4 Flowering Cherry Trees and How to Plant Them

There's no more spectacular harbinger of spring than an ornamental cherry tree bursting into bloom.
Ornamental Cherry Tree in Full Bloom

Ornamental Cherry Tree in Full Bloom

Ornamental cherries flower before they are in full leaf, which gives enough time and sunlight for spring-flowering bulbs to add their own splash of color beneath.

Photo by: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Ornamental cherries flower before they are in full leaf, which gives enough time and sunlight for spring-flowering bulbs to add their own splash of color beneath.

There's no more spectacular harbinger of spring than an ornamental cherry tree bursting into bloom. After a winter of bare branches come clouds of fluffy, pastel blossoms. Some types produce fruits that attract birds to the garden, and many also have good fall color to end the year with a bang.

When to Plant: Fall
At Its Best: Spring
Time to Complete: 2 hours

Materials Needed:

  • cherry tree
  • stake
  • tree tie
  • spade

Choose a Site

Ornamental cherries grow best in fertile, moist but well-drained soil in full sun, although they tolerate partial shade and a drier soil once they're established. Make sure there's ample room for the tree to grow because some mature into large trees.

Planting and Staking

Dig a hole the same depth as the rootball and twice as wide. Plant the tree so that its rootball is slightly above the surrounding soil surface. Hammer in a stake angled into the prevailing wind. Attach it to the tree using a flexible, adjustable tree tie.

Planting Choices

Cherry trees come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors to suit all gardens. Prunus 'Spire' (image 1) has a slender, upright habit, ideal for smaller gardens. P. x subhirtella (image 2) and P. incisa (image 3) are both compact trees with pale pink flowers and attractive autumnal color. P. 'Shizuka' (image 4) is medium-sized and has large, scented, white semi-double flowers.

Aftercare

Water the tree thoroughly after planting, and apply a mulch, keeping it away from the trunk. Water for the first two years. Check the tie often and loosen it if need be. In a couple of years, you can remove the stake because the tree will be fully established.

Top Tip: Pruning

If you choose the right-sized cherry for your garden, the only pruning required will be to remove dead, diseased or damaged growth. If you need to shape your tree, do so after flowering in early summer, because there are fewer diseases then and you won't remove the flower buds.

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