Cherry pruning technology in the fall: diagrams and instructions for beginners

Pruning cherries in the fall is a necessary and important procedure for preparing a tree for winter. It helps prevent plant diseases, boost immunity and promote abundant fruiting in the next season.

The main goals of autumn pruning

Thanks to pruning, a beautiful crown is formed, productivity increases, frosts are more easily tolerated, and the risk of developing diseases is reduced

Pruning is one of the most important cherry care activities. The main purpose of the procedure performed in the fall is to free the tree from old branches affected by diseases. Together with them, bacteria, spores of fungi and insects are removed, which excludes the possibility of wintering of pests, pathogenic microflora and plant damage in the next season.

Pruning also allows you to form the crown, prevent thickening. The tree freed from excess branches rejuvenates and, as a result, gives more fruits in the next season.

Only the seedlings of the first year of life do not need autumn pruning: their immunity is still undeveloped, and after the procedure, young trees risk not withstanding during severe frosts. In the future, branches are removed annually, since old, diseased branches will infect the tree and take away its strength.

Mature trees are pruned every 2-3 years, young trees - annually until the ideal crown is achieved.

Timing recommendations

When pruning cherries, keep the pruner sharp

The timing of pruning depends on the climatic conditions of the particular region. The main indicator is leaf fall, which indicates that the sap flow in the plant has ended, and cutting off the branches will not harm it. But it is important to be in time before the onset of frost. If the cut sites do not have time to drag out before winter, the tree will suffer. Recommended timing by region:

  • South - from the beginning to the last decade of November; The middle zone and the Moscow region - from the last decade of September to mid-October;
  • Leningrad Region - from early to mid-September;
  • Siberia and the Urals - from mid to late September.

The procedure is best timed to coincide with favorable days according to the lunar calendar 2019:

  • September: 1, 6, 7, 15, 16, 26, 27, 28;
  • October: 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 12, 13, 25, 29, 30, 31;
  • November: 4, 5, 9, 10, 25, 26, 27, 28.

Tools for work

Disinfect tools before pruning

Interested in how to properly prune cherries in the fall, do not forget that only high-quality sharp instruments are needed for the procedure. In order not to infect the tissue of the tree, they are pre-disinfected. Experienced gardeners are advised to prepare the following inventory:

  • secateurs for thin shoots;
  • garden saw or hacksaw for thick branches;
  • lopper for cutting off branches at a considerable height;
  • garden knife for grinding slices.

Pruning technique and rules: tips for beginners

It is convenient to cut branches that are at a considerable height with a lopper.

The tree is trimmed in two ways:

  • thinning - complete removal of a branch;
  • shortening - cutting off only the crown.

Each tree needs both pruning methods. General scheme of the procedure:

  1. First, the shoots growing down and inside the crown are removed.
  2. Then the thickening branches are cut off.
  3. Sick, dry and damaged branches are cut out last. This is important as infection from the instrument can spread to healthy parts of the plant.

It is better not to cut small shoots, they are left on the tree until spring. When the branch is completely removed, a stump about 5 cm high is left near the trunk.

Pruning is carried out exclusively in dry weather, otherwise there is a risk of developing infections. If, according to forecasts, frosts are outlined in the coming days, it is better to postpone the procedure until spring.

Features of pruning depending on the type of cherry

Cherry pruning: 1 - strong pruning; 2- pruning to a side branch; 3 - decimation

Thinning the crown of different types of cherries has its own characteristics:

  • Treelike varieties require annual shortening of annual shoots. This stimulates the growth of side branches and ramifications on which fruits are formed. Also, growths on the outer and inner surfaces of large branches are removed.
  • On bushy varieties, annual shoots are left unchanged: cutting them off can cause the entire branch to dry out. If the tree is prone to thickening, the branches are cut out at the trunk itself.
  • Felt cherries are thinned out every year, leaving 10-12 branches. Annual shoots are not touched, since fruits are formed on them. An exception is branches 50 cm long, they are shortened by a third.

Nuances for trees of different ages

All branches thickening the crown of the tree must be removed

The pruning technology depends not only on the type and type of wood, but also on its age:

  • In young tree-like ones, no more than 5 shoots are left. In bush plants - no more than 10. As the plants grow older, their number is brought to 15. Young specimens are rarely exposed to diseases and pests, so they do not need to remove damaged branches. When thinning, do not touch the branches that make up the skeletal base.
  • The main purpose of sanitary pruning of old trees is to remove all diseased and withered shoots. If left behind, the young branches will have no chance to develop. Rejuvenating pruning prolongs the life of the plant.
  • Fruiting trees lose their strength, and their branches become bare. In order to have more berries next season, a third of the main branches are cut off by a meter. Annual shoots are mostly left. Branches that interfere with each other, growing in the wrong direction, are also cut off.

