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enter image description hereI planted two sweet cherry bare roots on 15 April. It’s now almost 5 months and the plants seem to have grown well. One plant has 3 stems while the other has 5. I was keen to know when and how I should prune them.

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  • In a word, everything below the fork goes. For most trees, anything below 3-4' goes, if only to be able to mow or garden below. Prune also for balance (the right branch is too long), for 2 too close together, for crossing branches, or too vertical other than the lead (cherry has no leader). Commented Sep 10, 2023 at 0:29

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Pruning should be done when the plant is dormant, so during winter or late summer.

Remove the entire unwanted branch to where it connects to the trunk.

When to Prune a Cherry Tree

The rule of thumb when pruning fruit trees is to do so when the tree is dormant during the winter. However, cutting back sweet cherries is an exception to this rule. Sweet cherries are more susceptible to fungal and bacterial diseases, especially on recently cut limbs, so it is best to prune them in the late summer. Keep in mind that summer pruning reduces the tree’s energy for fruit production as well as its growth, so this should be minimal using only thinning cuts. Thinning cuts are those which remove an entire shoot, branch, or limb up to the point of its origin and do an excellent job of opening up the canopy.

Dormant pruning is a more aggressive pruning. When a large portion of the tree is removed during the dormant season, the energy reserves of the tree remain unchanged. The timing of dormant season pruning is critical, and should begin as late in the winter as feasible to avoid injuring the tree. Sour and weeping fruit trees may be pruned at this time once the risk of winter frost has passed.

Early spring is also prime time for pruning young cherry trees, shaping and training the young tree before it blossoms. Pruning should begin as buds emerge, but wait until all chance of extreme cold temperatures have passed to avoid possible cold injury, as younger trees are more susceptible to this. Mature cherries can be pruned in early spring too, or after they bear fruit.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Cherry Tree Pruning: How And When To Trim A Cherry Tree https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/fruits/cherry/cherry-tree-pruning.htm

-Disclaimer, I am not associated with the site.

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<quoting local gardening newspaper, I have about zero experience with trees>

  • Pruning is done at best after leaves fall*, next best is spring before leaves develop.
  • A healthy prune is supposed to leave exactly 3 branching stems at each intersection. They are supposed to be 45 degrees to vertical but I don't bite that - if there's lots of snow and rain - steeper; if it some tropical paradise and you need shadow to drink your beer under - lower.
  • It is widely advised to put <stuff> on the wound to prevent infections. I lack the experience to advise if that is indeed necessary. On a limb I would state it is not.

* - the newspaper claimed though in winter the above ground portion of the tree is dormant, the root system can change, accommodating what happened aboveground

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