How to Care for a Weeping Cherry Tree

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Weeping cherry trees make a stunning addition to the home landscape. They have a pendulous habit similar to a weeping willow, hence the “weeping” moniker. They produce strongly fragrant blossoms in early spring and grow to a height of about 20 to 30 feet, with an equal spread. If you properly care for your weeping cherry tree, it can live for 70 years or more.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden shovel
  • Garden fork
  • Peat moss
  • Organic mulch
  • Granulated fertilizer or fertilizer spikes
  • Pruning clippers

Pick a site to plant the weeping cherry tree. The site should get six to eight hours of sun each day. Plant far enough from buildings or other trees to accommodate the tree's spread at maturity, which can reach up to 20 feet.

Dig a hole twice as large as the root ball. Poke a garden fork into the sides of the hole, creating a series of small holes that will help the tree’s roots grow into the surrounding soil. Mix a 5-gallon bucket of peat moss into the soil you removed from the hole. Set aside.

Carefully remove the weeping cherry tree from the nursery pot and gently tease a few roots out of the mass. Place it in the planting hole and position it so that it will be growing at the same level it was in the nursery pot. If necessary, add more soil under the root ball to bring it up to ground level.

Refill the planting hole with soil about halfway full. Firm the soil with your foot without compressing it. Fill the hole with water, let it drain and fill it again. Finish filling the planting hole with soil. Firm the surface of the soil with your foot but don’t compact it.

Mulch the planting hole with a 3- to 4-inch layer of hay or shredded bark. Keep the mulch 3 to 4 inches away from the trunk.

Place a hose with a small trickle of water next to the trunk of the tree. Let it slowly water the weeping cherry for 60 to 90 minutes. Water the tree every three days until new growth is apparent. Water the equivalent of one inch of rainfall every week for the first year of the tree's life in your landscape.

Fertilize your weeping cherry tree every spring with slow-release granulated fertilizer. Apply the fertilizer around the tree out to its drip line and scratch it into the soil with your garden claw. You can also insert fertilizer spikes into holes dug into the soil near the roots. Follow the manufacturers’ instructions for application rates of both types of fertilizer.

Prune your weeping cherry tree in late winter or early spring. Remove any dead or diseased branches. Select main branches that are growing at almost right angles to the trunk and remove all others growing at smaller angles. These form the main structure of the tree and will send out vertical and horizontal fruiting branches.

Tips & Warnings

  • Preventing contact between the tree trunk and the mulch helps prevent slugs and other crawling garden pests from taking up residence in the mulch near the tree.

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