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Does pruning the tree slow root growth?

We have a cherry tree, and neighbours, which is only about 4 years old, adn I would say about 5 m high. Neighbours are worried that its roots might eventually damage supply/drainage pipes in front of the house, which are possibly about 6 6 -8 metres away.

Do I have to worry?

Can I keep the tree pruned to a height of about 4 metres in order to slow or stop root growth?

Many thanks.

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Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2009 2:14 am
Location: SUSSEX

Re: Does pruning the tree slow root growth?

Hi Spirelli...
You say that your tree is already at around 5m after just 4 years. That means that it is on a pretty strong root stock.
Yes, you can keep the tree down to around four metres but it will need a tight control kept on it.
Either in the early spring or in the late summer you will need to prune out any of the branches that have grown very strongly up through the tree, It is no good just cutting branches back as they will just grow all the stronger in the upright position.
Branches that are supple enough to bend will benefit a lot by tying down as far as you can. This slows the sap run and encourages fruit bud formation.

As regards the roots. From the strength your tree is showing already you will have a problem controlling their growth by top pruning.
However most fruit trees have relatively shallow root systems so every few years just dig a small trench in front of the area you are worried about and check for root runs.
A rough guide to root distance on fruit trees is that the roots normally extend to about the same distance from the trunk as the canopy above covers.

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