The weeping cherry tree (Prunus subhirtella var. pendula) grows up to 30 feet tall and has weeping branch growth. The tree often grows near water sources, such as ponds or streams, creating a dramatic effect with its weeping branches grazing the water's surface. In spring, the tree is covered with profuse pinkish white blossoms prior to foliage development. The flowers grow in large clusters that often measure 5 inches across. Following flowering, tiny, inedible black fruit appears.
Native to Japan, the weeping cherry tree belongs to the Rosaceae family. The straight form of the tree can trace its history back for many centuries, according to Yale University. The weeping tree is a grafted tree. One variant of the weeping cherry occurs naturally, but it is exceptionally rare and not widely available to the public. The grafted weeping cherry tree was grafted onto hardy root stock.
The weeping cherry requires full sunlight for maximum flower production each spring. Well-draining soil is required to maintain a healthy root system. The tree prefers sandy loam but will tolerate a wide range of soils, even clay. The weeping cherry thrives in USDA hardiness zones 6 to 8, according to Floridata. The tree does best in moist soil conditions. Dry soil may make the tree susceptible to diseases.
The tree's arching branches will touch the ground when it's allowed to grow with no pruning. As the weeping cherry grows older, it forms a mound on top of its abundant canopy as the branches arch downward. A small hybrid, Prunus Snow Fountains is ideal for container planting or areas of the garden with limited space. This hybrid only grows 12 feet and 12 feet wide. The sbranches of the dwarf hybrid are stout in appearance and easily touch the ground like those of its full-size parent.
The Japanese beetle poses a threat to the weeping cherry tree. Control the beetles with pesticides when necessary. Aphids, scales, borers, tent caterpillars, spider mites and leaf miners also feed on the weeping cherry tree but rarely pose a serious problem. Very few diseases severely affect the tree. Fungal and bacterial leaf diseases often occur, but most resolve themselves with little or no treatment.
Weeping cherry trees are propagated through semi-hardwood cuttings that are grafted onto 4- to 6-foot tall standard cherry tree root stock. Grafted weeping cherry trees usually live longer than standard cherry trees, according to Floridata.