All About Cherry Blossom Trees: Facts and Planting Tips
Cherry Blossom Trees bring billowy pink and white blooms in the spring. These blooms often last no more than two weeks and are also a symbol of renewal and the ephemeral nature of life.
- The most well-known species is the Japanese Cherry Tree or the Sakura.
- These stunning trees, which are not to be confused with Cherry Trees cultivated for fruit, inspire millions of people to flock to Japan each year for flower-viewing festivals. In Japan, the ritual of viewing Cherry Blossoms dates back to the 700s.
- In the United States, Cherry Blossom Trees can grow almost anywhere, living 30 to 40 years.
- Cherry Blossom Trees also offer colorful autumn leaves, handsome bark, and quick growth while requiring little care, making them ideal for home gardens.
History of Cherry Blossom Trees in the United States
In 19th century America, only a few people in the United States—horticulturalists, generally—knew of the Japanese flowering cherry tree. This changed in 1912 when Japan gave 3,020 cherry blossom trees to the United States as a gift. The United States viewed this offer as a warm gesture of friendship and planted the trees in Sakura Park in Manhattan and Potomac Park in Washington, D.C. Each spring brings forth the breathtaking rebirth of the Cherry Blossoms and this international symbol of friendship is celebrated to this day with the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington. Other cities around the world also celebrate Cherry Blossom season with tree planting ceremonies and other events.
Selecting a Cherry Blossom Tree
There are hundreds of species, varieties, and hybrids of flowering cherry trees. Several characteristics, such as the number of petals, color of the blossoms, and cherry blossom leaves, differentiate the trees. Cherry Blossom Trees are typically deciduous and grow in different shapes and sizes. Some bloom early in the spring, while others are late bloomers.
The Okame Cherry Tree is an early bloomer with medium pink petals, while the Kwanzan Cherry Tree opens in late spring with deep pink flowers. The Yoshino Cherry Tree has wide-spreading branches with white blooms that are replaced by glossy green leaves in the summer. Pink and White Weeping Cherry Trees combine an elegant weeping form with a dramatic cascade of flowers on branches that spill downwards. You should select a cherry blossom tree based on the qualities most important to you and the parameters of your garden. If space is limited, consider a Dwarf Cherry Blossom Tree.
Where Should You Plant Your Cherry Blossom Tree?
Cherry Blossom Trees need lots of sunlight and soil that is rich and fertile, check the growing zone recommended for your species of Flowering Cherry. Experts suggest choosing a spot in the garden or yard that provides at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. The soil beneath your flowering tree should also have good drainage for proper growth. Flowering Cherry Trees can grow anywhere from 15 to 30 feet high with a canopy just as wide, so choose a location that can support the tree's mature size.
9 Tips For Planting Your Cherry Blossom Tree
- Plant your Cherry Blossom tree after the last frost to ensure your tree thrives.
- Space the tree about 10 to 20 feet from other plants, including trees, shrugs, and foliage.
- This is important for water absorption and proper root growth. Also be sure to avoid planting your tree too close to a building or structure.
- Prepare a hole that is large enough for your root ball with a bit of extra width. Add a layer of organic matter, such as compost, to the bottom of the hole.
- Adjust the hole so that the tree is planted at the same depth as it was originally growing.
- Place the tree in the hole and make sure the top of the roots are level with the surface of the soil.
- Add or remove soil as needed. Before filling the hole, mix some organic matter with the soil you removed from the hole.
- Fill in the planting hole with the mixture of soil and organic matter.
- Level out the soil with the surrounding area.
- Stake the tree with a rigid tree stake and tree ties to ensure it is supported against wind as it becomes established.
- Water the newly planted tree thoroughly to set the soil in place.
- Fertilize around the roots of the cherry tree.
- Cover the root area with bark, garden compost, or wood chips to protect the roots from temperature changes.
Cherry Blossom Tree Care
Flowering Cherry Trees grow at a rate of between 1 and 2 feet per year and once they are planted and properly established, Cherry Blossom Trees require little care afterwards.
Watering & Fertilizing
Only water the tree during prolonged dry periods of the summer. Cherry Blossom Trees do not like sitting in soggy soil. Feed the tree once per year with a general granular fertilizer in the spring.
Avoid pruning the Cherry Blossom Tree unless absolutely necessary. If you prune the tree, only do so while it is actively growing: from May to August.
Diseases & Pests
To control diseases and pests, examine the leaves of the Cherry Blossom.
Silver Leaf Fungus is a fungal disease that attacks Prunus trees and shrubs, including Cherry Blossom Trees. The disease infects wounds, mainly caused by pruning. Look for a grey or silver appearance on the leaves to learn if Silver Leaf Fungus is present. If the disease is visible, remove the affected branches as soon as possible as silver leaf fungus is progressive and often fatal. Always soak your pruning tools in a solution of bleach and water after using them on an infected plant.
Black Knot Fungus is a fungal disease also common to Prunus trees and shrubs. It produces small growths, usually light brown in color, on the joints and branches of the tree. Cut back diseased branches to prevent the disease from spreading. Don't allow cuttings to fall to the ground. Instead, carefully dispose of infected branches by burying, burning, or placing them in trash bags.
Aphids are small, nearly invisible insects that feed on plant and tree sap. Signs of Aphids include curling or stunted leaves, or when the leaves or stems are covered with sap from the aphids feeding. If the invasion is small, try spraying cold water on the leaves to dislodge the bugs. If spraying water is ineffective, treat the tree with insecticides to get rid of the aphids.
Buy Your Own Cherry Blossom Tree
One of the most beloved trees in the world, Cherry Blossom Trees are famous for their breathtaking pink and ivory blooms. You don't have to travel to botanical gardens to catch sight of these show-stopping Cherry Blossom Trees. These elegant, blossoming trees can thrive in any home garden under the proper conditions, providing years of serene beauty.
Brighter Blooms offers several types of flowering Cherry Trees that will impress onlookers with a spectacular show of Cherry Blossom flowers.