How to prune a weeping cherry tree australia

How to Trim a Weeping Cherry Tree

How to Trim a Weeping Cherry Tree

(Updated 12/28/20)

Pruning a weeping cherry tree requires a light hand. These trees look best when the branches trail gracefully on or near the ground. Branches that have been sheared to a short, uniform length lose their flowing lines.

Pruning practices for weeping trees differ somewhat from those for upright varieties. We’ve put together an infographic that shows you how to trim a weeping cherry tree.

You can use the same five tips to prune both regular and dwarf varieties. If you need to remove a diseased branch from a larger tree, contact us for help.

Steps for Pruning & Trimming a Cherry Tree

Weeping cherry trees are a beautiful addition to any landscape. They need to be pruned once a year and look best when limbs are trimmed but kept close to the ground. Here are some important tips on how to trim a weeping cherry tree.

The first step is to make sure you’re pruning the tree at the right time of year. Pruning the tree when the tree is dormant is key, so late summer or early fall should be a perfect time. Winter and early spring are almost certainly too soon. So make sure the flowers are not in bloom and be sure to cut the branches when they’re small.

Before you begin, be sure that you have the right tools ready. Sharp bypass shears are the best to cut slender, young branches. If the tree is diseased, be sure to clean the tools with rubbing alcohol to disinfect and prevent the spreading of any diseased sections to other parts of the tree.

Next, remove a few inches from the tips of the branches that are trailing too long. Take some time to stagger the length of the branches and allow the foliage to trail near to the ground.

It is important to remember that if one branch is removed, multiple twigs will grow. If there are suckers or water sprouts emerging at the trunk near the ground, remove those, as they can suck water and nutrients from the tree, causing damage over time. Be sure to take note to not cut new growth from the top of the tree.

One of the most important aspects of knowing how to trim a weeping cherry tree is knowing how a properly trimmed but naturally weeping tree should look in the first place!

A properly trimmed weeping cherry tree will retain its weeping shape and provide lasting beauty in your yard if pruned annually. Branches that grow rapidly can be pruned so that the branches that touch the ground keep that naturally weeping shape.

A quick side note if you’re thinking about grafting two trees together. Keep in mind that when a tree is grafted, the grafted weeping cherry tree will respond to pruning by sprouting below the graft. In other words, it won’t grow straight; it will revert to its rootstock.

If you want to make sure that you know exactly how to trim a weeping cherry tree, contact our team of experienced landscape experts at Inexpensive Tree Care for advice today. We are happy to help!

Some final thoughts about our company. Inexpensive Tree Care is led by certified arborists. That means you can count on us to provide nothing but the highest quality, full-service tree work. This includes tree pruning, tree removal (including dangerous tree removal), tree trimming, stump grinding, and much more.

So get in touch with us today, and we can get started on a course of action that will have your trees healthy and appearing their loveliest throughout the year.

weeping cherry tree

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When, How & Common Mistakes – Rennie Orchards

by Jamie

Despite their name, weeping cherry trees are a joyful addition to your garden. When in bloom, the canopy becomes a large cluster of delicate flowers that spread joy everywhere.

However, it takes some work to get the weeping cherry into good shape, not just the regular watering and feeding. Pruning is a crucial aspect of weeping cherry tree care.

When should you prune a weeping cherry tree? The best time to prune the weeping cherry is when the tree is dormant and the last flower and leaves have fallen. Dormancy starts in late fall and extends until early spring. Prune a grafted weeping cherry in the fall, but a natural weeping cherry can be pruned either in the fall or early spring.

Even when you get the timing right, pruning the weeping cherry tree is not a straightforward matter. Read more to find out how to prune the tree and encourage it to bloom year after year.

Pruning a Weeping Cherry Tree

Usually, weeping cherry trees are either grafted or natural trees. How you approach the pruning process depends on whether the tree is grafted or not.

If you’re not sure what type of weeping cherry you have, check the tree trunk near the ground. If you find a knob, then the tree is grafted. Otherwise, you’re looking at a natural weeping cherry tree. 

