Downy serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea), also referred to as Juneberry, thrives in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 8. The plant gets its name for the fuzzy gray, downy-like covering on emerging leaves which falls as leaves mature. They boast white blooms in early spring, purple bird-attracting strawberries in late spring to early summer, and yellow, orange and red leaves in fall. Without regular pruning to maintain shape and size, downy serviceberry can grow up to 40 feet tall and 20 feet wide. Never prune while the plant is in blossom. You can prune in late winter before buds put or in summer after leaves mature, but autumn is best since the trees drop very small sap in this time of year.
Pick one trunk at planting, if needed, to train the plant into a single trunk tree. Choose the straightest, strongest, central-most trunk and cut the other stems back to the point of origin at the bottom of the plant. Skip this step in case you would rather enjoy the plant as a multi-stemmed tree or shrub.
Eliminate all suckers that grow from the bottom of the trunk if you would like to maintain a tree shape; eliminate the suckers as they develop during the year by simply plucking them away with your hands. Allow these decreased suckers to grow whether a shrub form is desired.
Step back in the downy serviceberry to observe its own shape. Cut the tips of any branches which are too long. Cut in a 45-degree angle with the cut side facing down. Cut the branches so they are balanced with the branches on the other side of the tree. Aim to your tree or shrub canopy to have a balanced, rounded contour throughout.
Cut any broken or dead branches back to the point of intersection having a healthy, powerful branch or around one-quarter inch over the nearest healthy bud or leaf node. Always cut to the outside of the branch collar, the layer of tissue at the bottom of the division, because cutting the collar leaves the plant open to rot.
Eliminate branches with weak or narrow crotches which are possible weak spots for the tree; a minimum of 60-degree angle with the flux division is excellent for encouraging a powerful structure.
Eliminate rubbing or crossing branches, in addition to any branches which grow inward. Always choose the strongest branch which has a broad crotch and grows out and out to complete the tree. Prune away branches which grow down or inward.
Remove suckers in the crotches of branches as they develop; those suckers do not grow into powerful branches, so removing them diverts the plant’s energy back to the major structural branches.