pruning cherry trees

I just planted a Stella and a Tartarian sweet cherry trees in my yard. The trees are about 7 feet tall and are supposed to be dwarf or semi dwarf. I bought the trees on sale about $7.00 at a Big Box Store. They do not appear to have been pruned properly, branches are very upright and competing with the leader and the lowest branch is about 4 feet from the soil. According to the pruning book I have these trees should develop scaffold branches about 24 to 30 inches from the soil, is there a way to force these trees to develop lower more horizontal branches and "start over"?
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The only way I know of is if the tree is very young, to leave two or three smaller ones on, and cut the rest off. I would wait until it was dormant though. Another rule I was taught was, if the trees are older to only cut off 1/3 of a tree per year.
Mine didn't scaffold either. I pruned them just above a bud pointing outward, to point the growth the directions I wanted it to go. It worked, but they start going up again. I will do it each time I prune and see what happens. My pear trees are worse.
Dwayne

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woodwrkrz wrote:

I don't think I would prune it so hard that it sends out branches lower on the trunk. that would be pretty harsh pruning and it might not work anyway. I would work with the branches they have, even if they are higher up than ideal. Trees are almost never pruned properly before you buy them. Trees with nice horizontal scaffold branches would be a nightmare to ship and there would be broken branches. This is one good reason to buy trees in smaller sizes. Anyone who understands pruning can end up with a better tree if they start with a small tree. Your trees probably have far more branches than they will need once they grow bigger. Try to decide, now, which branches the tree will need. Start pruning back the others. If the tree is young enough to be pliable, you might be able to bend some of the branches down closer to horizontal without breaking them. Some books recommend hanging weights on the branches to pull them down. I've had bad experiences with wind getting things moving too much and having the weights break the branch. I find using twine, tied to a spot low on the trunk, then up to a branch you want to hold down, much safer. Good luck.
Steve
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You probably have the genetic dwarf variety of Stella, and I have never heard of Tartarian. If the Tartarian is a grafted tree, you definitely do not want any branches growing out of the rootstock, or lower portion of the tree below the graft. This is true for any grafted fruit tree. Usually a graft is not any higher than the 24 inch height you specified, but be aware of the root stock height for grafted trees.
Some people jam braces between the branches to force them to scaffold.
Sherwin D.
woodwrkrz wrote:

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I tried tying the branches in a way that would make them grow outward, but I broke several off before I quit. I guess I got carried away.
Dwayne

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