Pruning cherries for containers

queensinfoMarch 12, 2013

What is the ideal way to prune these two cherry trees, which will remain in containers? They were planted last year as bare root whips One is lapins, the other is black gold I think. In the first picture all the branches grew in the same plane (all left and right at 180 degrees.

This post was edited by queenskitchen on Tue, Mar 12, 13 at 0:11

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Second pic

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 12:09AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

I've got about 6 in pots going on 5 years. The only reason to prune those now would be that you want more branches. Any pruning will delay bearing. Shape doesn't matter to me especially in a pot. They don't get big enough to have much issue with shading out the lower/inner spurs.

If they start to over bear, set too much fruit, in a few years then prune hard to reduce flower buds and renew fruiting wood.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 11:46AM
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Would more branching increase yield for a younger tree?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 10:06PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

More branches equals more yield. But heading to get those branches will slow down bearing. I know both statements seem to contradict each other. If you want max yield in 3rd leaf don't prune. If you want a more compact heavily branched tree then head back each shoot by 1/2 to 1/3.

Me I go for yield asap and don't prune early. Later on I can fill the tree out.

What is the rootstock?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 10:29PM
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you provided a lot of assistance in purchasing these (and other plants) last year. They are on gisela 5 Lapins and Black Gold.
Althought it doesn't look like it, the left branch on the left tree is almost vertical while the rest are more angled.
On that same left tree, there is a little nub of a branch that started growing late last year (approx 1 or inches long). Should i remove it or just leave it alone until next year (and then ask you

These are my first trees and i will probably get 2 more next year. i wanted to lear a little with these first.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 12:28PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Leave the short branches. The right thing to do in the long run is probably to cut a 1/3 off the long branches. If there is a shoot nearly upright I'd be even more inclined to head that back. Doing so should force more branches.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 6:40PM
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I've read that one way to promote branching, one that I am trying this year, is to remove some of the buds, especially those near the tips of the limbs and of the leader.

You want to leave the terminal bud - the one that will continue lengthening the limb and the leader, but remove the rest of the cluster at the end of the limb as that's where most of the energy goes.

Then remove buds down the limb, leaving buds where you want branches.

I can't find the particular article right now but will post a link later today.

The idea, as fruitnut said, is to promote branching without heading or pruning as that increases the time to fruiting.


    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 6:18AM
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Thanks. I'll be interested to see the article if you can find it. Since I only have 2 trees, I don't want to experiment too much.

If I was to trim a third off of each branch, what is the right time? End of this month before they really get going? Looks like the buds may be beginning to swell.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 10:30AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

If you are to prune do it now.

I've read the article about removing buds and tried it once. It didn't seem to change anything that I could tell. I'm not knocking the idea I just don't know so I usually take the easy way out which is to do nothing.

I know my posts on this subject are probably confusing. Cherries aren't the easiest tree to prune/train. They do their thing and thumb their nose. But, there is good news: on Gisela 5 they have always started to bear the 3rd leaf for me. A nice crop the 4th leaf.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 10:54AM
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Well, I spent the whole evening searching my hard drive, my bookmarks, and the Internet using every possible combination of keywords and couldn't find the one particular article I was thinking of.

The one linked below is OK, but the "lost" one was more specific.


Here is a link that might be useful: Debudding

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 3:54AM
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