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How to prune the sour cherry

How to prune the sour cherry

The sour cherry, known as tart cherry, dwarf cherry (Prunus cerasus L., 1753) is a fruit tree of the Rosaceae family, similar to the sweet cherry (Prunus avium (L.) L., 1755) but with a decidedly flavor more sour.

Plant –
Before moving on to the pruning technique it must be said that the sour cherry tree loves the sun. It must therefore be positioned in a well-sunny and ventilated area, avoiding strong winds and it would be better to avoid exposure to the north as well.
The sour cherry plants, in fact, must be made using large distances between the rows and between plant and plant as in order to grow and bear fruit well they must have a lot of air and a lot of light available.
In addition, this plant does not need much care and grows quickly. It easily adapts to different environments, tolerating hot and dry climates well as well as fairly harsh winters. It can therefore be grown in many areas.

Ordinary pruning –
The sour cherry plant is undemanding even in terms of agronomic treatments, therefore it requires a light pruning, which is carried out in the winter months, while requiring the use of phytoiatric treatments.
As far as pruning is concerned, it is not a particularly demanding technique. In the first years it has the function of giving the right shape to the foliage. The first year, in early spring, it is sufficient to prick the ends of the branches to favor their growth. In the second and third years, you need to eliminate all the twigs that grow inwards and leave only those facing outwards. In this way, a fan-shaped crown is created that allows the sun and air to reach all the branches. In the following years it is advisable to also eliminate the branches that point straight up, as they only produce leaves and take away nourishment from the branches that bear fruit.
Beyond these interventions, the plant must be pruned as little as possible, limiting itself to pruning it when it becomes too full.

Rejuvenation pruning –
Rejuvenation pruning, as a rule, takes place when there are plants that are no longer governed for some time or that have undergone questionable pruning in previous years or, at least, not consistent with the productive purpose.
These plants can be recovered to their productive function and offer the advantage, compared to the planting of young specimens, of being immediately productive.
The interventions that are carried out are called rejuvenation pruning even when they are not performed on old or senescent plants, but on relatively young plants that have been abandoned (or abused or poorly pruned) for a few years.
However, it should be remembered that drastic interventions are risky because excessive stress can lead to the deterioration and death of the plant or to the total loss of production. It is therefore necessary to plan to work on the plants for three or four years. The plant will continue to produce while its skeletal structure is restored which will make its care easier later on.
The goal is to give back to the plant the original training form, very often the vase one.
You start by eliminating any creepers that have covered the stem, such as ivy or honeysuckle, by detaching and cutting the shoots from the stem and taking care to also cut the trunk at the base.
Subsequently, all dry, broken, sick branches and those folded inwards are eliminated. These cuts provide for the complete suppression of the branch from its intersection with the branch from which they derive. Then all the suckers at the base are removed. If lichens are present they must not be scraped, because with the rubbing it favors the spread of their reproductive bodies. To eliminate them it is sufficient, at the end of the pruning operations, to proceed with a treatment with copper salts or brushing the trunk with a mixture of lime and ferrous sulphate.

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