Is this tree salvageable?

We have a weeping cherry tree, which, because of the surrounding homes and trees, is leaning pretty significantly over our sun room. (See photos - not the best, but hopefully shows the shape.)

It has some kind of pest (tent caterpillars?), so we've already cut off some infected and dying branches. There's one we can't reach at the very top. My question is, if we have the tops of the tallest branches taken off, will it be OK and eventually start to look more like an umbrella? Right now, none of its upper branches are bending over. We've trimmed a lot of branches from neighboring trees to give it more sun from the opposite side, so we're hoping they won't be as big an issue now.

Thanks in advance!

q is this tree salvageable
q is this tree salvageable
q is this tree salvageable
  3 answers
  • Topping the tree is not a good idea. This tree is suffering from lack of proper pruning from the very beginning. So that further damage is kept to a minimum, bring in an arborist for a consult. Pruning should be done in late fall.

  • Jan Clark Jan Clark on Aug 14, 2018

    There are a number of sites that can tell you how to care for your weeping cherry. I can definitely say that yours looks stressed because of it's unnatural shape, apparently due to crowding. Trees can only be shaped and pruned when dormant, so you'll have to wait until it's dropped its leaves before doing anything significant. Personally, I would remove the top section starting from that awkward left hand bend to correct the lean and give it a chance to recoup from the stress. As for the insects, you can use a systemic insecticide (as long as nothing from this tree is eaten) in order to be sure all the critters are killed - whether you can see them or not. There are a variety of systemic treatments both fed to roots or inserted into the trunk. Check for what you need and use it BEFORE the tree is dormant. (ie: ASAP)

    Also, check the size of your area. If this tree, once fully mature is going to be too big, you may have to deal with many other issues along the way, or, as a last resort, have it removed and replaced with something that will fit the space better. Best of luck.

    • Karen Sigel Karen Sigel on Aug 15, 2018

      Thank you. This is just the kind of feedback I was looking for. We've thought of taking it out and replacing it with some type of dwarf tree or something low- and slow-growing, but it's just so pretty in the spring. In any case, we'll stop beating it up until fall, except for pest treatment.

  • Lola Lola on Aug 15, 2018

    I agree with Jan. Cut that top piece off. It's too heavy for lower section to support. I'd cut below the bend, right down to the lower section. Get rid of that whole long branch. Leaves are nice and green, I think after cutting top branch, and a good pruning, to let sunlight in, this tree would thrive.