Pruning Weeping Cherry
Tips On Pruning Weeping Cherry
Pruning weeping cherry is the final stage of the age-old art of attaching one plant to another, creating a third entirely new plant and is called grafting. Grafting typically takes place because the desired plant is difficult in some way to propagate through normal channels. Other plants-either more manageable, more disease resistance or having better form are grafted in to create a better plant as well as effect.
In the case of the weeping cherry tree the new tree is grated high on the rootstock in order for the weeping effect to be created. This is important as the weeping cherry has become popular in recent years. With grace and perfect form they add a dramatic accent to any lawn. They do need to be pruned every year in order to keep its symmetrical beauty.
Before you begin to trim your weeping cherry tree, take careful note of whether it is a natural weeping cherry or one that has been grafted. It will be important information as to how you will trim the tree. A grafted tree will have a graft knot typically found just below the crown and several feet from the ground.
Pruning weeping cherry for a grafted tree is different from those that have been left in their natural state. One of the most popular trees grafted high on the trunk is the Weeping Cherry. In its case the rootstock (possibly just a good stock of a traditional cherry tree) seedling is grown to a height of about five feet, and then the weeping variety is grafted on in the hopes of creating an umbrella effect.
Because the graft union is so far off the ground it is important to prune anything that grows from the roots to just below that graft knot. Once that is completed, prune back the tips of the weeping branches that have reached the ground to about 6-12 inches above the ground. Be sure to take out any damaged, diseased or crossed and/or rubbing branches.
It is possible there is what is called a snarl at the top of your tree that has resulted in rubbing branches that will need to be thinned out or pruning. Weeping cherry grafted trees need all branches growing straight up removed as these will never weep.
Many new weeping cherry tree owners do not realize that if these straight branches are not taken care of early on they will end up with an unsightly two inches in diameter branch growing through the canopy of the tree ruining the effect.
Prune weeping cherry new-growth branches that have begun growing from the trunk at ground level any time you see one. These are called water sprouts (suckers) and will drain the water as well as the nutrients of the tree, robbing the leaves of their health. These suckers are the original rootstock's effort to reproduce.
The best time for pruning weeping cherry foliage and/or branches is later in the summer or in the early fall. At this time the tree has completed growth for the season.