A Gardener’s Guide to Caring for Fan-Trained Cherry Trees
Cherry trees add beauty and interest to any garden, and with a little training, they can be grown into a captivating fan shape against a garden wall or fence. Fan-training simply means guiding the growth of the tree so that it spreads out in a fan shape. They are a fantastic idea if you’re an avid garden lover who is short of garden space, and they can be fun to train and watch it take shape.
Whether you’re looking to start growing your first fan-trained cherry tree or if you already have an established tree and just want a few extra tips, we’ve got all the information you need right here. Read on to find out how to get the most out of your fan-trained cherry tree.
What are fan-trained fruit trees?
If you’re new to the world of fan-trained fruit trees, you might be wondering exactly what they are. They are simply trees that have been trained to grow in a fan shape against a wall or fence. The branches are trained horizontally so that they spread out in a wide, flat shape, similar to the shape of an open hand with the fingers splayed out.
This type of training is commonly used for fruit trees such as apples, pears, plums, and cherries. It’s a great way to save space in the garden, as the tree only needs to be a few feet away from the support structure to ensure that it has enough room to spread out.
One benefit of fan-training a cherry tree is that it makes harvesting the fruit much easier as you don’t have to reach up high to pick the cherries from the branches. It also helps to keep the fruit clean and free from dirt and debris, making them perfect for eating straight from the tree.
They are also fantastic for those who have limited garden space since they can be grown in smaller areas and don’t take up much ground space. If you live in an apartment or have a small backyard, a fan-trained cherry tree is a perfect solution for adding a touch of greenery, and style, to your home.
Fan-training a cherry tree
When it comes to training a fan-trained cherry tree, there are a few different methods that you can use. The most common method is to buy a young tree that has already been trained. This is the easiest way to get started as you won’t have to do any of the training yourself.
If you’re starting with a young tree that hasn’t been trained yet, you’ll need to do the training yourself. Don’t worry; it’s not as difficult as it sounds. The first step is to choose a suitable support structure for your tree. This can be a wall, fence, or even a free-standing trellis.
Next, you’ll need to select three or four strong, healthy branches that are evenly spaced out on the main trunk of the tree. These will be the branches that you train horizontally to create the fan shape. Once you’ve selected your branches, use pruning shears to cut away any other shoots or branches growing from the main trunk.
Now start training the branches. The best way to do this is to use thin wire or twine to secure the branches to the support structure. Start by tying the end of the wire or twine around one of the selected branches, and then stretch it out horizontally and tie it to the support structure.
Do this for all of the branches, making sure that they are all the same length. The branches should be spaced out evenly so that they form a flat, wide shape when viewed from the front. Once all of the branches are secured in place, you can trim off any excess wire or twine.
And that’s it!
Pruning a fan-trained cherry tree
It is best to prune/train your young fan-trained cherry tree in the Spring time so that you minimise any risk of your crop catching potential fungal diseases.
When pruning, you should remove any dead, diseased, or damaged wood as well as any crossing or rubbing branches. You should also cut back any shoots that are growing upwards from the horizontal branches as these will take away energy from the main fruiting branches.
It’s important to prune your cherry tree regularly to ensure that it remains healthy and productive. Pruning established fan cherry trees in the Summer is advised because it will help to promote more growth and fruiting.
Protecting and netting your cherry tree
Fan-trained cherry trees can be susceptible to pests, which can damage the fruit and reduce the yield. One of the most common pests is birds, which can strip a tree of its fruit in a matter of days.
To protect your crop, we recommend netting your tree with a reliable bird netting. You need to make sure that the holes of the netting are small enough so that birds can’t poke their beaks through and peck the fruit but still big enough so that bees can pollinate the flowers. A bird netting with 20mm mesh holes is perfect for this purpose because it will prevent even smaller birds from getting through. The net needs to be strong, long-lasting and UV protected so that you know it is reliable.
You should also put the netting on your tree before the flowers start to bloom so that you can make sure that all of the flowers are pollinated. The netting should stay on the tree until the fruit is ripe and ready to be picked.
When netting your cherry tree, make sure that you secure the netting tightly to the support structure so that birds can’t find their way in. You may also need to weigh down the edges of the netting with stones or bricks to stop birds from lifting it up and getting underneath. Making sure that there is space between the netting and the wall/fence so that birds can’t reach the tree.
If you have an allotment or a larger garden space, you may want to consider getting a fruit cage, which will provide additional protection against birds and other pests. Purchasing a fruit cage with bird-resistant netting can be a convenient option and be helpful in the long run.
Care tips for cherry trees
It is important to water your fan-trained cherry tree regularly, especially during the flowering and fruiting period. The soil should be kept moist but not waterlogged.
Mulching around the base of your fan-trained cherry tree will help to keep the roots cool and moist. It will also help to suppress weeds and reduce the amount of water that is evaporation from the soil.
We recommend using a thick layer of organic mulch, such as bark chips, around the base of the tree. Replenish the mulch every year to make sure that it stays fresh and effective.
Fan-trained cherry trees need full sun to flower and fruit well. If possible, choose a south-facing site for your tree.
We recommend feeding your fan-trained cherry tree with a high-potash fertiliser in early Spring and again in mid-Summer. This will help to promote healthy growth and bountiful crops.
A fan-trained cherry tree is a great option if you are limited on space. They are relatively easy to care for and maintain and, with the right treatment, can produce large crops of delicious cherries.
As with any fruit tree, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind in order to get the most out of your tree. Make sure that you prune it regularly, water it frequently, and give it plenty of sunlight. You should also mulch around the base of the tree and feed it with a high-potash fertiliser to promote healthy growth. And make sure to net and protect your tree from birds and other pests. With a little bit of care, your fan-trained cherry tree will thrive and provide you with delicious cherries to enjoy.