1. Pruning a Cherry Tree

Asked by Anonymous - November 28, 2010

I just had a tree service give me an estimate on some tree work. He told me I need to top my cherry trees. They are tall and not thin, but not full. I get some blossoms, but no fruit. He wanted to take them down to 6-7 feet. Is this OK? And I also read you only do this in late summer, not winter. Is this true? I am in Seattle, WA. -

Answers
  • I personally do not think topping trees is such a great idea. It can cause some serious health and aesthetic issues for a tree down the road and it does not really keep them small. What they lose in the ability to grow UP, they gain in the ability to grow OUT.

    If your tree is not full, I would instead do some judicious pruning of the leggier branches. This will help fill the tree out some.

    And yes, I would wait until summer to do so. Pruning now can bring the tree out of dormancy, which means it will have a harder time surviving over the winter.

2. Planting a Cherry Tree

Asked by Anonymous - January 1, 2011

Is it okay to plant cherry trees in mid-winter (in the south of France, not very cold)? If so, how can we help protect it until spring arrives?

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3. Best Method for Pruning Cherry Tree?

Asked by Litestyle0o - January 5, 2011

I heard cherry trees can be very sensitive when it comes to cutting them & then you are supposed to “paint” the branch to help it from bleeding out.

I don’t like to use anything I cant make myself. Any suggestions on the best approach?

Answers
  • The painting advice on cherry trees is outdated. Research has found it actually does more harm than good. The best thing to do is to leave the wound to heal naturally. There may be some bleeding, but this will help the tree self-seal and help avoid disease.

4. Dead Blossom Tree

Asked by elmhouse - April 9, 2011

We have a 40 year old flowering cherry blossom tree. It has been spectacular every year, so much so that we take photos of the grandchildren when at its best. Last year I noticed that it looked a bit sparce in places, and this year there is not one bud on it, and the branches that are reachable are dead. Do you know what could have caused this? It is quite distressing. Thank you.

Answers
  • Many smaller fruit trees are relatively short lived. They only live a few decades and then will die of old age. It is very likely this is the case with your tree. It may have been hastened along by a fungus or a pest that attacked the elderly and weakened tree. If any part of it is still alive, I would recommend having a tree specialist come and look at it, but as I said, it is rather old for that variety of tree and there may not be much they can do for it.

5. Plant Soil How-to’s

Asked by Anonymous - April 19, 2011

What is soilless mix? I have a Japanese cherry tree. What kind of soil does it need? How do I make it myself? How do I make acidic soil for a container plant?

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6. Cherry ‘Bushes’

Asked by Anonymous - April 21, 2011

I planted a cherry ‘bush’ (this will be its fourth summer) with the understanding that it did not need another fruit tree to cross-pollinate. I’ve had NO fruiting, and this ‘bush’ is about 10′ tall!!
It blossomed last year but barely this spring. It is planted with/near vegetables – asparagus, tarragon, monarda, day lillies, climbing rose, clematis, rhubarb, black raspberries, potatoes, onion/garlic.  These all are within a ten foot radius of the cherry bush’s main trunk. The trunk and branches have horizontal markings on the surface, about an inch long. What can I look for as to care of this bush? I want cherries!

Answers
  • Do you see pollinators around the cherry blossoms? Cherries bloom rather early and it may be possible that poor weather is keeping pollinators from your garden that early. Take a look at attracting more pollinators as you will need all you can get that early.

    Also, almost all of the plants you listed were not fruit bearing. The exception was blackberry. How is the blackberry production? If it is low too, I would look to a phosphorus deficiency. This can cause problems with plants that produce fruit.

7. Repellent

Asked by Anonymous - April 23, 2011

How do you mix repellent for birds, cats, and dogs? I have a Bing cherry tree the birds are starting to circle over. I would like to enjoy my fruits.

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