dead cherry tree branchOne of the primary problems faced by gardeners when growing cherry trees is that they do not understand how to prune a cherry tree properly.  Pruning cherry trees plays an important role in ensuring proper growth and fruit production. Before growing one, any gardener must fully understand how to prune a cherry tree properly.
Before understanding how to prune a cherry tree, it is important to know how cherry trees grow. Cherry trees are central leader trees.  This means that there is one main upright trunk, called the leader. All branches will sprout and grow out of this.
A properly pruned cherry tree should have a scaffold shape. This means that there are branches circling the tree, perpendicular to the leader, and there should be an area of about two feet between the levels to allow for light to reach the lower leaves and fruit.  Pruning cherry trees should be done in the late winter, encouraging the plant to grow more during the growing season.  The first level of branches should begin between twenty-four to thirty-six inches above the surface of the soil. The branches growing out of the central leader should be either weighted down or tied loosely to string to promote outward growth as opposed to vertical growth. cherry blossomThe outward growing branches will produce more fruit and grow less vigorously.  Pruning cherry trees during the summer will inhibit growth, and should be done once the desired size has been reached.  Pruning cherry trees too early in the winter may make the tree vulnerable to bacterial infections.