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Help needed growing a cherry tree



 
 
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  #1  
Old 03-04-2017, 01:05 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Posts: 11
Default Help needed growing a cherry tree

3 years ago I bought a fruiting cherry tree along with an apple. The apple tree is coming along fantastically but the cherry refuses to grow any branches.

When it arrived it was shaped like Y and it has remained shaped like a Y. It gets buds, leave and even a few cherries. The two branches grow longer but the are no side branches growing.

Last year I tried trimming off every other bud to try and promote side branches but that didn't work. This year I cut the two branches down by about a third with the hope that the ends would grow new branches but it looks like it's just going to bud again. What if I had let the two branches grow long enough to bend down? Would it have branched at the bend?

I prune in early March because I have read they are susceptable to frost damage if pruned earlier.

It is on a vigorous rootstock in a sheltered but sunny space and I choose a variety that has no special soil type requirements.

One thing I remember is that when I planted it I could not tell where the soil line had been and guessed. I planted it with the rootball was a few inches below the soil line. I can see the graft is probably 4 inches above the soil line now. Could this be the cause?
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  #2  
Old 03-04-2017, 06:21 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Posts: 2,352
Default Help needed growing a cherry tree

On 03/04/2017 13:05, earthstick wrote:
3 years ago I bought a fruiting cherry tree along with an apple. The apple tree is coming along fantastically but the cherry refuses to grow any branches.

When it arrived it was shaped like Y and it has remained shaped like a Y. It gets buds, leave and even a few cherries. The two branches grow longer but the are no side branches growing.

Last year I tried trimming off every other bud to try and promote side branches but that didn't work. This year I cut the two branches down by about a third with the hope that the ends would grow new branches but it looks like it's just going to bud again. What if I had let the two branches grow long enough to bend down? Would it have branched at the bend?

I prune in early March because I have read they are susceptable to frost damage if pruned earlier.

It is on a vigorous rootstock in a sheltered but sunny space and I choose a variety that has no special soil type requirements.

One thing I remember is that when I planted it I could not tell where the soil line had been and guessed. I planted it with the rootball was a few inches below the soil line. I can see the graft is probably 4 inches above the soil line now. Could this be the cause?


The most likely reason is the variety, if its an upright grower then its
doing what its supposed to do, not sure why you would have to prune a
young tree? It only really becomes a problem planting too deep with
trees on dwarfing rootstocks as the more vigorous variety would take over.

Hopefully a more experienced fruit tree grower will pitch in!

--
Charlie Pridham
Gardening in Cornwall
www.roselandhouse.co.uk
  #3  
Old 03-04-2017, 07:55 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Posts: 1,682
Default Help needed growing a cherry tree

On 03/04/17 18:21, Charlie Pridham wrote:
On 03/04/2017 13:05, earthstick wrote:
3 years ago I bought a fruiting cherry tree along with an apple.
The apple tree is coming along fantastically but the cherry
refuses to grow any branches.

When it arrived it was shaped like Y and it has remained shaped
like a Y. It gets buds, leave and even a few cherries. The two
branches grow longer but the are no side branches growing.

Last year I tried trimming off every other bud to try and promote
side branches but that didn't work. This year I cut the two
branches down by about a third with the hope that the ends would
grow new branches but it looks like it's just going to bud again.
What if I had let the two branches grow long enough to bend down?
Would it have branched at the bend?

I prune in early March because I have read they are susceptable to
frost damage if pruned earlier.

It is on a vigorous rootstock in a sheltered but sunny space and I
choose a variety that has no special soil type requirements.

One thing I remember is that when I planted it I could not tell
where the soil line had been and guessed. I planted it with the
rootball was a few inches below the soil line. I can see the
graft is probably 4 inches above the soil line now. Could this be
the cause?


The most likely reason is the variety, if its an upright grower then
its doing what its supposed to do, not sure why you would have to
prune a young tree? It only really becomes a problem planting too
deep with trees on dwarfing rootstocks as the more vigorous variety
would take over.

Hopefully a more experienced fruit tree grower will pitch in!


Or even a less experienced one! Is it possible that the graft has
partially failed and the scion is suffering from lack of nutrients from
the root? The OP said that the scion was on a vigorous rootstock. It
doesn't look like that it is behaving like one.

--

Jeff
  #4  
Old 04-04-2017, 09:15 AM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Posts: 14
Default Help needed growing a cherry tree

On 03/04/2017 13:05, earthstick wrote:
3 years ago I bought a fruiting cherry tree along with an apple. The
apple tree is coming along fantastically but the cherry refuses to
grow any branches.


Do you know what variety of cherry you have bought? And what rooting
stock it is on? That will help determine the right advice.

When it arrived it was shaped like Y and it has remained shaped like
a Y. It gets buds, leave and even a few cherries. The two branches
grow longer but the are no side branches growing.

Last year I tried trimming off every other bud to try and promote
side branches but that didn't work. This year I cut the two branches
down by about a third with the hope that the ends would grow new
branches but it looks like it's just going to bud again. What if I
had let the two branches grow long enough to bend down? Would it
have branched at the bend?


