Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Feed a Weeping Cherry Tree

By D.C. Winston ; Updated September 21, 2017
The pale pink flowers of a Weeping Higan cherry tree.

Weeping Higan cherry, known botanically as Prunus subhirtella Pendula, is an ornamental flowering tree. Unlike its fruit-bearing relations, ornamental cherry trees are not heavy feeders. Effective fertilization, when needed, can be achieved with a single annual application of fertilizer, according to Michigan State University. Weeping cherry trees grown in nutrient-rich soil or near lawn areas where fertilizer is applied regularly, might not require additional fertilizer, and a soil test would help to make this determination.

Fertilize your weeping cherry in the spring as soon as the last frost has passed and the soil is thawed, warmed and easily worked. The earlier in the spring the better, but avoid fertilizing over cold, half-frozen soil. Watch the weather carefully, and feed the moment conditions warm.

Select a complete granular fertilizer, either in a slow- or fast-release formulation, with a guaranteed analysis of 10-6-4 or 12-12-12. You will need 1 1/2 lbs. of actual nitrogen fertilizer for every 500 square feet of soil around your cherry tree or trees.

Auger out soil in a wide ring of holes starting 3-feet from the trunk and extending 1 to 2 feet past the drip line of the tree canopy. Make the holes 12 to 18 inches deep and space them at intervals of roughly 2 feet apart, all around the tree. Angle the auger bit slightly on the bias so that the bottom of the holes tip inward toward the trunk.

Divide the total amount of fertilizer by the number of holes you have and use your hands, a funnel or a paper cone to add the fertilizer grains to each hole. Fill in the excavated soil over each hole to plug it closed, if the soil is of good quality. If the soil is nutritionally weak, discard the poor soil and fill the holes in with a high-nutrient value compost or peat moss.


Things You Will Need

  • Complete fertilizer 10-6-4 or 12-12-12
  • Soil auger with 1 1/2 to 2-inch diameter bit
  • Funnel or paper cone
  • Compost or peat moss
  • Soil test kit


  • Soil high in nutrients or applied fertilizer will not require additional fertilizer, and too much nitrogen can actually inhibit bloom performance. Purchase a soil test kit at your local nursery to evaluate your soil quality, before applying fertilizer, if you are in any doubt about your soil fertility.