USDA plant hardiness zone 6 begins in Massachusetts and Rhode Island on the East Coast, and then extends south and west through various regions of the country to Oregon and Washington. The Japanese cherry blossom (Prunus x yedoensis), also known as Yoshino cherry, grows in USDA plant hardiness zones 5 through 8. It is a practical choice to plant near a house because it can add charm to your location, value to the property and protection to the home's surroundings.
Before You Plant
When planting this tree in the vicinity of the house, first ask the utility companies to mark any underground utility lines, and note the location of overhead lines. This is important to know, because the flowering cherry has a medium growth rate of 13 to 24 inches per year. At full maturity, it has a spread of 25 to 40 feet, and it will stand 40 to 50 feet in height. To determine the distance from the house to plant the tree, divide the larger number of the spread (40 feet) in half. By using this method, there is less chance of the roots penetrating your foundation, branches hitting the windows, or limbs brushing up against the paint or siding on the house.
Know Your Exposure
Flowering trees love sun, and this tree does well in a south to southwest location. A location near the house with a slight grade is ideal because this provides good water drainage. If that's not possible, be certain that the sunny side of the house has a moist, but well-drained, area. The tree does well in a variety of soil conditions, such as acidic, loamy or clay soils.
Planting deciduous trees such as the cherry blossom has many advantages for a homeowner beyond increasing property value. The tree helps to keep the house cool in the summer by providing shade. It allows sun to enter the house in the winter for added warmth. A tree near a house can help to lower utility costs and protect a home from the elements. It can also provide privacy from neighboring structures and act as a sound barrier in an area that's near traffic. Like many berry-producing trees, the Japanese flowering cherry is an important source of food for birds, including robins, cardinals and waxwings.
Care and Maintenance
Although It's advised in the first year of planting to apply a fertilizer, generally the tree does not require continued fertilizer care. Use a slow-release fertilizer in a 15-9-12 ratio. Apply the fertilizer in early spring during the blooming season and again in the summer after the cherry blossom fruits. Sprinkle evenly around the tree and water lightly. Fruit-bearing trees such as the cherry blossom should be pruned once a year to remove any diseased fruit or leaves, as well as dead branches or those that droop close to the ground. A commercial spray can be applied during the blossoming period to avoid fungal diseases.