We have an older cherry tree in the garden, it feels like the previous owner never cared about trimming it?

which branches should be cut ideally? when? what shape should the tree have?

my gut feeling:

  • the four thinner branches at the bottom should go? they prevent the main stem from growing?
  • the two bigger branches at the bottom maybe too? same reason? it just doesn‘t look tree-ish to me.
  • half of the branches or more in the middle part should go? there is not enough sun/air for the fruits otherwise.
  • everything above a certain height needs to go, best by cutting a bigger branch above a side branch?

and how can we prevent the suffering from those cuts?

i think there was an expert gardener here two years ago, but he just removed some small branches here and there, nothing bigger, so would not really be gappy to call him again.

location is germany if that matters.

here‘s a photo of the tree, for scale: the pole in the background is around 2 meters high, so the first "real" branches are around 1.8 meters. the first branches at the bottom, which i think need to be cut, maybe start at 0.5 meters. the whole tree is around 4-5 meters high, you can't really see it on the photo because there's a huge green hedge behind it. :)

enter image description here

1 Answer 1


An "open center" is common for bearing fruit trees; Then you don't have a tall main trunk that is inconvenient to harvest. Generally the lower the branches are, the easier to harvest. If you do not expect to pick fruit ,trim it or not , any style you want.

  • so you're saying there's no correct/preferred/recommended way to do that? aren't the think bottom branches going outwards bad for stability? i just don't get the tree vibe when i see this thing. :) we did harvest fruits this summer, but it was way more than we could bake or store and half of them, especially in the middle and on the north side, went yellow instead of red, that's why i think a lighter/thinner structure might help. but i'm not a real garden person, so don't want to damage the tree by cutting the wrong parts. Jul 10, 2020 at 19:10
  • "open center tree" helped me find some examples, so guess that is really a thing, although it looks weird, thank you! :) Jul 10, 2020 at 19:20
  • but still feel like the ones at the bottom (0.5 meters high) are wrong and will break easily? waiting for some feedback on that before i accept, but your answer really helped me already. Jul 10, 2020 at 19:22
  • Apical dominance is a bad thing in cherry trees, unless you want to rent a cherry picker to get 25 feet up, where all the cherries are. Feb 6, 2021 at 0:37

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