Flowering Cherry Maintenance


Delicate and elegant, flowering cherries are some of the most beloved of all flowering trees. They do, however, need the proper conditions to grow to their full potential. Care begins with planting in the right spot, in full sun, with fertile, somewhat acidic soil and excellent drainage. If started properly, a minimum amount of regular maintenance will keep them healthy and blooming profusely.


Flowering cherries dislike drought and should be watered regularly during dry spells, especially the first few years after planting. Dry soil stresses the tree and makes it more vulnerable to pests and diseases. Water deeply, soaking the root area to a depth of at least 1 1/2 feet, then wait until the top inch of the soil is dry before watering again.


Proper pruning is essential for the health of the tree. Frequent light prunings, once or twice a year, are preferable to occasional removal of larger branches. Early spring, January through March, is the main time to prune, and a lighter pruning can be done in August or September. Remove any dead, crossing or diseased branches and create a strong framework by taking out weak or competing branches. An open, airy effect is what you're aiming for.


Regular fertilizing of mature trees is unnecessary, but light fertilization of young trees with a 5-10-10 formula in spring will help establish a strong root system.

Soil Protection

Cherries dislike compacted soil, so avoid walking on the root area. This will extend, roughly, as far as the branches. Site paths and walkways a few feet beyond, if possible. Prevent competition for water and nutrients by weeding regularly. Competition by grass is especially harmful so avoid planting cherries in lawns or leave a large open area around them if you do. Mulching with 2 or 3 inches of pine needles, fine bark, compost or steer manure will help keep the soil moist and prevent weeds from sprouting.


There's no need to spray for insects or disease unless you see evidence of an infestation. Scale may be a problem, for instance, but a few here and there is not something to worry about. If you have a problem, get an accurate diagnosis from an expert with a recommendation of treatment. Remember, healthy trees in well-draining soil with adequate moisture are rarely seriously bothered by pests.

Keywords: flowering cherry care, prunus varieties care, flowering cherry maintenance

About this Author

Over the past 30 years, Mara Grey has sold plants in nurseries, designed gardens and volunteered as a Master Gardener. She is the author of "The Lazy Gardener" and "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Flower Gardening" and has a Bachelor of Science in botany.