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How to Prune a Nanking Cherry

By Yolanda Vanveen ; Updated September 21, 2017

To prune a nanking cherry tree, cut out random branches towards the top of the tree, and thin the tree out one-third the size every year. Trim nanking cherry tree branches at an angle with help from a sustainable gardener in this free video on gardening.


Hi, this is Yolanda Vanveen and we're going to talk about how to prune a Nanking cherry tree. Now, Nanking cherry trees are just like any other cherry tree. So when you're pruning any kind of fruit tree, the goal is to cut out a lot of the random branches towards the top of the tree 'cause those are usually the more fruity branches that's going to produce the more fruit and you want to thin it about one third the size each year, and that way it won't just get tall and lanky. It'll fill up and you'll get a lot more fruit, quicker. And so just by cutting out, see the lighter colored branches? You can get a lot more fruit. And you just trim them out and even it out so there's more sun that gets into the middle branches and the tree will do much better. If you have a fruit tree that's been established and it's really tall and not producing fruit and you have not pruned it very much, then you can actually cut out some of the top branches, and what you're making is called a vase cut. By doing that, you're forcing most of the grew growth back down to the bottom part of the tree and you'll get a lot more fruit for the next year. So when you're pruning any type of a tree, you want to be really careful to cut it at the right angle. For example, if it's a large branch, you want to cut first at one side, and then thee other side, and then you're cutting that whole heavy branch off 'cause if you just cut from one angle, it might actually hurt some of the bark and get into the main trunk, and you never want to hurt the main trunk because you will lose a tree if it gets too damaged. And you don't want to cut it too far out either, where the CD cut is because what happens is then it gets too much moisture and it'll rot, and there's too much dead material. You want to cut it right at a little bit of an angle leaving one to two inches right at where the tree is reading with the main trunk. Same thing, you never want to cut right up to the trunk line and make a solid cut because what happens is the tree gets very damaged and sometimes it will eventually kill the tree because it doesn't have bark to protect the main trunk, and that is what's needed. So by trimming out your Nanking cherry one third every year and cutting out any dead branches or any real spindly branches and trying to make it a little more even, you will find that you'll get lots more fruit the next year.


About the Author


Yolanda Vanveen is a third-generation flower grower and sustainable gardener who lives in Kalama, Wash. She is the owner of VanveenBulbs.com, selling flower bulbs on the Internet, at garden shows and at farmers markets in the Pacific Northwest for more than 20 years. Vanveen holds a degree in communications and international studies from Linfield College, and is a graduate of the WSU Master Gardener Program. Vanveen represented the United States at the 2006 Indigenous Bulb Society Symposium in South Africa and has been featured on the PBS show Smart Gardening, demonstrating which way is up with flower bulbs.