How To Plant An Ornamental Cherry Tree

How to Plant an Ornamental Cherry Tree

Planting an ornamental cherry tree allows for year-round beauty and aesthetic appeal to a garden. With blossoms in spring that come in varying shades from deep to light red, ornamental cherry trees are a perfect choice for creating an attractive feature in a yard.

When choosing a cherry tree, only purchase trees that have been certified by the USDA. This is to ensure that the trees have been grown in the best conditions and are certified disease-free. Be on the lookout for galls, sores, holes, and deformities on the trunk of the tree during inspection. The tree will also have a tag indicating its type and should be planted according to the USDA’s standard guidelines.

When it comes to planting, choose an area that is well-drained and slightly raised where the tree can receive full sun. If you are planting more than one, space trees at least 15 feet apart. Select a location that has good air circulation to avoid an accumulation of moist air and potential stress on the tree.

The next step in planting the ornamental cherry tree is to dig a hole that is three times bigger than the tree’s root ball. Make sure to loosen any surrounding soil to aid in root growth. Place the tree into the hole and position it so that the trunk is as straight as possible. Fill the hole with soil and tamp down firmly to remove any potential air pockets. Then, create a circular hole six feet out from the trunk and one foot deep to prevent standing water and the potential for root rot.

You’ll need to water the tree until the soil is damp, but not soggy. The best way to water a mature tree is to use a slow, deep soaking method. If the tree is young, watering at least once a week will help it to stay healthy. Additionally, be sure to check the soil around the tree to make sure it’s moist after planting. This will help the roots to establish themselves.

You should also mulch the area to help retain moisture and provide a barrier for the surrounding soil. Use 3-4 inches of mulch and spread it evenly around the base, raising it up to create a bed on one side to encourage a strong root system. Refrain from putting mulch directly against the trunk of the tree as it can cause rot.

If the tree is young, it will require staking to support its structure while it develops. Choose a sturdy stake, such as one made of wood and not metal, to help distribute the weight evenly. Some trees may also need to be pruned in order to keep them in shape and maintain their natural beauty. Always use caution and sterilize pruning tools before and after use.


Fertilizer helps ornamental cherry trees to thrive and look their best, as it replenishes nutrients in the soil that have been depleted by the tree’s growth. Use a balanced fertilizer with a higher concentration of nitrogen, such as 10-10-10 or 8-8-8, and apply it in the early spring for best results. Sprinkle the fertilizer around the base of the tree and water it deeply.

Be sure not to fertilize if the tree is still young. It’s also important not to over-fertilize as this can be harmful to ornamental cherry trees and lead to a decline in health. Fertilizer should be used sparingly, as it is a concentrate and can damage the roots.

Check the leaves of the tree in the early spring before applying the fertilizer. If they are light green and have the look of being undernourished, fertilizer should be applied. Likewise, if the leaves are deep green and glossy, the tree is receiving enough nutrients from the soil.

Pests and Diseases

Ornamental cherry trees can suffer from a variety of pests and diseases that can cause damage to their leaves and bark. Common pests include aphids, mites, and leafhoppers, which can be managed with pesticide sprays. Additionally, a cherry tree can suffer from diseases such as brown rot or Verticillium wilt. If this is the case, it’s best to discard the tree to prevent further spread.

In the event that the tree becomes infested, discard all fallen fruit, leaves, and debris around the tree as they can carry pests that could infect other plants. Inspect the tree regularly to identify any signs of disease or pest damage. Be sure to also maintain the tree’s health by pruning it and providing adequate insect control.

It’s also important to keep an eye out for roots that appear near the surface of the soil. These roots can cause girdling in the tree and can lead to the decline of its health. If the roots are visible, they should be removed immediately.

Plant Growth and Maintenance

Once the ornamental cherry tree is planted, it is recommended to place a tree wrap around the trunk for a few months. This will help protect the tree from extreme weather conditions and also reduce damage from animals or pests. Water the tree regularly, especially during dry periods, to keep the soil moist and help it to remain healthy.

The ornamental cherry tree can reach heights of up to 25 feet and a width of 15 feet. The tree looks its best when trimmed and pruned regularly, but be sure to use caution to minimize the risk of damaging the tree. Never trim it too severely and be sure to avoid removing more than one-third of the total branches.

Lastly, remember to feed the tree every year as this will help it to stay healthy and will ensure that it continues to blossom with vibrant colors. Feed the tree a balanced fertilizer formulated for fruit trees such as 10-10-10. In addition, check the moisture level of the soil consistently and water the tree when needed.


Planting an ornamental cherry tree is a great way to add year-round beauty to a garden. When planting, it’s important to choose the right location and follow the USDA’s standard guidelines. Water the tree regularly until the soil is damp and keep a close watch for signs of pests, diseases, and root damage. Fertilizing the tree each year with a balanced, 10-10-10 fertilizer will help it to remain healthy, and tree wraps and pruning will help to keep it in shape.

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.

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