Pruning advice for columnar cherry close to house

Discussion in 'Ornamental Cherries' started by maf, Jul 28, 2021.

  1. maf

    maf Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    A family member has a mature upright/columnar cherry tree close to their house and have asked me for pruning advice as they are concerned that it is of a size now where it may damage the building if it were to be blown over in a storm. It was already established when they bought the property in 1989 and I am guessing it is about 8 metres (26 feet) tall but need to get a better estimate on that.

    They were talking about reducing the height but I don't think this is a good option for two reasons: It will ruin the shape of the tree and it will lead to weak points where the new upright branches form and grow. The option I was considering as an alternative was to take out side branches as and when they started to droop or lean too far, thus reducing the weight and maintaining the upright shape.

    I don't know if cherry trees are considered to be "strong" and unlikely to fail out of the blue? (I can't remember seeing any casualties after storms but haven't looked out for them.) Or is it a disaster waiting to happen and better removed completely?

    Here is a pic from today with a breeze going towards the house:
    IMG_20210728_175354.jpg

    Also, I was wondering about an ID of this cherry? From a little research it seems that 'Amanogawa' is the well distributed pink semi-double columnar cherry that would have been available 40 or 50 years ago, but confirmation or other suggestions are welcomed.

    Some ID pics from about 10-12 years ago:

    P1030194.JPG P1040084.JPG Photo-0112.jpg

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Identification is correct. Prune out only branches that touch the building.
     
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  3. maf

    maf Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Thanks Ron.

    I take it then that this type of cherry, when in healthy condition and established, is very unlikely to be felled in a storm?
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    If it looks secure in the soil there is no reason to expect it to fall over any time soon. With the only guarantee it won't hit the house being removing it.
     
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  5. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Contributor

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    That’s such a pretty typical English garden

    Typical in an admiring sense of the word

    I notice what appear to be electric utility wires going thru the branches

    Pls do NOT let your friends / family prune

    An insured tree arbor pro who understands cherries and also removes any trimmings should deal with this.

    You may also wish to search for a recent post from Pennsylvania about unhappy results of lopping off a tall Kwanzan (various spellings)

    Ron B helpfully contributed to the Kwanzan thread
     
  6. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Contributor

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  7. maf

    maf Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Hi, thanks for your kind words about the garden, I will pass them on. It is now in that messy summer period when the roses and flowering shrubs have finished for the year, it looked a picture in June!

    Just to set your mind at ease, the wire is a telephone wire so not dangerous, and it is away from the branches; the perspective in the photo maybe makes it look closer than it is.

    I will be undertaking the pruning myself (when and if necessary) and will certainly not be going down the butchered Kwanzan route. The options that will be presented to my family will be very minimal pruning of drooping branches that get close to the house or the hedge, or total removal, nothing inbetween. This is the same as the strategy of minimal intervention the tree has been subject to the past 30 years. The roots are very solid and secure, the soil is sound and undisturbed, and the tree does not usually suffer from dead branches so I see no reason for removal at the present time.
     
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  8. maf

    maf Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    I used the stick method to estimate the height of the cherry and came out at 10m or 33 feet. Below is a pic taken from the street that probably conveys the height better than in the original post.
    IMG_20210807_182859.jpg

    I had a look around the root zone there are a couple of 15cm+ diameter roots running towards the hedge and road at soil surface level before submerging. Doesn't look like this tree is going anywhere soon.
     

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