Every Kentish Cherry grower will tell you that the Cherry does not like the knife. In the large orchards of the eastern portion of the flop county the Cherries are rarely, if ever, pruned; and it is generally considered wise to shape the heads when the trees are young, and then leave them alone. The common result of the free "knifing" of Cherries is an exudation of gum. I have known old trees pruned in winter, and gum begin to exude the day after cutting. In garden culture a certain amount of pruning is necessary to keep trees in shape and within bounds, and Cherries may have to come under the knife. As far as possible the work should be done in summer, because when the trees are full of sap there is much less liability to gumming than when the sap is down during the winter season. It may be asked, Can the requisite pruning be done in summer? In the main, yes; and if the small amount of later pruning that may be necessary is done in October, before all the sap has left the trees, there is not likely to be much trouble from gumming.
Fruiting spurs will form on the wood of Cherries much more quickly than on that of Pears. Thus they may often be found on the older part of an extension branch, such as B in Fig. 10; and they may be induced to form still more freely on such a branch by stopping shoots such as g to five or six leaves in summer, and shortening them to two or three buds in October. Spurs are shown at further stages of development in C and D. Single fruit buds often form on one year old wood as shown in A. When a tree has become well furnished with fruiting spurs as a result of careful treatment, winter, or rather autumn, pruning is likely to do more harm than good, and had better be left alone. The trees will bear well if the branches are thinly disposed.
If young Cherries form very coarse shoots and no fruit buds, lift them and replant them. It will check the exuberance.
If it were not that tidiness has to be considered, I should be disposed to say, Never cut Morellos after once the framework of the tree has been secured by early shortening. The more breastwood they are allowed to make the more fruit they bear. Such half-wild trees are wonderfully beautiful, too, when in full bloom, but they look woefully bad when leafless. Careful cultivators who are fond of neatness will lay young shoots in from 4 to 6 inches apart between the main branches like Peach shoots, and there secure them with shreds and nails.
A, one year shoot: a, basal buds (almost always wood buds); b, wood buds (relatively thin and long); c, terminal bud (generally a wood bud); d, blossom buds (thick, short, and rounded).
B, portion of extension branch: e, part of two years old wood from which have been produced in last season, f, natural spurs (short, stubby shoots, terminated by a cluster of buds, mostly blossom buds with one or more wood buds to continue the extension and multiplication of the spur or spurs in subsequent years); g, side shoot shortened to three buds to form a spur; h, side shoots trained in, or allowed to remain, for furnishing the tree with subsidiary branches (if not required, they should be shortened to three buds of the base, as indicated by cross lines); i, extension growth to be trained in or left full length in the case of trees extending.
C, result of shortening a side shoot to three buds at the previous winter pruning: j, spurs; k, shoot which had been stopped at fifth leaf in previous summer, and at this (the winter) pruning shortened to three buds.
D, a two years old spur with three branches: l, spurs.