2020 must surely go down as the gardeners’ ‘year of the cherry’. We’ve waited years for our trees to produce a respectable crop and this year they excelled, benefiting from a combination of a wet winter followed by a hot early spring.
Now that the cherries have been harvested we’ve taken time to prune the trees and open up the centres to allow in more air, removing some dead wood and crossing branches in the process. One or two of the lower branches were also starting to interfere with the mowing of the surrounding lawn so these were removed or reduced in length too.
Most pruning of fruit is done in the winter but pruning of cherries and plums is carried out in the warmer months to reduce the risk of infection by bacterial canker or silver leaf disease, both of which can prove fatal to the tree. With the spores less prevalent and cuts healing more quickly, summer is therefore the ideal time to carry out this operation.
We’ll do the same to our plum trees in a few weeks' time when we have finished picking. A couple of heavily laden branches have already snapped under the weight of the fruit, something that we hope careful pruning will prevent in the future.