If you have admired the pink and white flowers that you have seen growing on weeping cherry trees in your community, it may have prompted you to question how to grow a weeping cherry tree in your own yard. By following a few simple steps and the right weeping cherry tree care, you will be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor when your tree blooms with beautiful flowers.
Basic Care of Weeping Cherry Trees
The weeping cherry tree will do just as well in either a sunny or shady location, so that gives you more options on where to plant it. When it comes to seasons, however, the weeping cherry tree should only be planted in the spring. Be sure to purchase a high quality plant to start with. If you can’t find one at a local nursery, I have had great results purchasing them online.
Dig the Hole
Once you have chosen a location, you need to dig a hole that is twice the size of the widest point of the weeping cherry tree’s bulb. Height wise, the hole should be a bit more shallow than the tree bulb.
Fill the Hole Carefully
Before you place the bulb into the ground, fill it with a thin layer of pea gravel and sand. This step will allow for easier drainage. Your next step is to fill the hole approximately two-thirds full with garden soil and then to water it to a moist consistency without over-watering. A layer of fertilizer should be laid next, followed by more garden soil and water.
Caring for Your New Tree
The weeping cherry tree will need to have mulch applied two to three inches around the base while using caution to keep the mulch one to two inches away from the trunk. If the mulch gets too close to the trunk, it could cause rotting.
You should plan to water your tree weekly with approximately one inch of water. Finally, plan to fertilize in the spring and fall to keep the conditions moist for optimal growing.
When to Plant a Weeping Cherry Tree
Weeping cherry trees can be a beautiful addition to the landscape. The time of year that you plant a weeping cherry tree is vital to ensuring its health and longevity. Young trees are most susceptible to temperature changes, parasites, and disease in their earliest months, especially after being transplanted to a new location. Thus, the time of year and climate can have a significant impact on weeping cherry trees’ survival.
When to Plant Based on Climate
Weeping cherry trees are native to Japan and do bests in warmer climates (Zones 4-6). The best time of year to plant your cherry tree will largely depend on what type of climate and temperatures the tree is destined to experience.
Generally, weeping cherry trees can be planted in the fall or spring seasons. If the climate is sweltering during the summer months, fall would be the best planting time as these trees can survive mildly cold temperatures better than extreme heat. If summer months are milder in your area, planting in early spring will give the tree maximum time to acclimate to its new environment before weathering through the colder months. In particularly cold climates (Zone 3), it is best to plant weeping cherry trees in a pot to be kept indoors for its first few months of life before repositioning it outside in late spring. This way, the tree has extra time indoors to build up its root system before experiencing its first frost.
Weeping cherry trees are usually sold bare-rooted during early spring and thus should be planted as soon as possible after purchasing them from the nursery. Trees that are purchased already potted will be able to be planted later in the year.
How to Plant a Weeping Cherry Tree
The weeping cherry is a gorgeous tree that provides a stately presence in any landscape. When this tree is in full bloom, it takes center stage; and because of this, it makes a great showcase plant for a larger garden area. If you are wondering how to plant a weeping cherry tree in your oasis, here are some facts and planting tips for guidance.
- Prefers a warmer climate such as zone 5, but can thrive in zones 4-8 of the Hardiness Zone Map.
- Grows 20-30 feet tall and almost as wide.
- Develops quite expeditiously and is known more for its exquisite beauty than its harvest.
- Prefers moist yet well-drained soil and full sunlight.
- Its light pink and white flowers erupt heavily in early spring, and its green foliage turns to amber in fall.
Your weeping cherry should be planted in mid-spring when stress caused by extreme cold or heat is minimal. If you’re able to obtain a tree that is already in a degradable pot, you bury the pot, but if not, remove the plant from the pot, being careful not to disturb the root ball too much.
Make sure the hole is twice as big as the root base and that it is not overly saturated. If the soil is too moist, adding a few strata of gravel will help the bilge. Be sure to mix some fertilizer with the soil and that you do not excessively disrupt the roots when lowering into the hole.
Weeping Cheery Tree Care Tips
Weeping cherry trees bud from other trees; so, when they are fledgling, you must cut off any branches from the root-stock, or you will end up with straight bows instead of drooping ones. In addition, these trees can be susceptible to disease and fungus. Make sure you are educated and prepared to maintain the tree, or you will be disappointed with the results.
When to Prune a Weeping Cherry Tree
The weeping cherry tree (Prunus subhirtella ‘Pendula’) is known for its spectacular spring floral display. Understanding when to prune a weeping cherry tree is a vital component in maintaining the health and beauty of these specimen trees.
Fall is considered the optimal time to prune weeping cherry trees. Dormant trees withstand the stress of pruning better. In addition, without leaves, it is easier to determine the structure of the tree. Crossed or damaged branches are removed at this time, as well as branches that are upright. Branches that are weeping too low to the ground are often tipped to a better height. Pruning in the fall may reduce some of the spring bloom, but it will be better for the overall health of the tree.
Weeping cherry trees are susceptible to many fungal and bacterial diseases, especially if they have been drought-stressed. Diseased branches are pruned immediately throughout the growing season and discarded, so they do not re-infect the healthy tree. Shears used to remove diseased material are disinfected between cuts with a 10% bleach and water solution.
Pruning in winter is not recommended. Many fungal spores are active during the winter months and are spread by airborne contact. Any infected material that has fallen to the ground can potentially contaminate pruning cuts made in the winter.
Cherry Bark Tortrix is an insect pest common in Europe that also invaded the Pacific Coast of North America in the early 1990s. The insect bores into open wounds, such as those of recently pruned trees. For those living in the Pacific Northwest, there is only a narrow window around October when the insects are not active, and it is safe to prune weeping cherry trees.
How to Prune a Weeping Cherry Tree
The very first thing to mention is that you always want to use a very sharp pair of shears. How to prune your weeping cherry tree depends on whether the tree is natural or has been grafted. If you planted your tree, then you know if it was grafted. However, if the tree was already growing, it is easy to tell whether it was planted there or grew naturally. Grafted trees will have a grafting knot just below the crown of the tree (where the branches spread from the trunk). There are different pruning procedures for grafted and natural trees.
Pruning a Grafted Tree
Pruning should always be done when the tree is dormant, which will occur during late fall or early spring. A dormant tree will not have any buds or open leaves. Pruning grafted trees is very important due to their tendency to create a snarl of branches right at the crown, which can make them more susceptible to disease during the cooler months when condensation is trapped between the tangled branches. Thus, begin at the crown to thin out this snarl and remove any branches that are growing straight up. In grafted trees, these vertical branches will not turn over to weep like the others. Secondly, make sure there are no branches touching the ground – trim tips of branches to at least six inches above ground level. Thirdly, prune any diseased branches and any branches in the center that are crossing or rubbing against each other.
Pruning a Natural Tree
To trim an ungrafted natural weeping cherry tree, start with the tips of branches and trim back any that are touching the ground to at least six inches off the ground. There will not be a center snarl on the crown to prune. Also, for natural weeping cherry trees, do not prune branches that are growing straight up. These branches will turn over and becoming beautiful weeping branches with time. Finally, trim back diseased branches and look over the full shape of the tree. Pruning the tree should not only keep it healthy but also give it a symmetrical and aesthetically balanced appearance. Be sure the tree is shaped uniformly and remove any dangling branches. Keeping weeping cherry trees well pruned will help them to grow back fuller and healthier the following season.