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Make cherry trees branch without cutting

Written by Bas van den Ende

Cherry trees are naturally vigorous and very upright.
They are not willing to form spurs and lateral shoots on one-year old wood of leaders and scaffold branches, except at the tips of strong leaders where whorls of shoots develop.

In the following year, the tips of these shoots form more whorls.

---TOPICS in this article---

  • Avoid heavy pruning
  • Use a bio-regulator
  • Cytolin application


  • Figure 1. If you want to grow a cherry tree as a Central Leader and do not use Cytolin, you could end up with a tree that has no shape or form, and grows wood instead of fruit.
  • Figure 2. If you paint this un-headed nursery tree with Cytolin in spring at the correct stage of bud development, you have a good chance of getting the start of a well-formed Central Leader tree. Use a 25 mm wide brush to apply the Cytolin/paint mixture.
  • Figure 3. Young cherry trees will only form lateral shoots if you paint the one-year-old wood at this stage of bud development.
  • Figure 4. This can be the result nine weeks after you applied Cytolin. It helps if you pluck the tops of the leaders by rubbing out, using your fingers, 4 or 5 shoots immediately below the apical shoot.

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