Pruning a Weeping Cherry Tree

Question:

I have a newly planted weeping cherry tree, last year. It is at least 3 years old. This year it has shoots growing on the bottom of the trunk. Do I keep them on it or do I cut them off. I know on tomato plants they use to call them suckers.

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Hardiness Zone: 6a

JILL from Shavertown, PA

Answer:

Jill,

These little "shoots" are called suckers on weeping cherry trees, too. You can cut them off or mow them down. Many people wonder whether or not they can transplant them and start new trees. Technically the answer is yes, but on grafted trees the suckers will be identical to the root stock, which is good and hardy, but doesn't exhibit the same desired qualities as the grated stock. On weeping cherry trees, it's best to remove all suckers and water spouts that occur below the graft union. They will actually grow vertically instead of having a weeping form and will ruin the visual look of the tree. As suckers reappear, simply cut them down. If they become a real problem, there are products available formulated especially to get rid of them. Trying to cut them away from the main root isn't advisable as the tree may react to being "cut back" by sending up twice as many shoots.

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Ellen

About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

July 15, 20060 found this helpful

CUT THEM OFF. THEY ARE SUCKERS AND WILL TAKE ENERGY FROM THE PLANT. THE BEST TIME TO PRUNE THE TREE IS AFTER IT BLOOMS. BUT TAKING THE SUCKERS OFF NOW IS FINE.

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August 30, 20060 found this helpful

I have what I think is a grafted weeping cherry tree, but I don't want the look of the one trunk then the weeping limbs on top. I would like to get it to look more natural with the tree part looking more like a real cherry tree, then as the limbs come out they begin to droop. Is this possible? Am I supposed to not prune at all to get this look?

Suzanne

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May 21, 20090 found this helpful

I believe little suzy is over reacting a bit. They are nothing more than suckers, cut them or leave them depending on the look you want. They are not harmful to the tree itself as long as you are caring properly for the tree and the soil around it. The best time to prune them is late summer or fall so the sap won't bleed as much which truly steals precious energy from the tree.

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