Cherry tree no longer producing. Sad.

Asked December 3, 2015, 2:16 PM EST

Hi. A couple years ago, I pruned my cherry tree more than usual, and I noticed that it hasn't produced much fruit since then. In fact, I don't think it produced any fruit last summer. I'm curious if my pruning caused some sort of problem, and if so, what I can do to fix the problem. Thanks in advance.

Clackamas County Oregon pruning fruit trees cherry trees horticulture

1 Response

Why is your cherry not producing fruit after severe prune?

It could be that your pruning has had some effect on the tree but the more likely cause of an otherwise healthy but non-fruiting Cherry is frost. Cherries flower very early in the season and a badly timed frost can destroy their chances of fruiting. It may be that this happened last year.

As for the pruning, the rule of thumb with fruit trees is never take off more than a third per year.

Here's an extract from the Oregon State University publication Training and Pruning your Home Orchard.

"At planting, head nursery trees at the height you desire for scaffold branches.

Train sweet cherry trees to the open center system with three to five scaffold branches. Young sweet cherry trees often grow vertical limbs 6 to 8 feet without branching. You must head them to induce lateral branch formation.

Prune in summer to reduce the re-growth of vigorous trees. If a young tree is growing very rapidly, cut off a foot or more of new growth after about 3 feet of growth has been made in the summer. This will cause branching.

You can hasten production by tying down or weighting limbs to horizontal. To promote branching on trees not pruned in summer, head every shoot in winter to about 2 feet. After 5 or 6 years, stop heading and thin out crowded branches.

Mature trees require little pruning except as needed to reduce tree height."

Thanks for your interesting question.