Cherry Trees

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  1. Pruning a Cherry Tree
  2. Planting a Cherry Tree
  3. Best Method for Pruning Cherry Tree?
  4. Dead Blossom Tree
  5. Plant Soil How-to’s
  6. Cherry 'Bushes'
  7. Repellent
Asked by Anonymous on November 28, 2010
Pruning a Cherry Tree

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
Heather
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
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.
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Asked by Anonymous on January 1, 2011
Planting a Cherry Tree

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?

ANSWERS
Heather
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Even if it is not too cold, I would not recommend fully planting them until spring. The benefit in spring is the warm weather causes the tree to establish rapidly and the water from the rain provides support for the rapid growth. This also helps it deal with the shock of transplanting better. You would not have these advantages now. You are better off heeling the plant in, in a sheltered location, then planting it out properly in spring. Here is more information on heeling in: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/info/heeling-in-plants.htm
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Asked by Litestyle0o on January 6, 2011
Best Method for Pruning Cherry Tree?

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
Heather
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
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.
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Asked by elmhouse on April 9, 2011
Dead Blossom Tree

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
Heather
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
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.
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Asked by Anonymous on April 19, 2011
Plant Soil How-to’s

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?

ANSWERS
Nikki
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Perhaps this article will help explain soilless mix in more detail: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/soil-fertilizers/soilless-growing-mediums.htm Japanese cherry needs well-draining, fertile soil that is slightly acidic and should be kept consistently moist, especially if growing in a container. These articles should also help: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/containers/how-to-grow-container-trees.htm http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/soil-fertilizers/raise-acid-level-soil.htm
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Asked by Anonymous on April 21, 2011
Cherry ‘Bushes’

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
Nikki
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
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.
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Asked by Anonymous on April 23, 2011
Repellent

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.

ANSWERS
Nikki
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
The methods in this article will help with protecting your plants: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/fruits/fegen/protect-fruit-tree-birds.htm
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