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Pruning flowering cherry trees

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James Kilkelly
Rank: Site Admin

Joined: 30 May 2006
Posts: 2142
Location: West of Ireland

PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2006 1:22 am    Post subject: Pruning flowering cherry trees Reply with quote

Flowering cherry trees are one of the joys of spring and many Irish gardens play host to one or two varieties of Prunus (cherry).
But do you have a flowering cherry that has grown too large for its allotted space and requires pruning?

Well over the days at the back end of August I would urge you to find time to carry out that pruning and not leave it until later on in the year.
The reason being that towards the end of August the fungal diseases that attack flowering cherries are less present than later in the year, diseases such as Silver leaf and bacterial canker.
Silver leaf disease causes as the name suggests, a silvering of the leaves and a severe die back of existing shoots.
Bacterial canker on the other hand causes wounds that exude a sticky gum to break out on the tree, followed by die back of the branches.
Diseases such as these are wind borne fungal diseases that enter through open wounds whether caused by accident or by pruning.

So by carrying out all pruning over the next few weeks with clean pruning cuts you will reduce the risk of damage to what may be a prized tree.
This advice goes not only for flowering cherries, these rules also apply for flowering plum and almond trees.
Some of the most common varieties include... Prunus avium "Plena" (Bird cherry), Prunus serrulata "Kanzan", Prunus cerasifera "Nigra" (Purple leaved plum), Prunus glandulosa (Flowering almond), Prunus serrula (Tibetan cherry) and Prunus pendula "Pendula Rubra".

If you have a sizable amount of tree pruning to undertake why not try to carry this out over a three-year period on individual trees to reduce shock to the plants system.
Some horticultural advisors will tell you that the wound created by fresh pruning cuts should be painted with tar based wound sealant paint.
Disregard this advice, the latest theory is to leave the wound unpainted as tests have found that painting actually seals in diseases rather than keep them out.
The wound should start to callus (heal) within 3 months.

Before you tackle that tree-pruning job, take a few steps back and size the task up. Is it going to require much ladder climbing and chainsaw work?
If you feel the tree pruning job is larger than your experience or skill then please call in a tree surgeon.
Yes, I know they seem quite expensive, but you are paying for their knowledge, correct equipment and comprehensive insurance.
To my mind this always seem like much better value than a possible fall or injury which causes a person to be laid up for weeks on end.

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