Pruning Cherry Trees

My cherry trees have just given us our first fruits since being planted. I have finished picking and need to prune the tree (or so I am told). As I don't have any experience in pruning and wouldn't know a leader from a politician, can someone help me out with a layman's guide to what I need to do!!
merry Christmas all.
--
Don From Down Under



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Hi Don. I was taught not to prune until the trees were dormant. That means in the winter. Since we are having winter here, you are having summer down there. I would wait until they are dormant. I was taught that if you prune them before they are dormant, diseases and insects will have a way to get in the tree.
Next, I wouldn't prune them too hard if they are that young. I would take out any dead wood on the tree, any limbs that are growing toward the ground, any limbs that are growing toward the center of the tree, and any limbs, that if left alone, would soon be rubbing against another branch that will be more important to you later.
Within the next few years, you will need to look at the tree and see how it is shaped. Then you will have to decide how you want it to look in 10 years. As you prune it, shape it the way you want it to be. You prune above a bud pointed in the direction you want the tree to grow.
I have an apple tree that started out with 5 main center branches. You aren't supposed to take out more than 1/3 of the tree at any one pruning, so I took off the two smallest unwanted leaders. Then I put a brace on the one I had selected for my best leader, to make it pull toward the center of the tree. Within the next 2 or 3 years, I will have that branch the center of the tree, the other 4 leaders will be gone, and it will be shaped like a tree, not a funnel.
Have fun. Dwayne

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Dwayne wrote:

Dwayne:
I think a more important reason for not pruning unless the tree is dormant, as otherwise you are stimulating the tree to put out additional growth where you
don't wnat it (like suckers).

I believe that should be in any one season.
Otherwise I agree with most of what you say.
If the original poster wants more detailed information, there is a slew of stuff on the internet. Just google or search on 'pruning fruit trees', and lot's of references should pop up.
Sherwin D.

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Guys
thanks for your input. The normal matters relating to pruning fruit trees (such as when dormant), don't seem to apply to cherry trees from most of the sites I have read on cherries due to some sort of winter disease/virus. Hence my confusion.
regards Don

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Hi Don,
I did further checking on the web myself and it seems that many sites are giving different times of pruning for cherries than say apples. There is some concern for a disease called Silver Leaf, but that may be more for decorative cherry trees. In any case, several sites recommend to prune the cherry tree in August, so the pruning cuts will heal better. Apple trees, on the other hand are done in late Winter, while the trees are still dormant. I guess the healing issue is more important than the issue of encouraging suckers. Again, there is plenty of material out there on the web for 'pruning cherry trees'.
Sherwin D.
Don wrote:

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