How to Care for a Weeping Cherry Tree

Опубликовал Admin
12-02-2021, 22:10
Weeping cherry trees (Prunus subhirtella var. pendula) are ornamental trees that are planted for their spectacular show of pink or white spring flowers. Their gracefully weeping branches make them enjoyable all year round, though, and some cultivars will develop bright red or orange fall colors. They vary in mature height from 8 to 40 feet (2.4 to 12 m), depending on the cultivar, and are hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 to 8. Even though they look like they would be difficult to grow successfully, they are one of the easiest trees to care for. A well-cared for weeping cherry will grow 1 to 2 feet per year, put on fresh, healthy green leaves each year and bloom profusely in the spring.

Watering Your Tree

  1. Water the weeping cherry a few times each week for the first few months after planting. Keep the soil moist to a depth of 1 to 1 1/2 feet. Check the depth of the moisture about an hour after watering with a soil probe.
    • Soil probes are narrow metal rods that push through the soil easily when it is wet but are met with resistance when the soil is dry. Push the soil probe into the soil about 1 foot away from the tree trunk until it stops sliding easily. Pull the probe back out of the soil and measure how deep it slid. If it is less than 1 foot, give the tree more water.
  2. Water the tree once or twice each week after the first few weeks. It can tolerate dry soils after it has been planted for a few years but, for the first two to three years, the soil should not be allowed to dry out completely. Letting the soil dry will drought-stress the tree and probably kill it.
    • If it looks wilted, water it immediately and make sure the soil is kept moist.
  3. Irrigate around the tree’s trunk. The root structure of weeping cherries extends out into the soil at least a foot or two beyond the branches. The water should be dispersed evenly over the soil all the way around the tree extending out a few feet beyond the edge of the branches. This is where the moisture must be in order to be available to the tree.
  4. Spread a 2- to 3-inch depth of organic mulch around the tree extending 2 to 3 feet out from the trunk. This will help keep the soil moist for longer periods of time. Keep the mulch a few inches away from the trunk, though.
    • If the mulch is pushed right up against the trunk, it will keep the bark too moist, resulting in damage and disease.
  5. Recognize signs that your tree is getting too much or too little water. When mature leaves wilt, curl, turn brown or yellow and fall from the tree during the spring and summer, the weeping cherry is not getting enough water.
    • When immature leaves turn pale, new branch growth wilts and the leaves stay green but become brittle, the weeping cherry tree is getting too much water.

Fertilizing and Pruning Your Tree

  1. Give the weeping cherry tree fertilizer in the spring after it begins to get new leaves. Do not give it fertilizer during the first year after it has been planted. Wait until the second year. Giving it fertilizer at this time will cause it to grow too quickly which will stress and damage the roots.
  2. Pick out a healthy fertilizer. Use fertilizer with a 10-10-10 (Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potash or N-P-K) ratio and sprinkle it evenly over the soil. Usually, 1/4 to 1/2 cup of fertilizer is plenty but this varies.
    • Follow the fertilizer manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Spread the fertilizer around the tree. The fertilizer should be spread from a few inches away from the trunk to 3 feet beyond the edge of the branches all the way around the tree. Water the tree generously after spreading the fertilizer to wash it down into the soil.
  4. Recognize signs that your tree is being fed too little or too much. A well-fertilized weeping cherry tree will grow vigorously and bloom profusely. If the tree seems to be growing slowly, give it another dose of fertilizer toward the end of spring.
    • Do not give your tree fertilizer after mid-summer as it will encourage new, lush growth that may not mature before winter. Immature or unhardened branch growth could be damaged by winter weather.
  5. Prune your tree after it finishes flowering (optional). Weeping cherry trees do not always need to be pruned but, if the branches are looking a bit scraggly and you would like to neaten them up, they can be pruned right after they finish flowering, in the winter or in early spring.
  6. Use sharp bypass-type hand pruners and prune each stem individually. Make the pruning cut 1/8- to 1/4-inch above a leaf. New branches will grow from the area right below where the pruning cut was made.

Combating Pests and Diseases

  1. Recognize different kinds of pests. Unfortunately, weeping cherry trees are susceptible to a variety of pest infestations. Aphids, borers, caterpillars and scale insects may attack the tree.
  2. Spray your tree to fight aphids. Aphids, tiny soft-bodied insects that are usually green or red, can usually be controlled by spraying the tree with a strong spray of water from the garden hose. This crushes them and knocks them to the ground.
    • Aphids rarely manage to get back on the tree but, if they return, spray them off again. It may need to be done once or twice each week while the aphids are active.
  3. Combat borers. Borers leave holes in the bark on the stems and trunk. Usually the holes are not noticed until the borers have left. The top of the tree may wilt and the leaves may become discolored. There isn’t anything that can be sprayed on the tree to kill them.
    • However, you can use sharp pruners or loppers to remove the entire branch when borers are detected. Burn or dispose of the branch so that any borers left in the wood will not emerge to attack again. If the borers have weakened the trunk, the entire tree should be removed for safety.
  4. Get rid of scale insects. Scale insects are small, flat, immobile insects that are often off-white or brown. Remove severely infested branches with loppers or pruners and put them in the garbage.
    • Lighter infestations can be controlled with insecticidal soap. Mix 5 tablespoons of insecticidal soap in 1 gallon (3.8 L) of water. Put it into a sprayer and spray the tree until it is dripping, taking care to coat the undersides of the leaves and stems. Wash the soap off after an hour or two as it could damage the leaves if it is left on the tree.
  5. Combat caterpillars. Caterpillars will make nests or tents in the weeping cherry branches and eat the leaves. Remove the nests by hand or with a long stick and put them in the garbage or step on them to kill the caterpillars.
  6. Consider the kinds of disease your tree might be attacked by. Weeping cherry trees can develop canker, crown rot, root rots, leaf spots, rust and verticillium wilt.
  7. Cut away cankers. Cankers are bacterial or fungal infections that cause darkened patches of bark that often ooze sap. Remove the entire branch with sharp pruners or loppers when cankers appear. If cankers develop on the trunk, it will be weakened and the tree should be removed for safety.
  8. Combat crown and root rots. These rots are caused by a fungal or bacterial infection. These infections take hold when the crown or roots are kept too wet. The most common symptoms of these diseases are wilting and yellow or brown leaves that may drop from the tree.
    • When weeping cherries contract these disease they often cannot be saved. Try digging the soil away from the crown and top roots carefully and let them dry for a while before watering again.
  9. Watch out for rust. Rust is a fungal infection that causes orange, powdery-looking areas on the leaves. Remove the infected leaves and clean up debris from around the tree.
  10. Look for leaf spots. Leaf spots are brown or black spots on the leaves which are caused by bacteria or fungi. Remove the infected leaves and clean up debris.
    • Do not wet the leaves when watering as this is conducive to rust and leaf spot infections.


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