How to Take Care of a Dwarf Weeping Cherry Tree

Overview

The springtime blossoms on a weeping cherry tree are delightful, and dwarf varieties are particularly well-suited to grow in small gardens or house foundation beds. Although "dwarf," the weeping cherry tree can still potentially reach a mature height of 10 to 15 feet, with spread of 8 to 12 feet and thus are better called "semi-dwarf." Ample sunlight, a fertile, moist and well-draining soil is needed for the successful culture of weeping cherry trees, including the popular Snow Fountains.

Siting a Weeping Cherry Tree

Step 1

Determine your USDA Plant Hardiness Zone. Although species specific, weeping cherry trees generally do not survive in very cold or very warm regions, performing their best in Zones 5, 6, 7, and 8.

Step 2

Plant a weeping cherry where it receives at least four to six hours of direct sunlight every day. Too little light and the plants will diminish their numbers of flowers and leaves produced.

Step 3

Grow the plant in a fertile soil that is moist in the growing season but has good drainage. Sandy soils should be deep and rich in organic matter while clay soils friable and not compacted. Do not plant thetree in spots that are dry or waterlogged.

Good Cultural Practices

Step 1

Protect the weeping cherry tree from drought, especially when young and recently transplanted. A newly planted tree's root ball should not be allowed to become dry during the first six to 12 months as it establishes. Mature trees benefit from infrequent, deep waterings in a prolonged drought to prevent leaf drop or twig die-back.

Step 2

Place an organic mulch at the base of the plant, extending out to the drip-line, or edge of the branches. The mulch should be 3 to 4 inches deep and kept 3 inches way from the trunk. Mulch keeps the soil moist, temperatures moderate and weeds at bay.

Step 3

Consider adding an all-purpose slow-release granular fertilizer around the base of the tree each spring, especially if the native soil is not fertile or added, vigorous new growth is desired on the cherry tree. Follow label directions for proper dosages and procedures.

Step 4

Prune out dead branches anytime of year with a hand pruners. Do not over-prune as you will remove architecturally interesting branches and likely reducing the number of flowers for next spring. Prune to shape the plant in late spring right after the flowering display ends.

Tips and Warnings

  • Cherry trees must have a prolonged chilling period in winter in order for flower buds to form and open each spring. In warm winter regions, check with local nurseries for cherry trees with a "low chilling requirement."

References

  • "Prunus subhirtella 'Pendula'"; Edward F. Gilman and Dennis G. Watson; IFAS/Univ. of Fla.; 1993.
  • "Sunset Western Garden Book"; Edited by Kathleen Norris Brenzel; 2007.
  • "Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs"; Michael A. Dirr; 1997.

Who Can Help

  • USDA Hardiness Zone Finder
  • Various Prunus
Keywords: Weeping trees, cherry trees, Prunus

About this Author

James Burghardt has written for The Public Garden, Docent Educator, numerous non-profit newsletters and for Learn2Grow.com's comprehensive plant database. He holds a Master's degree in Public Horticulture from the University of Delaware and studied horticulture and biology in Australia at Murdoch University and the University of Melbourne's Burnley College.