Taking care of the tree after the procedure

Treating cuts after pruning will help prevent tree infections

After completing all the pruning activities, they rake and burn garbage from under the tree to prevent the spread of infection and pests. Then the novice gardener should carry out the following procedures:

  • processing cuts with garden varnish or other similar means;
  • feeding with phosphorus-potassium fertilizers combined with watering (before this, the near-trunk circle is dug into a half-bayonet of a shovel);
  • spraying with a solution of urea at a concentration of 5% after the first freezing for the prevention of diseases;
  • covering the trunk circle of young trees with straw in a snowless winter to protect the roots from freezing.

Long-term observations have confirmed that autumn pruning helps cherries survive severe frosts and increases their yield.

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Among the qualities that attract gardeners to cherries is early ripening. This culture grows rapidly and bears fruit. But such an advantage turns into a minus - cherries are losing productivity no less rapidly. This rapidly aging tree needs regular pruning - if you ignore it, the cherry dies ahead of time.

  • Crown formation. The plant should be symmetrical. Its crown is given the desired shape and thinned out to avoid thickening.
  • Regulation of productivity. Proper pruning significantly increases the productivity of cherries.
  • Removing old and damaged branches. Together with diseased and dry branches, they remove sources of infection and prevent its spread.
  • Improving the characteristics of the fruit. By removing the extra branches, it is possible to improve the taste of the fruits and increase their size.
  • Rejuvenation. A special pruning technique significantly extends the life and fruiting times of the plant.


Garden tools must be of high quality and safe to use. To carry out work on pruning trees, use:

  • secateurs, for removing branches up to 3 cm in diameter and young shoots
  • lopper, for working in hard-to-reach places and at the top of trees
  • a hacksaw or a garden saw, for cutting branches over 5 cm
  • stepladder, for working on high varieties of cherries.

Garden supplies must be kept clean after work, this will reduce the likelihood of transmission of the disease from an infected tree to a healthy one. Another important condition is that the tools must be sharp in order to cut the branches neatly and without chipping.

Working with gardening gloves will protect your hands from injury. It is advisable to use latex, tarp or leather gloves.

Cherry and sweet cherry care after autumn pruning

The sooner the wounds heal, the faster the tree will recover and successfully overwinter. This will help not only a sharp tool that leaves even cuts and thereby promotes rapid healing, but also special tools - garden varnish or putty. Apply them to large sections with a brush or toothbrush.

Then remove branches, leaves and other debris from the trunk circle and burn it. If you don't want to burn branches, you can make cute crafts out of them. Just do not put it in the compost so that other plants can avoid disease and pests.

Carefully dig up the soil to a depth of 15 cm, loosen it, and then water the plants abundantly (10 liters of water per 1 square meter for each year of the tree's life). To protect against pests and diseases, spray the soil with a 5% urea solution.

You do not need to cover adult plants for the winter. But if in your region winters are very cold, you can mulch the trunk circle with straw, and during the winter rake snow to the trunk. Cover young trees, especially cherries, with burlap or agrofibre for the winter. It is also important to protect the plants from rodents, so whitewash tree trunks or fence in a net.

Andrey Belyaev, a practicing gardener from Kursk, gives his recommendations regarding the autumn pruning of cherries, sweet cherries, plums, cherry plums and other stone fruits.

Stone fruits cannot be cut immediately "per ring". This can cause gum flow, the bark will not tighten the wound, but, on the contrary, will begin to move away from the wood. Over time, this skeletal branch will have to be pruned to the point where it was not pruned.

It is better not to prune live branches in autumn. In autumn, I advise you to remove only dry and diseased branches. In central Russia, most stone fruits are "guests" from the South. Therefore, our cold winters are extreme stress for them. Any pruning will weaken the trees, which is best avoided before cold weather.

Stone fruits do not suffer from crown thickening, they do not need a central conductor or other specialized crown shape. When pruning, we remove only conflicting branches and sharp forks.

Sweet cherry is a tall tree with powerful growth dynamics. If pruning is done in the spring, the tree will direct all its forces towards the formation of young growth, and the yield will be low. Therefore, it is best to prune the cherries after removing the berries.

After pruning in the fall, your garden will change dramatically. Trees will look well-groomed, the risk of pests and diseases will decrease. The next pruning will need to be done in the spring and its goal will be no less important: to form a crown and increase fertility.

We also recommend that you study the materials on autumn pruning of other fruit trees.

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