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How to Care for a Weeping Cherry Tree

By Aileen Clarkson

Weeping cherry trees (Prunus family) shower the spring garden with cascades of snowy white or pink flowers in early to mid-spring. These short-lived trees (generally 15 to 20 years, according to the University of Illinois Extension Service) are fairly easy to grow.

Plant your tree in an area in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 8 that receives full sun and is sheltered from wind. The soil, ideally containing a high percentage of clay, should be well-drained and kept somewhat moist. Weeping cherry trees are moderately drought tolerant. Water when the first two inches of soil is dry.

Place a layer of mulch around your tree to protect it from being nicked by a lawnmower or weed eater. Small cuts in the tree's bark invite disease and pests. Keep the mulch at least one inch away from the trunk.

Prune your weeping cherry only when you need to remove diseased or dead wood, or when you want to remove branches rubbing against each other. General pruning should be done immediately after flowering, but you can remove damaged wood any time.

Treat scale infestations with horticultural oil. Treat tent caterpillars with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) when the insects are still small. Most other problems can be avoided by proper irrigation, pruning and fertilization. Fertilize in the fall with a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer.


About the Author


Aileen Clarkson has been an award-winning editor and reporter for more than 20 years, earning three awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. She has worked for several newspapers, including "The Washington Post" and "The Charlotte Observer." Clarkson earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Florida.