We have an ornamental weeping cherry tree that we'd like to remove -- we wanted a bigger tree.

But first, we were wondering if we were to just top it (cut the tree below the graft), if we could end up with a viable (and bigger) cherry tree. Maybe even fruiting.

The tree is about 13 years old. The height is about 6 feet, trunk is 5 inches in diameter. It might be a dwarf? (I'll add a picture soon.)

What is our best path for success, and what kind of tree could we expect from the rootstock? Should I wait for Washington's Birthday before taking an axe to it?

We're in California Bay Area .. it is just starting to drop its leaves.

Edit: The graft is at the very top of the trunk.

1 Answer 1


No can do, sorry. The trunk is called 'root stock' and it isn't the same as the grafted canopy. The canopy is actually a prostrate form of the cherry tree. It would grow flat on the ground if it had been left alone at the nursery. They select for the prostrate form to create lots of different kinds of 'weeping' trees. When young the prostrate form is grafted to the root stock to give it some height. It will never get any higher. To cut that canopy off would cause a bunch of sprouts of the root stock to grow, mostly at the base of the trunk. You'd get a Dr. Seuss looking bush and stick thingy or it would just die.

Check around for a company who specialize in mature trees and shrubs. They can dig your cherry up for you roots and all then they will resell it for THOUSANDS of dollars. I used to use a place called 'Big Trees' to purchase huge Rhododendrons and beautiful specimen trees for people that could afford to pay the bucks and have instant mature landscapes. $10,000 bucks is a normal price for one tree.

Designing landscapes usually means tearing out entire landscapes before installing the new design. We'd call Big Trees and they'd come out with a huge tree diggerupper and leave a good sized hole. Most of the time we'd also prepare the tree a year earlier by trenching a circle around the tree leaving a proper sized root ball forcing the tree to adapt to fewer roots and grow feeder roots within the new root ball. This helped to reduce stress and increase the survival rate. It also reduced our payment to Big Trees. Then they turn around and sell it...for lots of money. Chopping down gorgeous trees and shrubs is tough to do anyway but tougher when you know the true value of a mature tree.

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