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How to Care for Weeping Cherry Trees

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How to Care for Weeping Cherry Trees

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Overview

The weeping cherry is a well-known ornamental fruit tree, gracing the lawns of many gardens. Weeping ornamental cherry trees are grown for their blossoms and form. If they also bear fruit, they may be edible. The single or double blossoms are pink or white. There are weeping forms of many cherry trees, such as Japanese Flowering Cherry (Prunus serrulata) and Yoshino Cherry (Prunus x yedoensis). The most popular by far in the United States is the Weeping Higan Cherry (Prunus subhirtella 'Pendula'). Hardy in USDA Zones 5 through 8, this variety is less susceptible to disease than other weeping cherries.

Planting and Culture

Step 1

Purchase your weeping cherry in the spring when it is in bloom, to be sure you get the blossom color you want.

Step 2

Select a tree grown in a pot, if you have that option. Otherwise buy a balled-and-burlapped tree.

Step 3

Choose a planting site in full sun. Weeping cherry trees will grow in part-sun, but full sun increases blooming. Check the predicted size of the mature tree and make sure there is adequate room for its eventual height and width.

Step 4

Dig a hole deeper and wider than the root ball. Amend the soil with 1 part compost to 3 parts soil. Shovel the mixture back into the planting hole, until the top of the root ball of the tree, when placed on the soil mixture, is even with the ground. Position the root ball in the hole and shovel in the rest of the soil mixture.

Step 5

Water well with a hose and press the soil mixture firmly into the hole. Cover the planting hole with 2 inches of wood-chip mulch, starting 6 inches away from the tree trunk. Keep the soil moist during the tree's life.

Pruning

Step 1

Examine the tree's branches each winter. Look for dead branches and branches that interfere with the weeping form of the tree.

Step 2

Use pruners to clip branches smaller than one-half inch in diameter and loppers for branches one-half inch to 1 1/2 inches across. Take care not to cut into the trunk or into branches that you want to save.

Step 3

Cut off any suckers, or small branches, growing at the base of the tree.

Step 4

Remove watersprouts, young branches growing straight up from a branch or the trunk.

Step 5

Cut off branches that cross and touch others, keeping the branches that enhance the weeping shape of the tree. Remove dead branches.

Tips and Warnings

  • Weeping cherry trees are susceptible to trunk cankers, trunk borers and Japanese Beetles. Plant weeping cherry trees in the spring to reduce the danger of the trunk cracking during winter freezes.

Things You'll Need

  • Weeping cherry tree from your garden center
  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Hose
  • Wood-chip mulch
  • Pruners
  • Loppers

References

  • Clemson University, Cooperative Extension: Ornamental Cherry, Plum, Apricot & Almond
  • Ohio State University: Prunus subhirtella 'Pendula'
  • Yale University: Plant of the Week; Prunus subhirtella 'Pendula', Weeping Cherry

Who Can Help

  • National Gardening Association
Keywords: grow weeping cherry, prune weeping cherry, plant weeping cherry

About this Author

Daffodil Planter's writing appears in the Chicago Sun-Times, and she is the Sacramento Gardening Scene Examiner for Examiner.com. A member of the Garden Writers Association, she has a bachelor's degree from Stanford, a law degree from the University of Virginia and studies horticulture at Sierra College.