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How to Prune Cherry Trees

By Sarah Morse ; Updated September 21, 2017
Prune cherry trees in the summer to avoid disease.
cherry tree image by Lovrencg from Fotolia.com

Cherry trees bloom in the spring in many colors depending on the variety. They generally have a short lifespan, as cherry trees are susceptible to many diseases. They do not often need pruning, but when it becomes necessary to prune they require certain specific measures to keep them healthy. Knowledge of these measures will help you keep your cherry tree healthy for a longer period of time.

Prune your cherry tree in the summer. Most trees need pruning in the winter when they are dormant. Cherries, however, are more susceptible to silver leaf fungus disease in the winter, so they should be pruned in the summer when the weather is dry, according to the University of Oregon Extension Service.

Sterilize the pruning shears before you begin. Wipe the blades down with rubbing alcohol and a rag. This will prevent spreading any diseases from other plants to your cherry tree.

Cut suckers coming off the trunk of the tree. Also cut off shoots from branches that are pointing towards the trunk of the tree, and trim weak branches. These are all unproductive shoots that will take nutrients away from the tree. Removing shoots will increase air circulation. Cut each right outside the branch collar--the raised area where the stem meets the trunk.

Cut dead, diseased and broken branches from the tree. Keep the general shape of the tree the same--a weeping cherry should maintain its weeping shape, and upright cherries a pyramidal shape.

Cover all cuts with a tree sealant to prevent disease. Also, remove all cut branches and leaves from the area and throw them away. Leaving the remnants around the tree will increase its chances of infection.


Things You Will Need

  • Rag
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Pruning shears
  • Tree sealant

About the Author


Sarah Morse has been a writer since 2009, covering environmental topics, gardening and technology. She holds a bachelor's degree in English language and literature, a master's degree in English and a master's degree in information science.