How Do I Plant A Cherry Blossom Tree

Preparing the Soil

Planting a cherry blossom tree requires some preparation and specific conditions to ensure the tree thrives and brings its beautiful spring blossoms for years to come. First, the soil needs to be tested to ensure it is suitable for the tree’s root system. The soil should be light and well drained with a pH level between 5.5 and 6.5. Loosening the soil by digging and tilling with a shovel to a depth of about 8–12 inches helps create a suitable environment for the tree’s roots.

Once the soil has been tested and is suitable, it is important to consider fertilizing to ensure the tree grows healthy. According to expert horticulturalist, Steven Halm, “Fertilization creates additional soil nutrition which is necessary to support tree growth.” It is important to look for organic sources of fertilizer, such as composted manure or well-rotted compost, to ensure the soil works in harmony with the cherry blossom.

Selecting and Planting the Tree

Once the soil is prepared and fertilized, it is time to select and plant the proper cherry blossom tree. There are many varieties available, and it is important to study the ecology of the area, soil type and suitable tree varieties prior to selecting. Some varieties work well depending on the climate and growing season, such as the Yoshino or Akebono Cherry which are popular in North America. Planting the tree when it is dormant – from late fall to early spring – ensures it has the best chance at growing healthy and strong.

Once the tree is selected, prepare the hole twice as wide and twice as deep as the root system of the tree. Place the tree in the hole and then backfill the soil around the tree. To ensure the tree is stable and does not move, tamp down the soil firmly around it. If a burlap bag was used to contain the tree roots, leave the top of the bag exposed to the surface of the soil. After the tree is planted, spread any remaining fertilizer around the root system and water it thoroughly.

Care and Maintenance

Once planted, ensure the tree has enough water. Water the cherry tree 2-3 times a week for the first two years and then 1-2 times a week for the next four years. Depending on the soil type and the weather, the tree may need to be watered more often or less often.

To help the tree blossom in spring, be sure to prune any dead or broken branches off the tree. Pruning should be done every spring to help structure the tree and encourage more flower growth.

With proper care and maintenance, a cherry blossom tree can offer abundant flowers and live a long life. “Cherry blossom trees need to nurtured and cared for if they are to provide that special season of vibrant colors which has become an annual ritual in many parts of the world,” remarks horticulturalist, Steven Halm.

Growing Season and Blossom Time

The flowering period for most cherry blossom trees is during late March to early May. However, some varieties bloom at different times, so it is important to know what kind of cherry tree has been planted. The Akebono and Yoshino varieties both bloom during April, so if one has been planted, the blossoms will be most likely seen at the end of March or the beginning of April.

Due to the trees need for cold weather and dormancy period, cherry blossom trees can struggle in warmer climates, although techniques such as low-level cloud seeding can help on occasion. Also, if they are planted in areas of extreme cold, it is important to provide winter protection to prevent the roots from freezing.

Pests and Diseases

Understanding the types of common pests and diseases the cherry blossom tree is susceptible to is important when caring for the tree. The Japanese Sawfly is a common pest that can damage the leaves of the tree. These sawflies are typically small and move by fling through the air. To treat these pests, it is recommended to spray the tree with an insecticide such as Pyrethrin or Spinosad.

Cherry blossom trees can also be susceptible to diseases, such as crown or root rot. If a tree exhibits discolored leaves or stunted growth, it is important to cover the soil with copper fungicide to prevent and control the spread of disease.

Varieties of Cherry Blossom Trees

Although the most well-known variety of cherry blossom trees include the Akebono and Yoshino, there are more than hundreds of varieties of blooming cherry trees that exist. Depending on the climate, soil type and environment, different trees will produce either white or pink blooms and may bloom at different times.

For larger gardens, one variety to consider is the Sargent Weeping Cherry tree. Despite needing more space to grow, when in full bloom this variety produces abundant single or double pink or white blossoms. For smaller gardens, the Usuzumi Cherry is an excellent choice as it’s a dwarf variety that blooms masses of white flowers.

Pruning and Fertilizing

On top of regularly watering the cherry blossom tree, it is important to fertilize it during its growth season for the first four years. A good slow-release fertilizer such as a 10-10-10 should suffice, due to its balance of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium nutrients which will help provide a strong root system and abundant flowers.

In addition to fertilizing the tree, pruning is recommended for mature cherry blossom trees. Pruning will help promote healthy growth, divert the tree’s energy to the desired shape and size and help to trim off any dead branches.

When pruning, it is important to remember to only prune one-third of the tree at a time. Removing more than this can put too much stress on the tree and can lead to damage. Also, it is important to use clean tools and wear gloves to avoid the spread of bacteria.

When to Pick the Cherries

Some varieties of cherry blossom trees, such as the variety ‘Kanzan,’ can produce cherries that are edible. The cherries grow in clusters and are a deep red colour when ripe. They are generally ready to be picked between late June and early July depending on the local climate.

Cherries should only be picked when they are plump, juicy and deep red. Once ripe, they should be picked immediately as they spoil quickly. Once picked, they can be stored in the refrigerator and eaten within a few days.

Experience of having a cherry blossom tree in your yard is a special one. Planting and caring for a cherry blossom tree can become an enjoyable hobby for many, and with proper knowledge and preparation, each spring your tree can produce an abundance of beautiful flowers.

Gordon Wesson is an environmentalist and author who lives in the Pacific Northwest. He has been writing for many years about topics related to trees, the environment, and sustainability. In particular, he is passionate about educating people on the importance of living in harmony with the environment and preserving natural spaces. He often speaks at conferences and events around the country to share his knowledge with others. His dedication to protecting our planet makes him one of the leading voices in his field today.

Leave a Comment