Growing a Weeping Cherry Tree

Weeping cherries shout a boldly colorful statement in spring.
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The pendulous branches of weeping cherry extend to the ground with white or pink blooms in spring, making the tree a desirable focal point in the garden.

The pendulous branches of weeping cherry extend to the ground with white or pink blooms in spring, making the tree a desirable focal point in the garden.

Few plants are more graceful in the landscape than trees that weep. And when they are the ornamental varieties that cascade with mounded sprays of seasonal flowers, all the better.

Take the weeping cherry, Prunus subhirtella 'Pendula'. In spring, the branches of this little deciduous tree, which grows to 20 to 30 feet, extend to the ground with popcorn-like blooms in white or pink. Talk about a focal point!

After the tree finishes blooming, leaving what looks like a blanket of snow on the ground beneath it, it puts out glossy, dark green serrated leaves, which make the tree a great addition for summer as well. Ebony berries follow in late summer to boot, but don’t look for cherries; this tree is for ornamental use only.

Because of its show-stopping beauty in spring, plant the tree where it won’t be disturbed by pedestrians or lawn mowers. Instead, treat this Japanese native as a specimen, especially near water gardens, or frame an entryway with a pair of them.

Weeping cherry prefers full sun and well-drained soil. Keep it watered during dry spells and lay a 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch around the tree (but 6 inches away from the base) to help the soil retain moisture.

The trees rarely need pruning, except to control size. But if you do decide to prune, wait until late spring just after the tree has bloomed. After all, you don’t want to eliminate this ornamental’s biggest selling point!

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