Felt Cherry Cutting Rules
Felt cherry is one of the few stone fruits that grows literally on its own. It doesn’t have industrial plantations, it doesn’t indulge in a grandiose crop, and it was called so because the leaves of felt cherry are not as rough as usual, but soft, like felt. Felt cherries often freeze and remain without a crop, its flowers die mainly due to spring return frosts, during which felted cherries bloom. But if there are no such frosts, then the cherry will delight the harvest, and although the fruits will be small and the seed in them is palpable, it is still pleasant and useful to eat them.
Today, let's talk about pruning felt cherries, because nobody or few people do this, or why the crown of cherries turns into a kind of ball - the center is exposed, the crop focuses on the periphery of the crown, and naturally, it is seriously reduced. To avoid this, we will give a series of useful tips.
- General features of pruning felt cherries
- We reveal the crown of felt cherry
- Get rid of vertical shoots
- Pruning very old felt cherry bushes
- When is it better to cut felt cherries?
- Pruning, depending on the crown of felt cherry
General features of pruning felt cherries
Although felt cherry and shrubbery, it can easily grow by one and a half or even two meters and will look more like a small tree, therefore, all types of pruning are applicable to it, as with ordinary cherry.
Our goal is to show just the rejuvenation of felt cherries, which will certainly lead to an improvement in the appearance of the tree, and to increase the yield, if everything is done correctly.
Usually the scheme is very clear: this is the removal of old branches, pruning of middle-aged branches by about a third, the removal of all old skeletal branches to the area where the buds or lateral shoots of the branch begin to grow.
If the felt cherry tree is very old and its center begins to dry out or has already dried up, then you can safely cut all the shoots that are located on the side branches, but with annual growths, be very careful, because these are the life forces of our future felt tree and it’s better not to touch.
If you got a site with heavily neglected felt cherry trees, then do not grab the saw and pruner to immediately, in one season, put the site in order, do it gradually. Bring about one third of the plants in proper condition in one season, otherwise the felt cherries may die from abundant pruning, that is, you will not do better, but harm the plants.
Braking the growth of felt cherries
As you know, felt cherry is already not too active in growth, but it is better to restrain it slightly so that the crown does not thicken too much and does not overgrow with unnecessary shoots. Every year, usually at the end of February or the beginning of March - the dates considered optimal for pruning felt cherries, you need to trim each shoot by about five centimeters and cover each cut with garden varnish or garden paint.
We reveal the crown of felt cherry
Although the crown of felt cherry can be called a crown with a stretch, nevertheless it is and, as a rule, it is pulled together, piled on one side. To change the growth direction of the shoots, usually from vertical to horizontal, you need to take a new and clean twine, a piece of wooden stick, as well as a hacksaw (in case the stick is too long). Next, it remains for us to fix the stick in the ground so as to bend with the help of the twine the branch we need in the right direction. This procedure can be carried out until about the second decade of the last summer month, but no later.
Please note: it is easy to bend and give different directions to the shoots of felt cherry if they are young, but the shoots of felt cherry, whose age has gone beyond three years, are usually very fragile and you need to be careful so as not to break them inadvertently. Before carrying out such an operation, the tree needs to be well watered by pouring a couple of buckets of water under it and wait an hour for the plant to be saturated with moisture. For this operation, it is better to choose a cloudy day and evening or morning time, so the risk of breaking a fragile and moisture-free branch will be minimal.
Sometimes a branch on a shrub is so unsuccessfully directed that it is easier to cut it into a ring than tormenting a plant and tormenting itself, but do not forget that all cuts, cuts, cuts, random wounds should always be covered with garden varnish or garden paint.
Get rid of vertical shoots
Pay attention to the vertical shoots - these are tops (felt felt cherries also have them). They are useless, pull nutrients on themselves and do not produce fruit. Such shoots can be cut into a ring or, leaving the heels of the strongest, try to bend, tying the twine to them and tying to a lower shoot.
Then bent at an angle close to 900 the branch may begin to bear fruit, and if it breaks during the bending process, then cut it into a ring. By the way, in the future, follow the constrictions, and use twine, not a wire, which very easily cuts into shoots. If you worry about your tree, put a piece of rubber between the twine and the shoots, which will protect the bark from injuries. This procedure is appropriate to carry out in March or early April, when the branches of felt cherry are as malleable as possible.
Pruning very old felt cherry bushes
Sometimes you may get a plot where the felt cherry trees are so old that it is not known how to approach them. Usually this is the age of the shrubs is much more than five years old, but if you do not want to uproot them, then you can help them.
