Pruning A Cherry Tree & Using Crab Shells For Snail Control

Question:

I'd like to know if I should prune my Cherry tree. I've seen lots of articles about pruning fruit trees, but I don't remember reading anything about cherry trees. 

Answer:

  • Cherry trees, like all other fruit trees, should be pruned annually.
  • Once established, they are pruned minimally for controlling the size of the tree and shaping.
  • Cherry trees produce long, whip-like branches each year. This growth should be trimmed back or removed completely if they are too close together. You should be able to slip a minimum of three to four fingers between branches. With a dense and thick canopy, the center of the tree gets insufficient light. This effects the cherry crop.
  • Establishing the scaffolding and secondary branches are the primary pruning purpose with new or young trees. These limbs are the foundation on which the rest of the canopy develops.
    • Early on, the most significant decision is to choose the location of the lowest scaffolding branches. The lower to the ground these branches are, the easier it is to pick the fruit and prune the tree.
  •  The most common size fruit tree sold today is a semi-dwarf tree. Unfortunately, the name is misleading as they are not short, compact trees. The typical semi-dwarf tree grows fifteen to eighteen feet. But, they are smaller than a standard fruit tree, which grows to twenty-five feet. The fruit is the same regardless of the type of tree.
  • Another misconception is that the distance or space between the ground and the lowest limb changes as the tree matures. These limbs will never get any higher, just more prominent, so it's essential to establish them at the right point from the beginning. With young trees, you can change your mind, but once they mature, it's too late.
  • Overall, you would remove annually about ten percent of the growth each year. It's helpful to distinguish between vegetative buds and fruit spurs. The vegetative buds are the single buds located on the new growth or wood. The new wood is a light tan color while the mature growth is a dark brown. Fruiting spurs are located on the old wood and found in clusters of three or more. The fruiting spurs are visible as the leaves drop in the fall. 

Question:

 I'm growing sugar peas. They are starting to sprout, but the snails are eating the leaves. I can't put down bait because of my granddaughter. I've tried eggshells. So so.  you think if I put down rinsed smashed crab shells would work? Or would it attract other critters? Any suggestions? 

Answer:

  • I don't know for sure that it would work. But, It wouldn't hurt to try. Also, I don't think the crab shells would attract any other critters.
  • Another option is to apply Sluggo. Sluggo is an organic snail bait that will control the snails without hurting the domestic animals. During the rainy season, you'll need to reapply the bait often.