Cherry tree pruning tips and guide

Chips and crop sheets showing how to grow different species and from time to time we have to set up our garden . For this, pruning is the main action to get our trees healthy, and of course, in fruit trees it is very important in order to produce great fruits. We are going to discuss the main steps to keep our cherry tree in perfect condition through pruning.


No, we cannot go and cut everything we want, believing ourselves to be Dalí himself, brushing his canvas. We need to know, at least, every part of the cherry tree, to know if it is important or not, or if it can mean reducing even cherry production. Take it easy, it’s very simple:

Basically, when pruning the cherry we will find 4 different parts :


We are going to find them in the cherry tree and they are going to produce both wood buds and flower buds, so we cannot cut down just like that.


In this case, these branches contain only wood buds , so they are responsible for forming the structure or skeleton of the tree, and in no case will flowers appear from them.


This interesting part of the tree in cherry tree pruning is known as chiffon. They are twigs of less than 20 centimeters that house flower buds and at the end or at the end a wooden bud.


They are branches even shorter than the chiffon and have a wooden bud at the apex and are surrounded by up to 8 flower buds. They form the “machinery” of our cherry tree because, despite their size, they are in charge of producing and producing our future cherries.

May bouquets

These May bouquets appear on branches over 2 years old and are usually distributed throughout the tree.


A guideline that we practically have to follow with all trees is not to prune in the middle of the winter season . We can do it before or just after (providing that there are no strong frosts). The wounds do not heal well when the tree is in winter standstill and this happens in the case of the cherry tree. If we do, it may be that either nothing happens given the vigor of our tree (congratulations, if so 😉) or that we begin to see rubber exudations and possible rots.

So… when to prune our cherry tree? Well, when our fruit is vegetatively active. If we do this, as there is more movement of reserves, the wounds will heal more quickly . For this there are two periods according to the pruning we carry out:

Formation pruning: the trimmings that are made once we come out of winter and possible frosts, in March .

Production pruning: once we have collected our cherries we have to intervene in the tree to ensure future production . The best time is early autumn, where the cold begins to arrive but we still see winter far away. We renew all the “tired” and old branches and improve the ventilation and entry of light in the entire crown of our tree.

And now the time has come to explain a little what each of them consists of.



One of the most used training prunings and with the best results in cherry cultivation is the pyramid or spindle pruning. Basically it is the main trunk and between 10 and 15 or 20 secondary or lateral branches that come out of it. For this we are going to distribute them over several floors, normally between 3 and 4. From each floor we can allow between 4 and 5 secondary branches to come out. For example, imagine that we have 4 floors and 3 branches per floor. We would have (4 × 3) 12 secondary branches that come out of our main stem.

Another important thing is to see the distance between “floors.” If we are going to leave 4 floors, the normal thing is that there is a separation between them of 80 cm. Think that a total height of 3 meters is more than enough and greater lengths will complicate the collection.

All this operation of defining the branches and floors in cherry tree pruning can take between 3 and 4 years. A tip when choosing these secondary branches is that they have an ascending growth, more or less than 50 or 60º. We can help them when it comes to defining the structure when pruning the cherry tree using wires, wooden supports, etc.

Step by step forming our cherry tree in the shape of a pyramid


If we want to form the skeleton of our cherry tree from this practice we have two options. One of them is the regular glass formation pruning  and the other is the reduced glass formation pruning. They basically differ in the height at which the trunk is pointed. For example, in the previous case, with the pyramid-shaped one, we have seen how, from a young cherry tree, we cut out from 80 cm and defined the secondary branches through different floors. Then, the following year we left another 80 cm and re-formed new floors (with a separation of 70-80 cm).


With this cherry tree pruning technique we are going to have a cherry tree of small size and large production, so it is adapted to large areas of cherry trees with high planting density. We have a very short trunk (25-20 cm) on which we allow to grow between 10 and 20 secondary branches that we allow to grow to a greater length than with the rest of pruning, at 1.5 meters.

Cherry pruning in a reduced glass

In this pruning of the cherry in a reduced glass, as we can see in the previous image, the following procedure has been followed . We start from a main branch that we stand out at 25 cm  and we let the lateral or secondary branches grow. Once grown (more than half a meter), we grow back to 25 cm , which is why we cause tertiary branches to emerge from those secondary ones.

If our cherry tree is of a vigorous variety we can make more blunting, following the 25 cm rule.


In this case we are going to give our main trunk a little more size. We cut the main stem from 50-60 cm and let the secondary branches grow. We leave very short (10 cm) those branches of the cherry tree that come out very closed and we are left with the rule of the 60º angle, as we have said previously. We will let the latter grow to 50-60 cm and we will cut them off , trying to keep all these secondary branches at the same height.

Pruning the regular glass cherry


We assume that several years have already passed, between 3 and 4 depending on the variety, in which we have formed our cherry tree with this pruning. Now is the time to keep our fruit trees in good health.

Our cherry tree will continue to grow and we must act by pointing those excessively tall branches. In addition, the trunk or main branch will also grow so we will also stand out.

From here we will see how a dreaded sucker appears from the main branch, which we will eliminate. Secondary branches that are too long will also emerge, as well as the tertiary ones that cross or are diseased.

An advice. To increase the thickness of the cherries when the production is large but the fruits come out with a very small size, we can eliminate lateral branches that contain flower buds. With this we will reduce production but increase the caliber of the existing ones.

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