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How to Prune Sand Cherry Shrubs

By D.C. Winston ; Updated September 21, 2017

Sand cherry, known botanically as Prunus besseyi, is a deciduous flowering shrub belonging to the rose family that also goes under the name Western Sand Cherry. It is most commonly grown as an ornamental shrub in its natural sprawling form and is often planted en masse as informal hedging. It flowers in the spring with white or pink blooms and fruits in the fall with tiny purple black berries that are edible and used in conserves and desserts. Sand Cherry does not require regular pruning for bloom or fruiting. Conduct any significant pruning for shape or size in the early spring before new growth appears.

Inspect your sand cherry periodically during watering to look for broken, dying, diseased or otherwise compromised branches. Remove the problem branches back to the point of healthy wood and down to the parent branch or crown of the plant whichever preserves the natural arching form the best. Place the cut just above a node or bud and pull the cutting from the canopy.

Reduce the size of the shrub by cutting of the tops of the branches at the desired length placing all cuts just a 1/4 inch or so above a leaf or bud. Use loppers or secateurs and cut each branch individually to preserve the most natural shape or cut multiple branches with long blade shears for the sake of efficiency.

Rejuvenate your sand cherry after damage that has left it misshapen or after long periods of neglect by radically pruning out up to one third of the damaged wood and/or oldest shrub branches. Place cuts just an inch or two above the crown of the plant an pull each cutting out before placing the next cut. Distribute the cuts evenly in the canopy to ensure a symmetrical result. This will encourage new branch growth from the interior and improve the appearance over time.


Things You Will Need

  • Secateurs
  • Long blade shears
  • Long handled loppers