Whyizzit that fast growth comes only on plants ultimately too big for the average landscape? For instance, a gardener will never be done pruning this cute "little" weeping cherry.
Here's the story of pruning a weeping cherry that had gotten away from its gardener. It applies to all fast growing trees from mulberries to pussy willows. We aim to control that tree with just one cut per year, keeping it small yet preserving its natural shagginess.
First it had to be reduced in size by half. Then in each subsequent year we can follow routine pruning for restricting the size of weeping cherry trees. (We've described this routine before; check What's Coming Up 158, pages 1-4).
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We begin with a brutal cut, softened by feathering the branch ends.
• The tree today (below, left),
• What it was just over one year ago after our first cut (below, center), and
• What it was before we touched it at all (below, right).
Use the orange lines to gauge how much we reduced the tree's size.
Take another look at that first cut. Below, left: Spring #1 just after bloom and (below, right) one hour later.
Spring #2, below: Two weeks after bloom and one hour later. This was a hard cut but not so brutal as when first we decided to keep the tree small. No cut is as drastic as that first year.
Over the course of the two cuts we established certain limbs as the main branches. From that point on, each year right after bloom we will go to the end of each main branch and shorten it to a graceful side branch.
This is one of the most important tactics in pruning a fast growing plant. Find a place on each main limb where one cut will leave a pretty side branch as the new leader.
We know we can depend on a fast-growing tree to quickly produce more branches below our cuts, and do more shortening and shaping the next year.