If you aren't sure what to do then "If in doubt do nowt" is a very good
maxim. No point in pruning it until it is a bit too big for the space
(although taking off the ends of lead branches should be one way to make
it branch from the next two buds down the stem).

Bending the branches down a bit towards the horizontal is supposed to
help encourage fruiting rather than vegetative growth.

I prune in early March because I have read they are susceptable to
frost damage if pruned earlier.

It is on a vigorous rootstock in a sheltered but sunny space and I
choose a variety that has no special soil type requirements.


Are you sure about that? A sweet cherry on a vigourous rootstock will
continue growing until it is huge. Semivigorous limits them to 20m.

If the scion isn't doing well and then typically the rootstock responds
by throwing up lots of suckers and robbing the scion of vigour.

One thing I remember is that when I planted it I could not tell where
the soil line had been and guessed. I planted it with the rootball
was a few inches below the soil line. I can see the graft is
probably 4 inches above the soil line now. Could this be the cause?


If you got it wrong by more than a couple of inches it might slow down
the rootstock for a while but if it survives the shock of being buried
too deep then it will adjust its root depth within a year or too.

Is the tree properly staked against wind rock? That would be another
thing that might prevent it from growing away properly.

Are you sure it isn't a slow growing vertical habit cherry variety
intended for a small garden by being slender and vertical?

The classic ornamental cherry of this character being "Amanogowa" (lit
Milky Way) but in American English "Flagpole cherry". But even that
branches - it is just that the branches all quickly become vertical.

RHS has a page on cherries which might help:

https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/grow-y...fruit/cherries

--
Regards,
Martin Brown
  #5  
Old 04-04-2017, 10:41 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Posts: 33
Default Help needed growing a cherry tree

On 3 Apr 2017 05:05, earthstick wrote:
3 years ago I bought a fruiting cherry tree along with an apple. The apple tree is coming along fantastically but the cherry refuses to grow any branches.

When it arrived it was shaped like Y and it has remained shaped like a Y. It gets buds, leave and even a few cherries. The two branches grow longer but the are no side branches growing.

Last year I tried trimming off every other bud to try and promote side branches but that didn't work. This year I cut the two branches down by about a third with the hope that the ends would grow new branches but it looks like it's just going to bud again. What if I had let the two branches grow long enough to bend down? Would it have branched at the bend?

I prune in early March because I have read they are susceptable to frost damage if pruned earlier.

It is on a vigorous rootstock in a sheltered but sunny space and I choose a variety that has no special soil type requirements.

One thing I remember is that when I planted it I could not tell where the soil line had been and guessed. I planted it with the rootball was a few inches below the soil line. I can see the graft is probably 4 inches above the soil line now. Could this be the cause?


Our 4 Cherry Trees are all in flower now. Planted a couple of years
longer than yours and on the most dwarfing rootstock Gisella 5.

Our experience is that Gisella 5 isn't that dwarfing as it's a constant
battle to keep them within the 2 metre tall fruit cage, indeed last
year some grew a metre + through it.
I suspect the pruning has something to do with it.

https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=318


--
Regards
Bob Hobden
  #6  
Old 05-04-2017, 11:06 AM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Posts: 11
Default Help needed growing a cherry tree

It is a sunburst cherry on a colt rootstock which is semi-vigorous (my mistake).

I have staked it towards the bottom after reading that a bit of movement when it is windy will stimulate the tree to root quicker.

I did nothing with it in the first year or it may have been 2 - can't quite remember now. The existing branches grew longer but no side branches. I read about trimming every other bud to promote side branching so I tried that last year but still nothing. So this year I tried trimming back some of the new growth on the two leading branches. Looks like that will have no effect either.

There are no suckers coming from below the graft but I can see what look like buds there. Will see what happens in the coming months.
  #7  
Old 05-04-2017, 12:55 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Posts: 148
Default Help needed growing a cherry tree

On 05/04/2017 11:06, earthstick wrote:
It is a sunburst cherry on a colt rootstock which is semi-vigorous (my mistake).

I have staked it towards the bottom after reading that a bit of movement when it is windy will stimulate the tree to root quicker.

I did nothing with it in the first year or it may have been 2 - can't quite remember now. The existing branches grew longer but no side branches. I read about trimming every other bud to promote side branching so I tried that last year but still nothing. So this year I tried trimming back some of the new growth on the two leading branches. Looks like that will have no effect either.

There are no suckers coming from below the graft but I can see what look like buds there. Will see what happens in the coming months.



I just wonder if the roots are potbound and not growing out from the
planting hole.
David @ a sunny side of Swansea bay
  #8  
Old 05-04-2017, 02:43 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Posts: 14
Default Help needed growing a cherry tree

On 05/04/2017 11:06, earthstick wrote:

It is a sunburst cherry on a colt rootstock which is semi-vigorous
(my mistake).

I have staked it towards the bottom after reading that a bit of
movement when it is windy will stimulate the tree to root quicker.


