Stunted Tree Growth

I have a four-year-old Mayday tree. For the first couple of years I just watched it, and noticed that it had an awful shape. Last year after studying the tree for a long time (natural shape, etc.) I started pruning it to grow properly. But now hardly any branches grow on one side of the tree. I pruned the other side to help the sparse side catch up, but on about two feet of branchless leader, there aren't even any buds growing. Is it true that cutting into the leader will promote new branches? What can I do?

--iVillager bernwafer


The first question is whether both sides are getting equal amounts of sun. Secondly, is the stunted side up against any other type of plant material? If either of the above is an issue, it would be wise to address it for the health of the tree.

This is my suggestion on how to approach renovation of this Prunus: Don't cut the stronger side back too severely. Rather, lightly prune (on the tip) its branch leaders. That will cause limited regrowth. On the side where the growth is weaker, prune it back hard. This drastic pruning will stimulate a vigorous response, and eventually the tree should even out.

Remember to have patience as the tree grows and reshapes itself.

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