Tree Gardening Guides: Pruning A Weeping Cherry

A weeping cherry tree needs to have strong leaders to support the weeping branches. Always evaluate a tree before making the first cut.

Weeping Cherry trees get from twenty to forty feet tall and they have a fifteen to thirty foot spread. In the fall their dark green leaves change color somewhat. In the spring, pink or white flowers appear. These trees grow in zones 5-8 and require full sun. Plant it near water for a nice reflection of the tree. It will grow well near water as it likes moist conditions.

When you prune the weeping cherry you need to have a strong, central leader. Prune when it is young and evaluate the tree before making the first cut. Weeping varieties of trees need strong leaders to hold their weeping branches. They also need a few other strong upper branches to grow tall. When they get tall enough they will begin to arch in order to support the long weeping twigs, which is what you want. Prune in late summer or fall so the sap won't bleed as much.

Continue to prune as the tree grows. Remove any water sprouts or suckers. If the long weeping branches get long enough to touch the ground do not prune the tips. Some people believe this tip pruning gives the tree an unnatural appearance. Instead of tip pruning place plenty of mulch underneath the tree so when you mow you won't have to mow under the tree. The trailing branches will look great.

When you prune a weeping tree you don't want it to end up looking too wild or too chopped up either. You want to keep it as natural looking as possible. Don't prune it to the point of it looking like a mushroom. This is the most common mistake that people make when pruning a weeping variety of tree.

Remember that a new, young weeping cherry tree looks nothing like an old, mature cherry tree. As it grows and matures it will send up tall, strong shoots from the top. Remember that these are the strong leaders that you want to have later on. When you first plant a new, young weeping cherry just look it over and start to evaluate it and do not prune very much in the beginning. Be sure to plant a young tree in a location where it will have room to spread as needed, which is up to thirty feet in diameter. It will depend on the variety that you purchase on the size it will be at maturity.

Weeping cherry trees make good specimen trees because of their weeping habit and their beautiful show of spring flowers. With a back drop of evergreens it will stand out in your landscape.

Any time you are pruning be sure to use very sharp pruners. You can use a wound dressing if desired. Dispose of the old branches that you remove. If there are any diseased pieces of wood be sure and do not add these to your compost pile. The other branches can be shredded and added to the compost pile if desired.

The Snow Fountain Weeping Cherry is a great variety of weeping cherry tree for you to plant. This is one variety that most people want to go wild and do not prune very much at all. Just remove any dead, damaged or diseased wood as soon as possible. That is probably all the pruning that will be needed.

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