Weeping cherry trees (Prunus subhirtella 'Pendula') are highly desired by home gardeners for their graceful form and attractive, light-pink or cream-colored flowers. The branches of the tree droop gracefully to the ground, and the blooms appear in early spring before the leaves uncurl. Weeping cherry trees are native to Japan but extremely popular in the United States. They are often planted by water to better reflect and double the impact of the beauty of the tree.
How Big Do They Get?
Weeping cherry trees are fast-growing trees, but they only reach a maximum height of 20 to 30 feet tall, with a spread of between 15 to 25 feet, according to University of Florida horticulturists Edward F. Gilman and Dennis G. Watson. The relatively small size of this tree makes it perfect for home gardens and landscapes.
What Climate Is Best?
Weeping cherry grows best in United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) growing zones 5 though 8, which makes it a temperate-climate tree. The tree will not grow well in very cold or very hot conditions.
What Art the Soil and Light Requirements?
Weeping cherry trees grow best in full sunlight. They need protection from winds and prefer soil that is moist and loamy, but well-draining and slightly acidic. Weeping cherries will also grow in clay or sandy soil, but these trees do not tolerate dry, hot soil very well. Such conditions can weaken the tree and make it more susceptible to a number of diseases. In addition, weeping cherries do not make good urban trees--they are not resistant to pollution or smoke.
What Are the Care Needs?
The weeping cherry should get at least six hours of sunlight per day. Water frequently so that the soil does not dry out. Use a soaking or drip hose and let the water slowly drip deeply into the ground. Fertilize in the spring before the tree blooms with a slow-release, water soluble fertilizer formulated for flowering trees, and prune after the petals drop. In the fall, rake up dropped leaves; some fungi can overwinter on the leaves and in the soil.
What Are the Downfalls?
The weeping cherry is not a hardy tree. It has shallow roots and can suffer from a great number of fungal and bacterial diseases that attack all parts of the tree, causing root rot, leaf spot and blight. To extend the life of the tree, protect it with a systematic application of fungicide each year, and watch for insect pests as well.