ones until the new leaves arrive--so for most of the winter it looks pretty sad. Am I doing something?

    -2) I've read you shouldn't prune ornamental cherries much, but ours is starting to look like a mess. Branches are crossing all over the place, some are too long and thin so they're bending downward, and most of the branches emerge from a pretty ugly graft union so it looks kind of like an upside-down broom.

    -Help!

    -Matt Levie


    Hi Matt,

    1- Many trees don't drop their leaves until the new spring growth appears, so it's often just the nature of the tree.

    2- By all means, you need to prune. You are correct to want to prune any branches that are crossing, dead or are hanging down too low. Here is a link you can copy and paste.
    http://www.ces.uga.edu/pubcd/B961-W.HTML#Technique

    As to the second part of your question, the shoots that are coming out of the graft will weaken your tree and need to be pruned. It will probably be an ongoing chore for as long as you have the tree. If the shoots are showing from below the graft, then they are from the root stock and will definately take over and weaken your tree.

    Here is a link you can copy and paste to see the shape your tree should have. Just scroll down to 'Flowering Cherry'.
    http://www.plantsnz.co.nz/specimens(photos).htm

    Another WONDERFUL place you can go to get lots of answers to your questions is The Garden Web. They have forums on just about any topic you can imagine and some very knowledgable people. There are forums for 'California Gardening', 'New To Gardening', 'Perennials' and so much more. I'm enclosing the link for their main page.

    Good luck,
    Newt

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