Cherry Tree

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Author Message

Mary Chan

Hi Linda! Your new book sounds great!

I was wondering though, I have this cherry tree in my front yard and this year it looks a little worse for wear. What should I be doing in the off season to make sure it's healthy enough to bear fruit next year? It's got some moss on a few branches and those branches look dead. Should they be cut off now? What about the moss? And finally, will hand pollinating help to bear fruit in the spring? Or is that only specific to apple trees?

Thank you so much!
Mary in Victoria

Wednesday 17 August 2011 09:24:11 am

Linda Gilkeson

Hi Mary,
Do you know what variety of cherry it is? Some are self-fertile and some need a different variety of cherry nearby to cross-pollinate the flowers. To answer the last question first, if you have the patience to hand pollinate the flowers you really increase your chance of a crop because it is often too cool or rainy for bees to get the job done when the flowers are open.
Dead branches can be taken out any time unless they are caused by bacterial canker (very common on cherries). The cankers look like gummy, weeping sores on the trunk. If this is the case, either prune out the branches right now in dry weather or wait until mid-winter to do it. The bacteria that cause the disease multiply and spread in the spring and fall in wet weather.
As for caring for the tree generally: slow, steady growth is best for all fruit trees--so don't over-fertilize with nitrogen-rich amendments. A thick mulch to keep down weeds is great and will help feed the tree as it breaks down.
If it is a really big tree, as many are in Victoria backyards, you might want to get help with pruning.

Thursday 18 August 2011 08:26:03 am