How to Prune a Flowering Cherry


Flowering cherry trees (Prunus serrulata) grow 15 to 25 feet tall and wide. They may have an upright, spreading, or weeping form, depending on the variety. Pink or white flowers bloom in the spring before the leaves appear. The foliage turns orange and yellow in the fall before dropping from the tree. Flowering cherry trees usually need little pruning, although they are prone to suckers and waterspouts, which are succulent shoots that grow upright from a branch. Pruning should be done immediately after flowering to prevent disruption of the next season's blooms.

Step 1

Cut off suckers at the base of the tree using hand pruners. Cut off waterspouts as close as possible to the main branch, without cutting into the living tissue of the branch.

Step 2

Prune any limbs or branches that are crossed or that rub another branch.

Step 3

Remove dead, damaged or diseased limbs and branches with the correct pruning tool. Signs of disease including dead leaves, split wood, peeling bark and cankers.

Step 4

Remove any limbs that hang low beneath the canopy of the tree and interfere with activities underneath the tree.

Step 5

Trim elongated or wayward limbs that spoil the shape of the canopy with hand pruners or lopping shears.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand pruners
  • Lopping shears
  • Pruning saw
  • Gloves


  • University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

Who Can Help

  • Ornamental Cherry, Plum, Apricot and Almond
Keywords: prune Flowering Cherry, prune Flowering Cherry tree, Flowering Cherry, Flowering Cherry tree

About this Author

Melody Lee worked as a newspaper reporter, copywriter and editor for 5 years. In addition, she has edited magazine articles and books. Lee holds a degree in landscape design and is a Florida master gardener. She has more than 25 years of gardening experience, which includes working at nurseries and greenhouses.