Best Time To Prune a Weeping Cherry Tree

As important as pruning the weeping cherry tree is, it has to be done at the right time, and the right time is when the tree is dormant. It’s easy to tell when the tree is dormant. You just wait for the last leaf to drop, which happens in late fall.

If you miss that opportunity, then you can prune it in the early spring before the first bud has emerged. In either case, the tree has to be completely bare.

Can You Prune a Weeping Cherry in Winter?

In practice, a natural weeping cherry tree can be pruned either in the late fall or early spring. A grafted tree should be pruned in the fall since the snarl or branches at the heart of the canopy are prone to damage by the wind.

However, winter is not a good time for pruning the weeping cherry, whether it’s grafted or natural. Pruning puts the tree under a lot of stress that can weaken the tree during the winter.

How Often Should You Prune a Weeping Cherry?

The weeping cherry tree should be pruned once a year to maintain its shape, trigger new growth, and promote good health.

However, some of the outer branches of the tree grow at a fast rate as they try to reach the ground. You can trim these branches lightly whenever you need to maintain the weeping look of the tree. The inner branches are only pruned annually when the tree is dormant.

When To Prune a Dwarf Weeping Cherry Tree

A dwarf weeping cherry tree is often more prone to silver leaf disease. Usually, the tree’s resources go into flowering, which leaves it open to this disease.

You should prune the dwarf weeping cherry in the summer after the tree has flowered. This will conserve the tree’s resources and allow it to focus on developing the trunk and branches and grow a more robust root system.

Should You Prune Grafted Weeping Cherry Trees?

Grafted weeping cherry trees need pruning even more than the natural ones. Usually, a grafted weeping cherry will develop a snarl of branches in the tree’s center. These branches get entangled easily, which makes them prone to damage.

By pruning this snarl, you avoid damage to the tree’s structure in the winter, which can impact its growth and flowering the next spring. 

You should also check for any roots, buds, and any other signs of growth around the graft knob or coming out of the rootstock. The rootstock is the part of the grafted tree right above the ground.

Cut off any such roots or buds you see since they’re not part of the weeping cherry part of the tree.

How To Prune a Weeping Cherry Tree

Before you start pruning the tree, identify whether it’s grafted or natural. The tools are usually the same. Here’s a list of what you need.

  • Bypass shears
  • Gloves
  • Glasses
  • Ladder

Pruning a Grafted Weeping Cherry
  1. Sanitize the tools before touching the tree to prevent infections.
  2. Start with the branches reaching the ground. Trim them lightly to keep them about 6 inches above the ground.
  3. Move to the snarl of branches in the middle. These are not weeping as they grow upright. Cut the branches where they connect with the main branch.
  4. Work your way around the canopy, removing any damaged, diseased, or crossing branches. When removing crossed branches, choose the thinner of the two, and cut it at the base.
  5. Finally, focus on the overall shape of the tree. Trim as necessary to maintain the tree’s weeping look.

Pruning a Natural Weeping Cherry
  1. Make sure the tools are sanitized with rubbing alcohol.
  2. Trim the outer branches that touch the ground, and keep them 6 inches above the ground.
  3. Look for any damaged or broken branches, and cut them off. 
  4. Cut any crossed branches, choosing the thinner of the two to remove.
  5. Don’t cut any branches growing upright. They will eventually arch down and weep on a natural weeping cherry.
  6. Give the tree a final light trimming to maintain the desired shape.

Pruning Water Sprouts/Suckers

Suckers often grow on grafted weeping cherry trees on the part of the trunk closest to the ground. This is the part that doesn’t belong to the weeping cherry. Suckers consume a lot of resources and ruin the appeal of the tree.

Examine the graft knob and the base of the trunk to look for such growths. Remove them with sterilized shears or a blade.

Common Pruning Mistakes To Avoid

Pruning ornamental trees requires skill and knowing what you’re doing. Cutting off the wrong branch could ruin the tree’s shape. The same applies to weeping cherry trees. Here are a few mistakes to avoid.

