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Welcome to our Head Gardener’s Journal

In this monthly column, we will share technical aspects of our work and also keep you up to date about ongoing projects. If there is any topic you might want to hear more about, please ask during your next visit!

Shaping Japanese Cherries

It is generally recommended not to prune Japanese Cherries other than removing dead or diseased wood. However, we find that they benefit from lightening and lifting the crown to increase air circulation through the canopy which helps preventing diseases. There is also an aesthetic element as, in a small tree, slightly transparent crowns look more attractive than congested ones.

Japanese Cherries, like all stone fruit, should not be pruned in the winter, but in the summer instead. This reduces the risk of a fungal disease, silver leaf, which these trees are prone to.

Prunus ‘Snow Goose’ is a tall, columnar tree. However, as it matures, it can become slightly too wide, especially in a position close to the house. It may become necessary to remove individual branches.

Identification of branches which can be removed to decrease the width of the crown.
The branches are taken off with a clean pruning saw. The main branch structure is then exposed by removing wispy branches.

Two years ago, we planted a young Prunus ‘The Bride’ which has a more compact habit. The tree had grown so well that it had become quite congested already. It was time to lighten the crown and expose the branch framework. The process where the crown of the tree is made more transparent by removing wispy branches is called ‘inside-out pruning’. This technique is used to create transparency in Japanese acers as well.

Wispy branches are removed to lighten the crown.
Inside-out pruning increases the transparency of the tree.