Dwarf Brush Cherry Backbud?

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Dwarf Brush Cherry Backbud?

Post  thams1982 on Sat Sep 29, 2012 10:19 pm

Hi All,

I recently picked up two Australian Brush Cherries (Eugenia myrtifolia) -- both are in new pots and are doing great. My situation is probably a simple one to fix, but I have limited experience with this tree species and I thought I would ask an experienced community.

As with trees that have been left to grow unrestricted, most of the growth is concentrated at the tips of the branches with intermittent leaves growing on some branches. My wish is to have the growth more concentrated toward the center of the trunk (read shortened limbs with ramification toward the center). In order to shorten the limbs, I will have to prune old wood considerably. I've already nipped the new growth to redirect the growth further in, but would cutting back to one or two leaf pairs on old wood be too much?

I understand that this can be done in stages -- wait for leaves to appear further in and then start cutting back. This would assure leaves on the limbs at all times. I'm just afraid to start cutting old wood without some advice.

Also, when should this be done? I've read some people say to prune this tree in spring, but I've also read that tropicals should be pruned in summer... Help! I appreciate any and all advice. I'm not looking for a quick fix; I plan to have these trees for many many years to come.

Thanks all,
Tom


thams1982
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Re: Dwarf Brush Cherry Backbud?

Post  0soyoung on Sun Sep 30, 2012 12:22 am

The basic principle is that that removing the apical meristem (tip shoot) when it is growing will initiate back budding. This applies to deciduous trees and conifers alike. In conifers the process is slow (i.e., an annual growth cycle) and is usually accomplished as candle pruning, but can be severe branch pruning. In deciduous it is a rapid process. New shoots will appear in a matter of weeks.

If you don't want back budding but just to clean up the structure of the tree, you prune when it is dormant. If you don't want resin/sap bleeding, only prune conifers when they are dormant and don't prune maples in the spring (until shortly after the foliage emerges). You know that cutting all green off a conifer = dead branch and that cutting all green off a deciduous probably doesn't equal dead branch. The only way to know how each specie responds to hard pruning is to cut it and wait to see where new buds/shoots appear or if the branch dies. Pick on branches you probably will not want to keep anyway, if you are afraid.

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Re: Dwarf Brush Cherry Backbud?

Post  thams1982 on Sun Sep 30, 2012 1:16 pm

Thanks for the reply -- I pretty much figured that was the case, but wanted to make sure before I did anything drastic. I'll wait for new growth to appear before trimming off any more branches.

I'm afraid that my tree is going to look sparse for the next year or so. Unfortunately, all of the ramification is at the tips of the branches and in order to shorten them significantly, the ramified bits will have to go. I understand that these trees are profuse growers though, so I guess as long as it's healthy then it won't be a big deal.

I'll try any drastic cuts on branches that I'm not going to keep anyway. Can anyone confirm when drastic pruning should be performed on brush cherries? Some say early spring and others mid summer.

Thanks again!

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Re: Dwarf Brush Cherry Backbud?

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