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Have recently bought a dwarf cherry tree and dwarf pear tree which I am growing in large pots. How and when do I prune them. The cherry tree has become a bit leggy and having never grown them in pots before need some advice. Also, do I need to protect them over winter eg in the greenhouse.?
The cherry tree needs very little pruning, just pinch out the tips of the main leading branches and cut out any branches that cross over the centre of the bush. You would normally do this in the spring before the buds burst, but you can do it now (if you seal the cut branches with pruning sealant) if the tree looks very overcrowded with misplaced stems. Cherry trees do tend to be rather leggy by nature, so I don't think there is anything wrong there.
Is the pear tree being grown as a bush or as a pyramid shape? The pruning is slightly different to maintain the different shapes, but it consists of a little summer pruning and a little in winter for both types.
Providing the pots are strong enough, there is no reason why they should not stay outside over winter unless, of course, the temperature falls to ridiculously low levels. The trees are perfectly happy to be outside and will need pollinating insects to visit them in the spring.
Thank you waterbutts for your advice. The pear tree at present is growing more as a column at the moment. Lots of healthy growth. The dwarf trees were bought as bare root plants and have been grafted. I would imagine it might be a year or so before they bear any fruit. I believe they are self fertile plants. How should I prune the pear tree and when? At the moment it looks quite happy. They are sited in a sunny sheltered spot.
I suppose your pear tree has two or three upright stems and a few lateral or side shoots. You can trim the side shoots back to three or four leaves now. In winter, you can cut the upright shoots or leaders back by about half of the growth they made this year. You can see where 2013's growth starts because there is a little bump in the stem where it joins 2012's.
They always used to say "plant pears for your heirs" but you should see maybe one pear next year and 2 or 3 the year after that.
Thank you for your advice again. Fruit trees are an area I am not familiar with. I will follow your advice re pruning. I don't actually like pears and am growing it for my husband. I guess we won't be argueing over the pear if we are able to grow any!!!
Well, in your case, "plant pears for your heirs" might be a good idea.