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Plan to prune your cherry trees every year during their dormant season. In Zone 6 and north, you should wait until late winter. A good reference book, such as Pruning Made Easy, can be invaluable for providing additional visuals and answering questions you may have during the pruning process. Pruning the current year’s old, faded flowers promotes flower buds for the following season.
For best results, prune your Flowering Cherry during the dormant period, and remove any dead, damaged or diseased branches. Cut your small branches with pruning. Katrina, the 'best' time for nearly all tree pruning is dormant season, late dormant season to be exact. But, the difference between the 'best' and 'worst' times is not huge. Don't get too stressed about that factor.
If one simply avoids pruning when A) The tree is making leaves, ie. Spring, or B) the tree is shedding its leaves, ie. Jan 20, Fruit trees are usually pruned during the winter, but this is an exception with cherry trees. The best time to do it is during the month of September.
If you leave the inward facing buds on the tree it will cause crowding towards the center of the tree which will limit air circulation and light penetration.
At this time, there is less danger that your cherry tree will suffer from a very common disease called gomosis. This disease occurs as a result of the cut produced during pruning. In Cape Charles, the streetscapes are comprised of the classic elements of the small-town, American neighborhood – the street, the sidewalk, and the front yard. Neighborhood streets in Cape Charles come in two types: 1) The standard streets with asphalt paving and concrete curbs and 2) Small grass strips divide the sidewalk from the curb.
Pruning a cherry tree other than sweet cherry or weeping cherry during its dormant period will not affect the energy reserves. Providing you take care to do your pruning as late in winter as possible, you will avoid damaging the tree. Young cherry trees, i.e. those under three years of age, benefit from early spring pruning. Prune the cherry tree during the dormant period to remove dead, damaged or diseased branches. Cut small branches less than 3/4 inch in diameter with pruning shears.