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Pruning Weeping Cherry Tree

9 years ago


I recently purchased and planted a bare-root double flowered weeping higan cherry tree (Prunus subhirtella 'Pendula' - Double bare) which was grafted above the root ball. Most information I can find about this type of tree is for those grafted at a 4' or 6' height. The label for this tree says the tree will only grow 7-9' high with an 8-10' spread. The label reads, "thin and tip prune to shape."

The tree is already over 8' tall but the spread is very minimal at this point.

In not finding much information about this type of graft on this type of tree, I'm not 100% certain on how to prune or train going forward. I know I should prune after flowering, and from the buds, it looks like I'll be getting some flowers this spring despite just having planted the tree.

To start with, I'm thinking I should prune off lower branches to create a clear trunk. However, with so many branches in the low to mid range of the trunk, I may only do the lowest branches this season after flowering and continue clearing up the trunk next pruning season. Does this sound like a good plan? I thought it would minimize too much shock at once.

I know branches will thicken and spread over time, but do I need to stake any of the branches from a young age to create a pleasing, spreading shape? Or do I just let the tree do its thing? I'm inclined to let the branches develop this year and then take a look at shaping next year, but I also know the branches can get pretty thick and hard to train in a singular growing season, so waiting might limit my options for shaping.

I'm probably being overcautious, but as we're starting fresh with young trees in our smallish city yard, I'd like to make sure I get the shaping right from a young age. I've had to work with older, poorly pruned trees, and I'd like to avoid creating issues for myself as this tree matures.

Thank you for your time and expertise!

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