The weeping cherry tree is a beautiful and popular ornamental tree that can grow up to 30 feet tall and 30 feet wide. With dark pink buds that open into double, pale pink flowers in spring that contrast against a thick green canopy in summer, it's no wonder these weeping cherry trees are so popular!
Native to Japan, the weeping cherry tree can be a little high maintenance for pruning and watering. Below, we'll discuss everything you need to know to grow a weeping cherry tree successfully.
What Is A Weeping Cherry Tree?
The weeping cherry tree is an ornamental cherry tree that is made from grafting a root and trunk of a straight, fast-growing cherry variety to the top of a hybrid variety that tends to downward arching branches.
Pink weeping cherry trees can reach 30 feet tall if left unpruned, with a canopy just as wide. Most gardeners prune the branches, however, to achieve the desired look. The tree produces thousands of pink or white flowers in the spring and early summer.
Young trees struggle upon being transplanted, but once your cherry tree is established in well-drained soil with ample air circulation, it can live for up to 40 years with minimal care.
Weeping Cherry Trees Care Requirements
Your weeping cherry tree will tolerate partial shade, but you won't see the quick growth or dense flowers compared to full sun. To see the pink weeping cherry tree thrive, choose a proper planting site that will receive full sun or at least six hours of direct sunlight with good air circulation.
Weeping cherry trees require a good amount of water but don't like having "wet feet." They are not drought tolerant. You will likely need to regularly water your tree if you live in a region that doesn't receive much rain, and a daily spritz with the hose won't cut it.
Weeping cherry trees need 80 gallons of water a week to grow and flower well. At least once a week and twice during the summer months or dry spells, bring your water hose to the tree's base, turn it on to a low stream, and leave it running for a good 20 minutes. Check the soil moisture before you turn on the hose, though - it needs to dry out between waterings to prevent root rot.
During the winter, don't water it at all. Weeping cherry trees need a dormancy period to recover from their intense growing season.
Temperature + Humidity
Humidity levels aren't much of a concern. Pink weeping cherry trees grow best in USDA zones 4 through 9.
Weeping cherry trees like well-drained, slightly acidic soil. However, it needs to have adequate drainage because although these trees like lots of water, they also like to have the soil dry between waterings.
Before planting the root ball, amend the surrounding soil with perlite to improve drainage and provide little air pockets around the roots. It would help if you also mixed in a few handfuls of organic compost to boost the soil's nutrients. And layer organic mulch around the tree to help the soil retain moisture.
If you fertilize your pink weeping cherry tree in the early spring, you'll enjoy fuller blossoms and faster growth. However, you will need to give the roots some time to settle before fertilizing with a newly planted or transplanted tree. Recommendations range from waiting three months to 2 years.
When it is time to fertilize, use an acidic, low-nitrogen fertilizer. A slow-release granular fertilizer will be best for your cherry trees. Spread the fertilizer at least 6 inches from the trunk of the tree. During the growing season, mulch around the base of the weeping cherry tree with organic compost. It keeps weeds under control, fertilizes the soil, and boosts moisture retention.
Weeping cherry trees will require regular proper pruning or become huge and unruly. In a few years, the canopy can reach over 25 feet! Regular pruning will help you keep your tree shapely and help keep it healthy. The proper time to prune is in early spring or late fall, when blossoms have faded, and young leaves have formed. While you prune, keep these goals in mind:
- Remove dead, broken, or diseased branches.
- Keep live branches from touching the ground.
- Prune back touching, overlapping branches.
- Cut off branches that appear to be growing straight upright.
- Remove all "sucker" shoots that sprout up from the trunk base.
You can use pruning to guide your tree into the shape you desire, but make sure never to remove more than 25% of the branches. Always make your cuts at a 45-degree angle.
Thankfully, weeping cherries are pretty disease and pest-resistant. Here are the ones you should watch for:
Both adults and young are susceptible to infestation of borers, and a severe infestation can be fatal. Look for signs of sap leaking out of the trunk and treat the plant early.
Weeping cherries can be attacked by fungal diseases such as canker, black knot, leaf spot, powdery mildew, fire blight, and root rot. These can be avoided by promptly cleaning up fallen leaves, so they don't decompose over the winter and create an environment for fungal spores. Avoid overwater and practice proper garden hygiene.
Weeping cherries are prone to pests such as Japanese beetles, leafhoppers, aphids, borers, and spider mites. Applying neem oil to the tree will help deter pests.
Varieties of Dwarf Weeping Cherry Trees
Here are a few varieties of dwarf weeping cherry trees that are suitable for most garden landscapes:
Weeping Higan Cherries (Prunus subhirtella "Pendula")
A winter flowering variety, it is one the best well-known, and most used weeping cherries. This type bears delicate, single pink flowers. Other forms of the Higan cherry include "Plena Rosea," which bears double, deeper pink flowers than the straight "Pendula." The "Alba" bears single white flowers. The "Winter Sun" is a variety that blooms very early with soft, single pink flowers.
Weeping Fuji Cherry Tree (Prunus' Snow Showers')
This is one of the small varieties of weeping cherry trees, but it is a showstopper. The arching branches fill with fragrant white snowy flowers in spring. In fall, the foliage will change from glossy green to vibrant hues of bronze and red.
Weeping Yoshino Cherry Tree (Prunus x yedoensis 'Shidare')
This variety of weeping cherry trees offers a dramatic and graceful display of arching branches filled with white clusters of flowers in early spring.
Double Pink Weeping Cherry (Prunus pendula' Pendula Plena Rosea')
The double pink weeping cherry is a graceful variety that sways like willows in the breeze. With large magenta buds that open to double pink flowers, they will be a focal point in any garden.
Hiromi dwarf weeping cherry tree (Prunus jacquemontii 'Hiromi')
Hiromi is one of the smallest dwarf weeping cherry trees and makes this variety a popular choice for landscaping. This variety will blossom pink and white flowers in the spring, and the flower will flow to the ground like a fountain.
Does The Weeping Cherry Tree Produce Fruit?
Yes, the berry is very small and intensely sour, making it unfit for human consumption. Wildlife such as birds, squirrels, deers, and other small animals will feed on the berries.
Is Weeping Cherry Tree Pet Friendly?
No. Weeping cherry trees are toxic to humans, pets, and livestock. The stems, leaves, and seeds contain cyanogenic glycosides, which are poisons to animals and humans. The fruit is not toxic but is so bitter as to be inedible.