How to Buy a Weeping Cherry

Overview

Weeping cherry trees (Prunus subhirtella "Pendula") are ornamental trees that can grow up to 25 feet. The trees provide year-round visual interest in the home landscape, with abundant light pink blossoms in spring and glossy green foliage in summer that turns yellow in fall. In winter, the bare branches provide a striking contrast to the surrounding landscape. You can purchase weeping cherry trees in early spring at many landscape supply stores or order them in advance and have them shipped to your home once they are ready for transplant.

Step 1

Peel back burlap wrappings around the root ball, and look over the trunk both above and below the wrappings for signs of damage, including scarred or rubbed bark. A tree's vascular system is contained in the bark layer of the tree. Scarred bark interrupts the vascular system and damages the tree. Select only trees that appear healthy with no signs of damage.

Step 2

Lift container trees free of their containers or burlap wrapping so that you can see the root system. The roots of your weeping cherry tree should be larger than the canopy of the tree to support the tree's development once you plant it. The roots should also appear succulent and white. If roots are brittle or brown, this may be a sign of stress as a result of lack of water. Avoid purchasing weeping cherry trees that exhibit these warning signs.

Step 3

Run your hands along the branches of the tree to look for signs of rough handling such as broken branches. Weeping cherry trees have an irregular shape, so spotting broken branches visually may not be as easy. A tree that has been handled roughly may decline in health or die. Examine each branch at its grafting scar to ensure that the graft is healthy and has not become infected with mildew, mold or insects.

Step 4

Look over each branch to ensure that the tree is free of pests such as aphids, spider mites, scale or borers. These insects usually attack trees that are unhealthy or under stress. Insects such as aphids or scale will be visible on the leaves and twigs of trees. Borers and mites will not be visible but will leave holes in the bark of trees and will cause speckled discoloration in leaves.

References

  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Prunus subhirtella 'Pendula': Weeping Higan Cherry
  • Iowa State University Extension: Guidelines for Selecting Trees
  • Clemson University: Guidelines for Selecting Trees

Who Can Help

  • Extension: Ways to Buy Trees
Keywords: purchasing trees, weeping cherry tree, Prunus subhirtella Pendula

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."