Weeping Cherry Tree Pruning 101: Expert Tips & Techniques

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Weeping Cherry Tree Pruning 101: Expert Tips & Techniques

Welcome to the world of Weeping Cherry Tree Pruning! These graceful beauties, known for their cascading blooms, add a touch of elegance to any landscape. In this guide, we’ll explore the essential art of pruning—a vital practice for ensuring these trees blossom beautifully.

Understanding how to trim these trees is crucial for their health and charm. From telling apart grafted and natural trees to mastering the delicate trimming process, join us on this journey to nurture and maintain the allure of your beloved weeping cherry tree.

Best Time To Prune a Weeping Cherry Tree

The best time to prune weeping cherry trees, whether they’re grafted or natural, is in late summer or early fall when they’re less active. Avoid pruning in winter or early spring, especially as these seasons up the odds of fungal infections that can harm the tree. Before starting the pruning session, ensure there are no blooming flowers or new leaves on the branches.

The Tools You’ll Need

  1. Pruning Shears: Perfect for precise cuts on smaller branches, these shears ensure clean trimming, treating your weeping cherry tree gently. Remember to sanitize them before and after each use for a healthy pruning session.
  2. Pruning Saws: When dealing with thicker branches, pruning saws are your go-to. Their robust blades tackle larger limbs efficiently. Keeping them sanitized helps prevent the spread of any potential infections between cuts.
  3. Gloves: Shield your hands from thorns and scratches with gloves. They offer protection and comfort throughout your pruning session. Keeping your gloves clean also ensures a hygienic experience.
  4. Ladder: For higher branches, a sturdy ladder is essential. It provides safe access to unreachable spots. Sanitize its steps and handles for safety and cleanliness before climbing.

How to Prune a Weeping Cherry Tree Step-by-Step

There is a difference in how you should prune Grafted and Natural (Ungrafted) weeping trees. To figure out if your weeping cherry tree is grafted or natural, just check near the top for a knot or scar, usually about a foot below the crown. Also, notice any differences in bark color and texture between the tree’s original part and the weeping variety added later.

Pruning a Grafted Weeping Cherry Tree

  1. Trim Ground-Touching Branches: Start by trimming back branches touching the ground, ensuring they’re at least about 5 – 6 inches (15 cm.) above the ground. This helps prevent winter damage and maintains the tree’s health.
  2. Remove Upward Growing Branches: Eliminate branches growing upwards, as they won’t fit the weeping style of the tree. These non-weeping branches need removal to retain the tree’s distinctive weeping appearance.
  3. Address Diseased and Crossing Branches: Prune out any diseased or crossing branches, especially those contributing to the tangled top “snarl.” This action thins out the top, reducing potential damage during storms.
  4. Assess and Shape the Crown: Step back and assess the tree’s shape. Trim the crown to achieve a pleasing and uniform appearance, ensuring the tree maintains its graceful weeping form

Pruning a Natural (Ungrafted) Weeping Cherry Tree

  1. Elevate Ground-Trailing Branches: Begin by raising branches that touch the ground, ensuring they’re at least 6 inches (15 cm.) above the ground level.
  2. Address Disease and Deadwood: Trim away any diseased or dead branches to maintain the tree’s health and vitality.
  3. Crossing Branches Management: Prune crossing or rubbing branches to prevent potential damage and maintain optimal growth patterns.
  4. Preserve Upward-Growing Branches: Keep upward-growing branches, because these will eventually arch down, maintaining the tree’s distinct weeping shape.
  5. Final Crown Shaping: Conclude by refining the crown shape, ensuring uniformity, and removing any stray branches, enhancing the overall appearance of your natural weeping cherry tree.

Common Pruning Mistakes To Avoid

  • Overpruning: Resist the urge to overdo it. Pruning too much can weaken the tree and affect its blossoming potential.
  • Wrong Timing: Pruning during winter or very early spring can leave the tree vulnerable to diseases and pests. Stick to the recommended late summer – early fall schedule.
  • Removing larger branches at the trunk: One common mistake is cutting large branches at the trunk. Like it or not, these branches will only grow back stronger.


Post-pruning care is also important, so here is a list of things you can do to help your Weeping Cherry Tree to bounce back fast and healthy from pruning:

  1. Cleanup: Remove pruned branches and debris from around the tree to prevent potential infections.
  2. Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch around the tree base, keeping the soil moist and protecting the roots.
  3. Feed and Water: Treat your tree to a gentle fertilizer dose and regular watering to support new growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

When to prune weeping cherry trees?

Prune grafted or natural weeping cherry trees in late summer or early fall when they’re dormant, avoiding winter or early spring. Aim for small branches and ensure no flowers or leaves adorn the tree when starting the pruning.

Can You Prune a Weeping Cherry in Winter?

Pruning Weeping Cherry trees in Winter makes them more susceptible to fungal infections. Prune these trees in late summer or early fall.

How much should I prune my weeping cherry tree?

Weeping Cherry trees do not like to be pruned very hard in one go. Never remove more than a fourth of the canopy at one time.

Should I prune dead branches from my weeping cherry tree?

When pruning your Weeping Cherry Tree, the most important thing is to remove dead or damaged branches. This way you can keep your tree healthy and make it focus its energy on healthy growth.