Does a Serviceberry Need a Leader?

Asked August 22, 2015, 7:04 PM EDT

Hello, I planted an Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry this spring. As you may be able to see in the attached photos, the upper part of the trunk is a bit curved. Also, I think the leader has split into two branches. Should I do anything to straighten the tree? What should I do about the leader situation? Thanks so much! Leah

Hennepin County Minnesota

1 Response

Hi Leah,

The curve in the trunk should not become a long term problem, but this tree could use some correctional pruning.

If there are two leaders you should cut the weaker one off. These branches are pliable enough that they should not need training (artificial splinting) to gradually grow straight.

It's too late in the year to do any pruning, but late winter, early spring before bud-break would be an ideal time.

Here is some good information about pruning young trees. Even though this is a North Carolina publication, all of the basic principle apply to our northern trees:
http://content.ces.ncsu.edu/training-and-pruning-fruit-trees-in-north-carolina.pdf

I hope this is helpful. Please contact AaE again if you have further questions.