A weeping cherry tree is a thing of utmost beauty. In the spring, its lush blossoms light up any garden and its magic is truly felt. If you want to light up your own garden in natural beauty, find out when to plant a weeping cherry tree and how long it will take to stun your neighborhood.
When to plant a weeping cherry tree: While a weeping cherry tree has blossoms but not fruit, it is still an amazing tree to include in your yard. Early spring is the best time to plant a weeping cherry tree and you should wait until just after the last spring frost date. For those that live in milder areas, you can also plant your weeping cherry tree in the fall, before the ground starts to freeze and becomes too hard to dig in.
Planting Weeping Cherry Trees in Different Climates
Weeping cherry trees are not the best for a tropical climate. The tree is ornamental and does not bear fruit, and prefers dryer summers and colder winters.
While a weeping cherry tree does need plenty of water after you first plant it, once established it is drought-tolerant. This is an excellent tree for a dry climate as long as you give it extra water during heat waves and during its first year of growth.
A weeping cherry tree is great in a temperate climate. This tree does not bear fruit, so you don’t need to worry about the warmer temperatures that most fruit trees require.
Weeping cherry trees should do really well in a continental climate. They are drought-tolerant in the summer and can withstand cold winters. However, if you live in a very cold area, be sure to wrap your tree in the winter, especially if it is still young.
Despite their hardiness, a polar climate is not ideal for a weeping cherry tree. It is simply too cold and does not offer enough sunshine.
Choosing Weeping Cherry Trees
Dwarf Weeping Cherry Tree
For those that love the look of a weeping cherry tree but don’t have the space, a dwarf variety is a perfect solution. It will quickly grow to its maximum height of eight feet and will still look beautiful.
Snow Fountain Weeping Cherry Tree
With bright white petals, this is a stunning variety. It is a sub-species of a dwarf tree, so expect it to be smaller than other varieties.
Double Weeping Cherry Tree
This variety has lush pink petals and gets its name because each flower is doubled on a stem. The tree can grow to be 25 feet in height and up to 25 feet wide, so make sure you have plenty of space for it.
Japanese Flowering Cherry Tree
Unlike other varieties, the flowers on this tree are bigger and thicker. The tree is medium-sized and will grow to about 15 feet in both height and width.
How to Plant Weeping Cherry Tree
Weeping cherry trees will come as young trees. Although it is technically possible to start with a seed, it is much easier, to begin with, a tree that is one to three years old.
You can often find weeping cherry trees at local gardening centers. However, if you have a specific variety in mind, you may need to order online.
The best time to plant your weeping cherry tree is in the spring. Wait until the threat of frost is over and then begin planting.
While weeping cherry trees can survive cold winters, planting in the spring will give your tree time to establish itself and build up its root system.
The other alternative for timing is in the fall, just before the first frost date, when the ground is still workable. However, this timing is only if you have a mild winter as harsh, freezing temperatures can shock a new tree.
Sun is key for a weeping cherry tree. This specimen prefers at least six to eight hours of sunlight every day, so be sure to find a bright, sunny spot for it.
If you live in an area that has very hot summers, however, you might want to find a location that has shade in the afternoon. This way the tree is better protected from overly hot sunshine.
Another aspect to consider with location is that a weeping cherry tree can grow to be quite large. While there are different varieties, some can grow to be 20 to 30 feet tall and over 15 feet wide.
To really get the most benefits out of the beauty of a weeping cherry tree, plant it on its own so that it won’t grow into a house or other trees. Then, when the light hits its blossoms in the spring, you will be well rewarded for your efforts.
You can prepare the soil around your weeping cherry tree with some compost but as long as your soil is decent, the roots will spread out and find their own nutrients.
The soil, however, should be well-draining. If there is pooling water in the soil, the roots can quickly start to rot, which will kill your new tree.
When planting, dig a hole that is twice the size of the root ball. Place the tree into the hole and make sure the top of the roots are just under ground level.
Fill the soil back into the hole and press firmly. Water thoroughly after planting.
Your weeping cherry tree will be quite young when you plant it, so it’s important to give it extra support at the beginning. Find a nice, sturdy stake to support your tree.
Due to their construction, weeping cherry trees are very top-heavy and if there is a very windy day, they can fall right over. A sturdy stake will keep the tree upright.
While you might be tempted to mound extra dirt around the base or even plant the tree deeper for more stability, this will hurt the tree in the long run.
How to Water Weeping Cherry Tree
After they are established, weeping cherry trees will become drought-tolerant, which is a great feature. However, they need plenty of water after the initial planting.
Make sure you water deeply after planting your weeping cherry tree. This will ensure the roots branch out in search of water, thus strengthening the tree.
After your tree is a year or two old, you shouldn’t have to water it too often. The exception will be in the summer if you are going through a heat wave.
How to Grow Weeping Cherry Tree
After you plant your weeping cherry tree, you can add a layer of bark mulch around the ground. You want the mulch to spread out over the top of the roots in the ground, which is roughly the area under the branches.
Try not to put the mulch directly next to the trunk of the tree. This can lead to rot in the tree.
Bark mulch will help with water retention in the soil and will also stop weeds from popping up in the area.
Each year, in the spring, you can apply a slow-release fertilizer to the area under your weeping cherry tree’s branches. This fertilizer can either be compost or a special commercial product.
If you purchase fertilizer, make sure it is made for trees and shrubs as it will have more nitrogen in it.
Unlike other trees that grow outwards and upwards, weeping cherry trees grow downwards. Their branches arc and then move towards the ground, creating that weeping look.
It’s important not to prune these weeping branches. The desired effect is a cascade of branches and short branches will ruin the effect.
You can, however, remove any branches that are dead or diseased. Late fall or early winter is the ideal time as you can see through the branches without foliage. Don’t prune too late as it can affect the blossoms that appear in early spring.
Also, look for branches that cross each other. As they rub against each other, it weakens the bark, and insects and diseases can enter. If you see branches that are too close together, you can gently cut these back.
A major benefit of weeping cherry trees is that they are very resilient. Not only are they drought-tolerant but they are also good in winter conditions.
If you live in an area that has consistently cold winters, you can decide to wrap your tree with a special winter blanket.
How long does a weeping cherry tree take to grow?
Each year, you can expect your weeping cherry tree to grow about one to two feet. There are some dwarf varieties that stop growing at eight feet tall, with other varieties can be over 30 feet tall.
A weeping cherry tree is a natural blast of amazement. With branches that slope down to the ground and an abundance of blossoms in the spring, it is a really stunning addition to any garden. Plant your weeping cherry tree in the spring or, if you have a mild climate, in the fall.