Tips on How to Prune Cherry Trees in Summer

By: albertaarb - August 7, 2013

If you have a cherry tree, you know how beautiful it can be to spectators and how difficult it can be to ensure that dead limbs are taken care of.  Cherry trees are particularly finicky plants, especially those that grow on the Alberta plain with colder weather and less rainfall.  It is not recommended that you prune cherry trees (or any other tree) in the winter time, since the bare wood may not survive a deep frost.

Get the Right Equipment

The first step in a pruning job is the same as any other outdoor maintenance: make sure you have the right tools for the job.  In order to keep the pruned limbs healthy, you will need rubbing alcohol to kill the germs and a pruning paste to help the healing process.  Get a good pair of shears (at least one and a half feet in length), a ladder, and a pair of shoes and gloves that will be comfortable for prolonged outdoor work. 

Identify the Dead Limbs

The main purpose of pruning is to eliminate the dead or dying limbs of a tree that have the potential to infect the entire plant.  Identifying the dead limbs is easy: any that do not bud in the springtime and blossom in the summertime are dead and should be removed.  Pull out any remaining dead leaves or dead fruit from the branches as well, so that insects or other pests do not take up residence. 

Chopping Away

Clean your pruning shears with disinfectant, making sure that there are no patches of dirt or detritus that could get beneath the bark.  Cut into the branches at an angle, about a third of a centimeter above any buds.  When you trim a cherry tree, you want it to maintain that vase-like shape, so eliminate any branches that stick out below the main limbs or fork off at odd angles.  Seal any open wood with the pruning paste so that germs, insects, fungi, and bacteria cannot penetrate the wood. 


Remove any seedlings that happen to grow at the base of the tree; any that you want to keep should be transported at least twenty feet away from the tree in order to ensure that both get enough resources.  You can mulch the old limbs and branches if you have a wood chipper; the mulch will be more helpful for a garden to grow than a plastic covering since it retains heat better and provides more organic material for new plants to grow up with.

Whenever you need help with any trees on your property, Alberta Arborists offers help with maintenance, care, removal, pruning, trimming, and planting.

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