Saturday, June 11, 2011

Update: The Saga of the Sand Cherry

Blooming in early May
Welcome to the next installment in the continuing saga of our sand cherry tree.

Our once glorious sand cherry tree was severely damage last winter when it was struck by a plow during a winter blizzard. We were delighted that after sustaining such widespread damage, it bloomed enthusiastically, perfuming the entire front yard. You can read the details and see the pictures here and here.

No sooner had the blossoms faded when the tree began to show signs of serious stress. Leaves were wilting, drying up, and falling off. Virtually every branch was affected.

Yet, the leaves closest to the trunk seemed to be healthy and the trunk itself was sprouting suckers. It looked to us as though the tree had used any nutritional stores it had to put forth the wonderful spring flower display, but was now struggling to support all of the new growth and even to sustain current growth.

We felt that lowering the workload of the tree was in order. We hoped that by trimming things back to a level that the tree could handle, it would be easier for it to continue to recover.

It started as an observation a couple of weeks ago, while we were doing spring cleaning in the bed surrounding the tree. Then, my husband decided to trim a few branches, cutting off the branches that had dead or dying leaves on them. As he gradually trimmed one side, I started opposite him. Before we were done, we had scaled the tree back to about a third of its original size.

May 30th, after pruning. The suckers along the lower branches appear healthy.

This picture was taken a week ago. The tree continues to thrive. Hard pruning seems to have allowed it to turn things around.


  1. Your tree looks really good now, and looks like it is going to make it. I guess you and your husband knew just what to do by pruning it clear back. Good Job!!

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Paula. It was actually pretty instinctive! But it seems to have done the trick. We gave it a fertilizer spike and that should help give it an edge as well.

  3. I always like to hear about plants that survive in tough situations ... It amazes me their resilience and how they resprout after being hit by lighting, knocked to the ground - and whacked with snowplows and pruners!

    One time I had a rose of sharon and a climbing rose that were growing together in a messy tangle. I decided to kill the rose of sharon by cutting it back to within inches of the ground. Not only, did it survive, but it grew better than ever and even bloomed the same year ...

  4. This is very reassuring...two of our sand cherry trees were heavily "pruned" by 2 neighbor boys this past weekend. (Obviously without our request!!!!!) They pretty much took them down to 2 stumps. I'm hoping to be able to clean up the damage they did and that new shoots will come up in the spring. Fingers crossed that ours will come back, too.

    1. Tricia, I feel your pain! But on an encouraging note, let me just say that our tree is absolutely thriving and has filled out nicely. It has more of a shrubby form now rather than the beautifully shaped tree that it started as, but it is still quite lovely. I wish you a lot of luck with yours. My guess is that they will come back as you hope, but if they were essentially chopped down, it will take some time before they regain much of their height and substance.


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