In the spring of 2010 I planted a 4 foot sweet cherry whip in our orchard.  A whip is a tree with a straight trunk and no branches.  Unfortunately I didn’t have my pruners and said I would get it pruned back the next week.  As these things go, by the time I remembered it was too late.  The tree had leafed out and was growing.  During the summer of 2010 it continued to grow tall and got to almost 8 feet. It never developed a single branch and had just a little “tuft” of leaves at the very top part only.  It mostly resembled a skinny Dr Suess Palm tree more than anything else.  In our typical winds it whipped back and forth so much I just knew it would snap off.  I debated whether to risk summer pruning and maybe end all growth and  possibly killing  it or take my chances with the wind.  I decided to wait and it made it through the summer ok.  In early spring 2011 I chopped the trunk off at about 40″ above ground and waited to see what would happen.  The summer of 2011, it grew like a high school teenager, developing a new central leader and about 7 new branches where none were before.  These branches grew from 3 to 5 feet in the summer season.  The leaves were 6″-7″ long and beautiful.  It now looked like a tree on steroids.  While dormant this spring, I pruned the leader and the branches back about 18″ each.  The picture below shows after its final pruning this spring.  The moral of the story?     It’s never too late to prune a tree as long as it is dormant.

 

Close-up of pruned cherry

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