  • Don’t cut upright growing branches on a natural weeping cherry. These branches will eventually bend down and weep. 
  • Don’t leave upright growing branches on grafted trees. They will not weep and can be damaged by the wind.
  • Don’t cut any main branches that are connected to the trunk. These are part of the structure of the tree, and removing them can ruin its weeping quality.
  • Use the right tools to cut thick branches. Scarring the trunk with small cuts opens the door for infections.

Related Questions: 

How Tall Do Weeping Cherry Trees Get?

The weeping cherry tree averages between 20 and 25 feet at maturity.

What Is the Lifespan of a Weeping Cherry Tree?

The weeping cherry has a lifespan of 30 to 50 years.


The weeping cherry has a fast growth rate, especially for the outer branches reaching the ground. Prune the tree once a year in the fall for grafted trees and either the fall or early spring for natural ones.

How to prune cherries

All fruit trees, including cherries, must be pruned in a timely manner. Knowledge about the timing and proper pruning of cherries is a very valuable tool in caring for this tree. Any owner wants the resources of the fruit trees growing in his garden to be used to the maximum. Proper pruning will allow you to get a generous harvest, make it easier to pick berries, and just give the tree a nice appearance.

Why prune cherries?

Pruning cherries and any other fruit tree is of paramount importance. The main reason for pruning cherries is to ensure that the tree is optimally shaped for sunlight to reach. Pruning improves the aeration of the tree, ensures the penetration of sunlight into the tree, facilitates harvesting and simplifies the fight against diseases. In other words, when pruning, the cherry acquires the correct shape. High quality berry crops ripen earlier and retain nutrients longer. Trees that are pruned incorrectly or have vertical branches are at risk of injury in a rich harvest. Such branches can simply break off.

When to prune cherries

The general rule for pruning fruit trees is that it should be done in the winter when the trees are dormant. Cherry pruning is an exception to this rule. Cherries are more prone to fungal and bacterial diseases, especially fresh wounds. Therefore, it is better to cut them in late summer. Keep in mind that summer pruning reduces the amount of nutrients a tree can provide for crop production and plant growth. At this time, it is mainly used only for thinning branches.

Winter pruning is a more aggressive pruning. If most of the tree is pruned during the dormant period, the tree's nutrient stores will remain unchanged. The critical value is the specific time of pruning the tree. To avoid severe injury to the tree, it should fall at the end of winter. Cherries (including weeping cherries) can be pruned as soon as the danger of winter frost has passed.

Early spring is the time for pruning young cherries. You can prune a young tree at the same time as the buds appear. But at the same time, you should make sure that the danger of cold temperature has passed, since young cherries are more sensitive to it than adults. Mature cherries can also be pruned in early spring or after fruiting.

How to prune cherries

Tools needed for pruning cherries: pruner, long-handled pruner, garden saw. The bypass pruner is better than the anvil pruner because it provides a clean cut. Pruning of each tree should be done with a disinfected tool. Disinfecting the tool every time before cutting another tree will prevent the possibility of transferring pathogens of various diseases from one plant to another. The blades of the tool are treated with a cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol. You can use a solution of any disinfectant with water. Then the instrument is rinsed with clean water and wiped with a dry cloth.

How to prune young cherries

When pruning, young cherries are given the shape of an “open vase”, which will allow access of light and air to all branches of the tree and thereby increase the number of flowers, and then the yield.

Side shoots from the trunk and any shoots from branches towards the tree trunk are cut first, as well as any weak branches. All these branches are useless for the crop and only absorb nutrients. In addition, pruning these branches improves air circulation. Also pruned are shoots extending from the branches of the frame branches, dead, diseased or damaged branches.

Top pruning is performed in autumn or winter and is the removal of part of the branch: from one third to half of its length. When performing this operation in the spring, buds are cut off - potential sources of fruit. Pruning the top of the leader is done during the first two years of the tree's life to encourage the growth of side branches to shape the tree. The tops are cut off in young trees, the height of which is significantly more than 80 cm. The leader is cut at an angle of 45 °, the rest of the tree should be 60-90 see

The following year, the creation of a frame ring begins - four side branches that follow outward and give the tree the required rigidity. To do this, 4 strong evenly spaced branches are determined, the remaining branches are cut off. Branches are selected that are at an angle of 45-60° with respect to the leader and spaced at least 25 cm vertically. In this case, the lower branch should be at a distance of about 45 cm from the ground. These 4 branches are cut to 60 cm. The cut is made at a distance of 0.5 cm above the kidney at an angle of 45 °. In this place, a new sprout will soon appear. The pruning of the remaining branches continues to give the tree the correct shape.