My suspicion is that there is too much root movement then, perhaps not
enough watering in and the tree has not managed to root down into the
ground properly. I'd stake it around 3-4' from the ground with a sturdy
stake and one of the thick rubber bands for tree support in a figure of
8. It needs some movement but I suspect it has got far too much.

I did nothing with it in the first year or it may have been 2 - can't
quite remember now. The existing branches grew longer but no side
branches. I read about trimming every other bud to promote side
branching so I tried that last year but still nothing. So this year
I tried trimming back some of the new growth on the two leading
branches. Looks like that will have no effect either.


How tall is it at present then?

There are no suckers coming from below the graft but I can see what
look like buds there. Will see what happens in the coming months.


That points to the rootstock fighting for its own survival and not
having enough energy even to sucker.

--
Regards,
Martin Brown
  #9  
Old 06-04-2017, 09:22 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Posts: 11
Default Help needed growing a cherry tree

The tree is about 48 inches tall, graft is 9 inches above soil line, stake is banded to the root stock 6 inches from the soil line.

I can see there are suckers just sprouting from the root stock below the graft.

When it comes to watering I am careful to water at least every two weeks with 14L of rain water or every week with 7L (1 watering can full).

If the problem is that the graft was not successful is there anything I can do for this tree?

I've had it at least 3 years now, I think it might now be the 4th. Wouldn't it have done anything by now? The apple I planted at the same time is doing fine and is over 2m now with a trunk that is getting thicker. The cherry looks almost the same as when it went in.
  #10  
Old 07-04-2017, 08:34 AM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Posts: 14
Default Help needed growing a cherry tree

On 06/04/2017 21:22, earthstick wrote:

The tree is about 48 inches tall, graft is 9 inches above soil line,
stake is banded to the root stock 6 inches from the soil line.


Another stake at 45 degrees on the leeward side and put a rubber band in
a figure of 8 on it at about 3' up the stem to support it better.

I don't understand why you pruned it at all until it reached at least 6'
or maybe 8' if on a semivigorous stock.

I can see there are suckers just sprouting from the root stock below
the graft.

When it comes to watering I am careful to water at least every two
weeks with 14L of rain water or every week with 7L (1 watering can
full).


OK. So it isn't that the tree has been starved of water then. Drought is
a common way to make trees fail to take properly in the first summer.

If the problem is that the graft was not successful is there anything
I can do for this tree?


It's quite unlikely that the graft is that unsuccessful. I have known
trees survive pretty brutal bark damage - indeed one way to provoke
fruiting in awkward apple trees is to ring the bark.

I've had it at least 3 years now, I think it might now be the 4th.
Wouldn't it have done anything by now? The apple I planted at the
same time is doing fine and is over 2m now with a trunk that is
getting thicker. The cherry looks almost the same as when it went
in.


Something is definitely wrong then.
Are there any signs of disease when the tree is in growth?

--
Regards,
Martin Brown
  #11  
Old 07-04-2017, 01:21 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Posts: 11
Default Help needed growing a cherry tree

On Monday, 3 April 2017 13:05:01 UTC+1, earthstick wrote:
3 years ago I bought a fruiting cherry tree along with an apple. The apple tree is coming along fantastically but the cherry refuses to grow any branches.

When it arrived it was shaped like Y and it has remained shaped like a Y. It gets buds, leave and even a few cherries. The two branches grow longer but the are no side branches growing.

Last year I tried trimming off every other bud to try and promote side branches but that didn't work. This year I cut the two branches down by about a third with the hope that the ends would grow new branches but it looks like it's just going to bud again. What if I had let the two branches grow long enough to bend down? Would it have branched at the bend?

I prune in early March because I have read they are susceptable to frost damage if pruned earlier.

It is on a vigorous rootstock in a sheltered but sunny space and I choose a variety that has no special soil type requirements.

One thing I remember is that when I planted it I could not tell where the soil line had been and guessed. I planted it with the rootball was a few inches below the soil line. I can see the graft is probably 4 inches above the soil line now. Could this be the cause?


No signs of disease. I did leave it for the first couple of years. Last year I cut off every other bud after reading that may promote branching but that had no effect. The two branches it has just grow longer.
  #12  
Old 07-04-2017, 04:11 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Posts: 11
Default Help needed growing a cherry tree

Something else though is that a way behind the tree is a boarder. I have tried growing raspberry canes in that patch of boarder and have never been successful with those either, they just don't grow. A bit further along the boarder they grow fine. Late last year I put some bulbs in there place and they didn't grow too well either. I'm wondering if there is something with the soil in that corner of the garden.
  #13  
Old 07-04-2017, 04:14 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Posts: 11
Default Help needed growing a cherry tree

Something else though is that a way behind the tree is a boarder. I have tried growing raspberry canes in that patch of boarder and have never been successful with those either, they just don't grow. A bit further along the boarder they grow fine. Late last year I put some bulbs there and they didn't grow too well either. I'm wondering if there is something with the soil in that corner of the garden.
 




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