Spring is undeniably most people’s favorite season. What’s not to love about spring, anyway? The mild, fine weather is just a bonus; it is the luscious green fields and magnificent flowers that make this season unique and beautiful. Among the favorite and well-loved trees during spring is none other than the weeping cherry tree.
The weeping cherry tree is usually used for ornamental purposes as the whole tree can bear flowers, creating a scenic and enchanting view. However, what makes this specific tree unique is that the flowers bloom for a week before the flowers start to fall. It’s amazing, isn’t it?
However, a weeping cherry tree is another case that many gardeners have mixed emotions. While some gardeners love the weeping cherry tree as it resembles a curtain of flowers, there are also others who struggle to keep the tree trimmed and well-maintained.
A weeping tree can be pleasing to the eyes, but a well-maintained garden with well-trimmed cherry trees is more aesthetically appealing. To help you out on how to trim a weeping cherry tree, here are the pruning tips and mistakes that you need to know:
How to Trim a Weeping Cherry Tree: Tips & Tricks
1. Prune Your Tree on Time
Before you ask how to trim a weeping cherry tree, you first need to know when is the right time to do so. Well folks, the best time to prune a weeping tree is when it is dormant. It is in late summer that you can prune the tree efficiently. Why not in early summer just as all the flowers fall? In early summer, the tree might still have some sap which will drip as you trim. Pruning the tree in late summer ensures that all the sap had dried out, making it easier for you to trim.
What about mid and late winter? Isn’t it the perfect time to prune too? Some people say winter can be a good time for pruning, but I still suggest not to prune during this season. This is because the fungus that causes silver leaf disease produces more during late fall to winter.
Most trees hibernate in winter as they prepare to fully bloom in spring
2. No Flowers and Open Leaves
No flowers nor open leaves should be on the tree when you prune, and late summer or early fall is the perfect season wherein flowers and leaves have already dried out and are about to fall. Remember, avoid pruning a weeping cherry tree when there is a sign of growth such as in spring. This is because trimming the tree while there are flowers and open leaves can hamper the tree’s growth.
3. Keep your Pruning Shears Sharp
One of the reasons why you mess up when trimming a tree is due to blunt shears. Blunt shears do not only result in poorly cut twigs and branches, but it can also cause damage to the tree. Always make sure that the shear you use is sharp enough to cut thick twigs and branches. How to trim a weeping cherry tree effectively sometimes relies on the sharpness of your pruning shears.
4. Remove the Upward Branches of Your Tree
One would have thought that pruning a weeping cherry tree only focuses on cutting branches that grow towards the ground. However, what you probably don’t know is that upward and lopsided branches have to be cut as well. Doing this will help you maintain the weeping appearance of your cherry tree.
5. Pay Constant Attention to Grafted Weeping Cherry Trees
Grafting weeping cherry trees is a practice used by some gardeners. This process refers to the operation wherein a branch from a cherry tree is grafted on the branch of another tree. The common purpose of this process is to produce a weeping cherry tree with different colors. Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a colorful cherry tree in your garden?
Well, it is indeed a fantastic view, only most grafted branches grow upward, which might cause the branches to rub against each other. Eventually, the natural, appealing appearance of your weeping cherry tree is distorted. Thus, always check the grafted branches and monitor their growth.
5 Pruning Mistakes at Weeping Cherry Trees
After finding out the essential tips and tricks on how to trim a weeping cherry tree, we can now discuss the pruning mistakes that you should stop doing.
1. Cutting Large Branches Near the Trunk of Your Tree
This is one of the most common pruning mistakes that lots of gardeners do. If you cut the branches near the trunk area, this will encourage the branch to go vertically upward. Once some of the branches start to grow upward, the natural beauty of a weeping cherry tree will no longer be maintained.
2. Using Junk Tools
The key when learning how to trim a weeping tree efficiently is the tool used. Experts suggest you use the right kind of tool like the pruning shear, and not just any blade that is accessible. Also, avoid using rusty and dirty shears as this might spread a disease that can infect your cherry tree.
3. Topping the Weeping Cherry Tree
The topping is a common trimming mistake that most beginner gardeners commit. It usually happens when they feel like the tree is too big. Most people cut the top of the tree including its main branch. It does not only harm the tree, but it also affects the tree’s appearance once it grows back.
4. Snipping the Branch Tips in Small Cuts
Unfortunately, most people believe that trimming the cherry tree in large cut harms the tree; hence, they resort to routinely snipping the tip of the branches. But this shouldn’t be the case since pruning actually promotes growth. So, if you cut the branch tip several times, a new branch will only sprout.
5. Fighting the Cherry’s Natural Shape
In your quest for getting the perfect shape for your landscape, you often make this mistake. How to trim a weeping cherry tree without distorting its natural shape? It’s quite simple, do not fight the natural sway and twirl of the branches when pruning.
In addition, this is also the reason why most people over-prune. They just trim and cut without realizing they have already taken so much, causing the cherry to die eventually.
Weeping Cherry Tree: FAQ
- When should I prune my weeping cherry tree?
All the cherry trees should be pruned in early spring or late fall when the tree is still dormant. Nearly all plants go dormant in winter— whether they’re growing indoors or out in the garden. This period of rest is crucial to their survival in order to regrow each year. So, when starting your weeping cherry pruning, there should be no flowers or leaves open on the tree.
- How do you water this kind of tree?
A weeping cherry tree should be watered two or three times a week during the first year it’s planted. Afterward, it should only be watered when the top three inches of soil are dry. Also, allow the soil to dry out between waterings.
- Where is the best place to plant a weeping cherry tree?
First of all, choose a planting site that receives full sun to partial shade, and has loose, well-drained soil. Then, pull any weeds and clear away turfgrass and debris. However, if you plant your pink weeping cherry tree in full shade, it will not grow as well and be susceptible to root rot.
- What is the lifespan of this tree?
Well, the common life expectancy of a flowering cherry tree is 15 to 20 years. However, the Higan cherry, or the weeping flowering cherry, is an exception to the 20-year life expectancy. Because of its slower process of growth, and its better toleration of extreme temperature, it is longer-lived than other flowering cherry varieties.
Finally, a weeping cherry tree can be a great addition to your landscape if you know how to trim and maintain its shape. So, follow the recommended tips and avoid these five mistakes to ensure you’ll get the best tree shape that you’ve always wanted.
Last but not least, it’s your time to share your thoughts: Do you have any other pruning tricks that we should add to the list? How about pruning mistakes that you want to share? Also, what are your experiences with this topic? Let’s hear them out! Comment and share your thoughts!
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