First of all, remove all vertical shoots of felt cherry and skeletal branches by sawing on a ring; they have already outlived their own. The optimal time for this is from the end of March until the first of April.
The pruning of the tree, which still bears fruit, but is already considered quite old, has an overgrown crown, dry and incorrectly growing shoots, it is permissible to carry out exclusively in early spring - until the end of the first decade of May. You need to start by removing all shoots of felt cherry, which greatly thicken the crown, while leaving those branches that depart from the trunk at angles close to straight.
The next step is to cut out all the crooked shoots, which there are quite a few felt cherries. Such shoots are usually formed due to the thickened crown, when literally every branch fights for a ray of sunshine. The next stage is the removal of all competitor shoots: it is very simple to isolate pairs of competitor shoots - they grow in one direction.
It remains to shorten the central conductor of the felt cherry, making it so that it rises above the other branches to a height of 14-17 cm and no more.
What can not be touched at the same time is the annual shoots and shoots without lateral branches, but with live buds on them.
When is it better to cut felt cherries?
The optimal time for pruning felt cherries is the end of March – beginning of April, when serious negative temperatures are no longer expected, but this time may shift. The main thing is that pruning of felt cherries must be completely completed before the moment when flowering begins - this is very important.
Pruning felt cherries in summer, is it needed?
Many gardeners still argue about the need for summer pruning of felt cherries. Let us put an end to this issue - it is possible to cut felt cherries in the summer, but only in July and if there is an extreme need for this. Usually, summer pruning of felt cherries is carried out exclusively if the tree has broken shoots or if the shoots are affected by a particular disease. It is clear that such shoots after trimming should be taken out of the territory of the site and destroyed.
Sometimes, in especially warm and humid years, and even when the gardener went too far with nitrogen, a felt cherry can literally shoot young shoots. With a high degree of probability, they will not have time to mature by winter and will perish banally (freeze). In this case, you also need to carry out summer pruning.
Pruning, depending on the crown of felt cherry
Felt cherries can grow in the form of a real bush or in the form of a tree with a height of one and a half to two meters, less often - taller, so gardeners divide felt cherries into bush-type and tree-like plants, in this regard, slightly adjusting the pruning rules.
Pruning Felt Cherry
Such cherries are very actively growing their vegetative mass literally from the first season after planting in the garden, which (planting), by the way, should be carried out exclusively in the spring. To understand that the tree is already old and needs pruning, you can bare the shoots for beginners. Such shoots can be safely cut to one third, having performed this operation in late February or early March.
If there are too many growths of felt cherry and the cherry looks like a hedgehog, you need to cut the shoots not in one season, but in at least two or three, otherwise you will weaken the plant very much and it may even die.
At the end of such cutting, each year in early spring, be sure to thin the crown, removing all shoots that thicken it, or use a mold specially invented for bush felt cherries, which is called a “slender spindle”. Its essence lies in the fact that periodically it is necessary to remove shoots one or two years old, cutting out the prolific shoots.
Trimming Felted Cherry Trees
It can stretch both by one and a half, and by two meters, here it is important to reduce its growth by shortening all shoots by 20-25 centimeters in late February or early March. Such a shortening will actively stimulate the formation of bouquet twigs and create a compact and low crown.
Naturally, you need to remove all those shoots that managed to grow over the season and are directed to the center of the crown, creating an unnecessary ballast for the tree. Pay attention to dry shoots, they should also be removed.
All shoots, whose age and year are longer than the length of a simple pencil, can be safely cut to five centimeters.
Felt Crown Shaping
Even an old felt cherry tree can either return to its former crown shape or recreate it. And with young plants, the situation is simpler. In the initial six seasons, about seven shoots for a tree-like felt cherry and no more than a dozen and a half shoots for a bush-like need to be left on the tree. All skeletal branches of the second order should be shortened by half.
Naturally, you need to remove all those shoots that grow deep into the crown, which will further thicken this crown. Then it remains to shorten all annual growths to a length of half a meter, otherwise growth buds can be damaged.
Then we cut through the crown of the old felt cherry: cut out all the broken or damaged shoots, all shoots are thinner than a simple pencil and those that grow deep into the crown. Those shoots that will be exposed over time, having been fertilized, also need to be removed.
Conclusion Felt cherry, although a simple tree or bush, usually growing somewhere in the corner of the garden under protection from cold winter winds and where more snow accumulates, but also needs to be pruned. First, decide what exactly grows on your plot - a tree or all the same a bush, and then proceed to the pruning techniques that we talked about.