j3707
Green Thumb
Posts: 306
Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 2:11 am
Location: Pacific Northwest, Zone 8, 48" annual rainfall, dry summers.

little lapin, big ol' leader

My dwarf cherry recently had a canker infestation on its only branch, had to chop it off. Looked funny with only one big branch anyway. Now the tree is putting on most of the its new growth in a big ol' leader...this has me a bit concerned.

I would like several fruit bearing branches lower down on the tree, which means I want that cluster of twigs below the leader to branch out. Can I force this by cutting back the leader, or will they grow out on their own?

[img]https://farm6.static.flickr.com/5319/5910741979_124b058d61.jpg[/img]

JONA878
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1014
Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2009 6:14 am
Location: SUSSEX

I think that you will have to cut back the leader to promote those twigs into growth J3703.

It looks a nice tree with a strong leader and would just reach for the sky if left alone.

You may also have to just tip the little shoots that it has lower down ...if there are any...at the same time so that the tree is encouraged to grow at those points as well.

If the leader breaks into two shoots ( which is the norm ) next year remove the stronger one so that tree is persuaded to put more of its efforts into the lower structures.

Good luck.

:?
An apple a day.....keeps me in work.

User avatar
soil
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1855
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 1:40 am
Location: N. California

do you want a giant tree? if so leave it.

if you want a managable smaller tree. top it in winter. the buds below the cut will shoot out.
For all things come from earth, and all things end by becoming earth.

JONA878
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1014
Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2009 6:14 am
Location: SUSSEX

I would add to that ...if you make the cut in the winter months then be sure to paint with a fungacide paint straight away.
All normal pruning on plums and cherries is best done in the late summer months when there is still a good sap run happening.
This helps to keep Silver Leaf and Bacterial Canker spores from infecting the tree as the oozing sap gives the tree some protection.
:?
An apple a day.....keeps me in work.

j3707
Green Thumb
Posts: 306
Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 2:11 am
Location: Pacific Northwest, Zone 8, 48" annual rainfall, dry summers.

I don't want a big tree! I want a big cherry shrub 8)

I want to be sure I understand...when you say cut back the leader, do you mean cut it all the way back to the cluster of twigs beneath it?
Avoid predictable disaster caused by unpredictable events, keep yourself open to positive outcomes from improbable events. -Aaron C. Brown

JONA878
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1014
Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2009 6:14 am
Location: SUSSEX

No J.
Just cut six or so inches off the leader. That should be enouth to encourage the shoots to get going.
What will be important over the next couple of years will be to keep the leader at a weaker state.
The leader will re-shoot and often the top couple of buds will grow away. At the end of each season remove the stronger of these shoots so that the leader is kept as weak as possable until the framework branches down lower have been established.
:?
An apple a day.....keeps me in work.

j3707
Green Thumb
Posts: 306
Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 2:11 am
Location: Pacific Northwest, Zone 8, 48" annual rainfall, dry summers.

OK - If I prune the leader now, is it likely the lower twigs will start growing out this season?
Avoid predictable disaster caused by unpredictable events, keep yourself open to positive outcomes from improbable events. -Aaron C. Brown

JONA878
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1014
Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2009 6:14 am
Location: SUSSEX

They should start to break J. but the main burst of growth will be next spring now.
An apple a day.....keeps me in work.

Return to “FRUIT FORUM”