Pruning Young Cherry Tree & Disease Resistant Tree Roses

Question:

Could you let me know if I should prune my young Bing Cherry tree? It's a semi-dwarf tree, so I don't expect it to grow tall. 

Answer:

  • The typical size fruit tree sold today is a semi-dwarf tree.
  • Unfortunately, the name is misleading as they are not short or compact trees. A semi-dwarf tree grows fifteen to eighteen feet, so pruning early will keep them much smaller. They are smaller than a standard fruit tree which grows to twenty-five feet; hence, the designation of semi-dwarf. The fruit is the same regardless of the type of tree.
  • Cherry trees, like all other fruit trees, should be pruned annually. Once established, they're pruned minimally to control the tree's size and shape. Cherry trees produce long, whip-like branches each year. This growth should be trimmed back or removed entirely if they're spaced too close together. You should be able to slip a minimum of three to four fingers between branches. The tree's center gets insufficient light with a dense and thick canopy. This affects the cherry crop.
  • Establishing the scaffolding and secondary branches is 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 located, the easier it is to pick the fruit and prune the 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 bigger, so it's essential to establish them at the right point from the beginning.
    • With young trees, you can change your mind, but it's too late once they mature. Overall, ten percent of the growth is removed annually. It's helpful to distinguish between vegetative and fruit buds. 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 buds are located on the old wood and are found in clusters of three or more. The fruiting buds are visible as the leaves drop in the fall.
  •  And finally, Bing Cherries are not self-pollinating so you'll need another tree such as Black Tartarian or Van to pollinate your Bing for a crop of cherries.  

Question:

What tree roses are more resistant to rust, mold, etc.?

Answer:

  •  Hybrid Teas, Grandifloras, and Floribundas are the types of roses used for standard, thirty-six-inch tree roses. Those varieties introduced since the year 2000 are far more disease resistant than older varieties. Mild nighttime temperatures and moisture on the foliage after the sun goes down are the primary causes of Rust, Mildew, and Black Spot.
  • An application of Bayer All In One Rose Care is recommended to control these diseases and keep the foliage pristine. I'd apply it in March to protect the foliage.