After another 1 year, a second frame ring is created. The tree will be taller, so the second set of four branches is chosen 60cm taller than the first. Branches are selected that do not fall onto the frame branches of the first frame ring. Further trimming work is similar to those that were performed when forming the first ring.

Mature cherry pruning

Once a tree is three years old, it is time to help it grow outward by cutting new vertical branches. This will require a pruner or garden saw. The instrument must be cleaned and disinfected before use. Any intersecting, dead and diseased shoots are cut off. Remove root shoots at the base of the tree.

Cherries are susceptible to various diseases, so all branches left after pruning must be destroyed. To protect the tree, the cut point is covered with a special putty.

Thus, when pruning cherries, the main goal should always be kept in mind. It is necessary to create a well-balanced and open tree that is aesthetically pleasing. Before you start pruning, you should carefully look at the tree and imagine how it will look in the fall when the leaves fall. After that, branches that are very close to each other are cut off.


How to grow a weeping willow?

Ornamental plant nursery

Growing a weeping willow is not easy, but interesting. What is needed for this?

  1. Cuttings for planting should be cut in early spring, in May, when they are already covered with leaves. Take lignified cuttings with a diameter of 0. 5 to 2 cm and a length of 25-50 cm from the lower or middle part of the shoot. Cuttings should be planted vertically, immersing them almost completely in the ground. The longer the underground part, the more powerful the root system is formed. Rooting takes about a month. If you planted a weeping willow in your first place temporarily, then transplanting to a permanent place should be done next spring, when the soil thaws after the cold, or in the fall. It is better to plant several cuttings at once in order to know for sure if you will succeed. You can try to plant a willow both in a temporary place and in a permanent one, and then, when the time comes, leave the plant that is stronger and stronger.
  2. It is worth considering that willow is a very photophilous tree. The crown of a weeping willow can occupy a whole hundred square meters of land. Therefore, if you want to plant a tree immediately in a permanent place, the willow should be planted in a well-lit area away from tall houses and various spreading trees so that the tree is spacious and comfortable.
  3. Willows do not like moisture . If you plant your tree in too wet soil, then its root system will slow down development, which, of course, will affect the above-ground part of the willow.
  4. What soil willow needs? Willows prefer light to medium loam with low to neutral acidity. It is also advisable not to plant willows on dry, sandy soils.
  5. Willow is a very practical plant, since it is not worth watering too often, and it is not necessary. This tree, as a rule, has enough natural precipitation. True, and here you need to be careful, because in too dry weather, the weeping willow still requires watering. Willows should be watered approximately 7 times every 10 days. When watering, you also need to irrigate the crown of the tree, using special sprayers.
  6. The tree needs to be fed . As an additional plant nutrition, rotted organic matter can be used and applied to the soil by digging the near-stem soil to a depth of 10-15 cm. A bucket of organic fertilizer and an additional 30-50 g of complete mineral fertilizer are applied to each weeping willow bush. It is better to carry out such top dressing in spring or autumn. At first, the willow's need for mineral fertilizers is small, but with age it increases.
  7. The first 3-4 years after planting, the willow can be left alone, but then you should pay attention to the crown. It is important that it is formed correctly and has a beautiful appearance. If crown formation is not given due attention, then it will not be dense, as a result of which it will not look very good.
  8. How to properly prune weeping willow crown? When your tree reaches 80-90 cm in height, you can start trimming its shoots. The formation of the crown is reduced to pruning all shoots by 20-30 cm. Pruning should be done in the spring. If your weeping willow is growing too fast, then you can prune twice a year - also in the summer. If you do everything right and trim the shoots, as mentioned above, then your tree will not only have the correct dense crown, but also a wonderful, attractive look.

Dear friends! The Kaktusenok team wishes you good luck! May your willows grow big and beautiful!

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