Thread: Trimming a Weeping Chinese Elm or Cherry Tree

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    San Jose
    Posts
    3

    Trimming a Weeping Chinese Elm or Cherry Tree

    I have this tree in our front yard. I have it listed in the tree identifcation forum and its been labeled a Weeping Chinese Elm and Weeping Cherry, so not sure which it is.

    I would like to trim it back. I don't want to go as far as Pollarding it. But, I'd like it to look a little less willow'ish. I can see that it could probably use a topping, but I'd like to thin out the extra bushy areas.

    I wonder if anyone else here has trimmed a tree like this and if you have picutres?
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  2. #2
    Oak
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Western NY, Zone 6
    Posts
    348

    RE: Trimming a Weeping Chinese Elm or Cherry Tree

    You could thin out the tree and cut back smaller branches via proper pruning, but do not cut back main large limbs or branches (aka topping) as that will weaken the tree, make it susceptible to disease, and shorten its life considerably. When you prune and what you prune are both very important, live branches should only be pruned in the late Winter season or at a time when tree disease/fungus is at its lowest (check with your local County extension office), any dead branches can be pruned off at any time of the year. I'm not an expert on Weeping Chinese elm or weeping cherry (I'm fairly sure it's not a weeping cherry), I'm assuming that tree holds its foliage all year out in San Jose, which is why I would check with an arborist at your County extension office before pruning. Never remove more than 1/3rd of the tree's total canopy at a time. Just looking at the photo of the tree (great photo, btw), I would think that you could prune off some of those lower branches, which would give the tree a narrower shape and would most likely make it look less like a "weeping" tree, though that is the natural form of that tree, so if you really don't like it, you might want to simply remove the tree entirely. Just don't top it! It's better to cut down and replace the tree than to top it.

    Here are some good links for properly pruning a tree, they are definitely worth a read so that you are knowledgeable about what you're doing before you do it...

    http://www.na.fs.fed.us/Spfo/pubs/ho...ne/prun001.htm
    http://www.treesaregood.com/treecare/pruning_young.aspx
    http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/c...t/pruning.html
    http://www.tree-pruning.com/

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Oak Quirky Quercus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    1,589

    Re: Trimming a Weeping Chinese Elm or Cherry Tree

    Quote Originally Posted by BayAreaBrian
    I can see that it could probably use a topping,
    No tree ever needs a topping. It's the worst thing you can do to a tree.
    http://www.arborday.org/trees/NineNum1.cfm

    As for your question, you may be able to open it up a little bit but you can't prune the weeping out of it. Chinese elms are very densely foliated and even the non-weeping ones do sort of weep. Having a multi-stemmed one isn't helping your cause either.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    San Jose
    Posts
    3

    RE: Trimming a Weeping Chinese Elm or Cherry Tree

    Thanks for the posts! I promise. No topping! Didn't realize it was so bad.

  5. #5
    Oak
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    198

    RE: Trimming a Weeping Chinese Elm or Cherry Tree

    I wouldn't do anything to it until I saw it through an entire year. If it puts out nice flowers and/or attractive fruit, you may change your mind about it. The people who bought a previous residence of mine cut down a nice cherry tree without ever seeing it flower. The flowers were usually pretty spectacular too.

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