How to Plant a Purple Leaf Sand Cherry


The purple leaf sand cherry is a small deciduous tree prized not only for its colorful foliage, but for its sweet scent that accompanies the pale pink springtime blooms. If the purple leaf sand cherry is planted in full sunlight, it will brighten up the landscape all summer long with its deep burgundy foliage and shiny, black fruit. Purple leaf sand cherry is a sturdy tree that will grow in most soil types, and nearly any climate.

Step 1

Purchase a healthy purple leaf sand cherry tree at a reputable nursery or greenhouse. Look for a tree with a straight trunk and healthy branches that grow in a pleasing, upward and outward shape. Avoid trees with spindly branches or branches that grow down or across other branches.

Step 2

Choose a sunny spot with well-drained soil for the purple leaf sand cherry tree. Although the tree will grow in partial shade, full sunlight will bring out the purplish colors of the leaves.

Step 3

Dig a hole for the purple leaf sand cherry. The hole should be the same depth as the tree's root ball, but at least twice as wide.

Step 4

Remove the purple leaf sand cherry from its container. If the tree's roots are wrapped in burlap, cut away any string or wire, and fold the top of the burlap down about halfway. If the roots are wrapped in synthetic burlap, it must be completely removed.

Step 5

Plant the tree in the hole with the trunk held straight. Be sure the collar of the tree, which is a lump where the trunk meets the root ball, is 2 to 3 inches above the level of the soil.

Step 6

Fill the hole about halfway with reserved soil, and then let a garden hose run in the hole until it's filled with water. Allow the water to drain, then finish filling the hole with soil. Tamp the soil down with your feet to remove any air pockets, but don't compact it too tightly.

Step 7

Spread a 1- to 2-inch layer of organic mulch around the base of the tree, but leave a 6-inch circumference uncovered directly around the trunk. If mulch piles up against the trunk, it can invite pests and disease.

Step 8

Keep the purple leaf sand cherry tree consistently moist during its first year. Watering deeply and slowly once a week is preferable to frequent, shallow waterings and will encourage a deep, healthy root system. Once the tree is established, water to supplement rainfall in hot, dry weather.

Things You'll Need

  • Young purple leaf sand cherry tree
  • Shovel
  • Garden hose
  • Organic mulch


  • Natural Resources Conservation Service: Tree Planting
  • Brighter Blooms: Purple-Leaf Sand Cherry Prunus x cistena
  • Nazareth College:
Keywords: purple leaf sand cherry, purpleleaf sand cherry, purple-leaf sand cherry

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.