Trees

Complete Guide to Weeping Cherry Tree: How to Grow & Care For Them

Read our complete guide to the Weeping Cherry Tree for everything you will ever need to know! Tips for planting and caring for Weeping Cherry Trees
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The weeping cherry tree is one of the most popular and requested trees at nurseries. Gardeners will love the cute and beautiful look of the tree, especially when it starts to produce its blooms.

However, the tree does require some specialized care, and many gardeners find that the tree dies back quickly if they don’t keep an eye on it regularly.

These trees have a high failure rate when transplanting them. The stress on the roots and the foliage can cause them to wilt back and die, especially if it’s a young plant.

Each weeping cherry tree comes in two parts, making it twice as challenging for gardeners to maintain. The trunk and roots of the tree, otherwise known as the “rootstock” are a fast-growing variety that you’ll see on roadsides, and you can train them into a straight trunk during the growing season. The Mahaleb or Mazzard are good examples.

The weeping part of the plant or the “top-graft” is another hybrid variety. These varieties include the “Pink Higan Cherry” or “Snow Fountains,” as well as the “White Weeping Cherry.”

Nurseries graft the two plants at the top of the trunk. The weeping part of the plant provides the garden with an umbrella-effect with regular pruning. Untamed weeping cherry trees can grow to heights of up to 25-feet.

What Is a Dwarf Weeping Cherry Tree?

Many people make the mistake of thinking that the “dwarf Cherry tree” is a variety. However, there is no such thing as a dwarf cherry tree. Unless the cherry tree receives regular pruning throughout the growing season, and variety will eventually reach massive size.

If you see small weeping cherry trees in landscaping, they are probably young trees. Landscapers and gardeners will move the trees around the garden as they grow larger. Pruning back the tree keeps it to heights of between 3 to 5-feet, depending on the age of the tree.

During the growing season, the gardener should cut back any upward-facing shoots. This pruning strategy helps the tree develop a thick canopy.

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How Do I Plant a Weeping Cherry Tree?

  • During the first two seasons, young cherry trees are top-heavy, and they require staking to keep them growing straight.
  • If you don’t stake the trunk, the plant may collapse under the weight of the canopy and start growing along the floor.
  • Avoid trying to prop the plant up by planting deeper of mounding dirt around the base. Both of these methods attract disease and pests to your weeping cherry trees. If you plant too deep, it smothers the root ball, causing the tree to suffocate and die.
  • Stake the cherry tree for at least the first year until it establishes a robust root system.

What are the Best Soils for Growing Weeping Cherry Trees?

  • Weeping cherries enjoy light, loamy, and airy soils with excellent drainage. If you’re planting in a pot, then add a few handfuls of perlite and compost to a standard potting mix.
  • Work the ingredients together, and then make a space in the pot that’s suitable to accommodate the root ball.
  • Place the root ball in the hole, and then cover the base.
  • Stake the cherry tree to prevent it from falling over, and then press down on the soil to remove any air pockets.

If you’re planting outdoors, then weeping cherry trees prefer slightly acidic soils. Make sure you have adequate drainage in the planting site. Weeping cherry trees don’t like having “wet feet.” Constantly water-logging the soil around the roots will result in the onset of disease in the plants.

Add perlite to the soil to improve drainage and make sure that you don’t overwater the plant, especially when it’s young.

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How Do I Water My Weeping Cherry Tree?

Weeping cherry trees don’t do well in dry environments. If you live in a region of the United States that receives low rainfalls, you’ll need to ensure you water your tree throughout the growing season.

Weeping cherry trees require around 80-gallons of water every week to thrive. We recommend watering two to twice a week during warm weather. However, it’s essential to let the soil dry out between waterings to prevent the onset of root rot.

Those weeping cherry trees that don’t receive enough water will fail to flower. If you’re planting your tree in sandy soils, make sure you add amendments that help to retain the moisture after watering while still providing good drainage to the roots.

During the winter season, leave the roots to rest, and don’t water the tree. The weeping cherry enters a dormancy period where it recovers from the stress of the growing season.

Watering and fertilizing your tree during this period results in changes to its growing habits, and it may fail to produce flowers the following season.

Cherry Trees in Blossom

How Do I Fertilize My Weeping Cherry Tree?

You can start feeding your weeping cherry tree in the early springtime to encourage growth.

We recommend that you give young cherry trees at least 3-months after planting to recover from the transplant shock to the roots. Don’t feed the plant during this time, as it might result in a burn.

After the roots establish, you can start feeding your tree with an acidic fertilizer. We recommend you use a slow-releasing granular-type fertilizer for your trees. Spread the granules around 6 to 8-inches away from the base of the tree.

Tree and Shrub Food is Perfect for Cherry Trees

As the buds start to form on the tree in the early spring, increase your fertilizing range to beyond the drip line to spur new growth in the roots.

Try mulching around the base of the tree during the growing season. Make sure you use a high-quality, organic compost for best results. The mulch helps to release nutrients into the soil, and prevent evaporation after watering. Mulching is also a goof fertilizing strategy to prevent weeds from rising, and it also keeps pests at bay.

How Do I Prune My Weeping Cherry Tree?

If you leave the weeping cherry to its own devices, it can grow into an unruly tree. Weeping cherry trees grow quickly during the spring and summer months, and after a few years, a young tree can reach heights of over 10-feet.

Give it a few more years, and you’ll have to deal with a 25-foot monster that’s challenging to cut back.

Pruning helps you to keep your weeping cherry tree under control. Pruning your tree also allows you to shape and style it to a manicured stet.

After a few years, your weeping cherry will start to establish itself properly in the garden, and all the pruning with leave you with a beautifully manicured tree in your yard.

When the tree bursts into blossom in the later springtime, your manicuring will pay off handsomely.

  • Remove all of the water spouts that start to show at the base of the tree, and remove any new branches that look like they are growing upright.
  • Make sure that you prune any branches before they touch the ground. If the foliage or the branches do end up on the ground, it invites pests and diseases to infest the plant.
  • When pruning, make your cuts at a 45-degree angle to the trunk of the plant. This pruning strategy allows the plant to keep growing.
  • Thin out the branches of the tree to prevent them from touching one another.
Cherry Blossom
Cherry Blossom

How Do I Remove the Suckers?

During the early spring, it’s typical for weeping cherry trees to develop “suckers” that shoot up from the base of the trunk. If the gardener doesn’t remove the suckers, then they eventually take over the tree, preventing the characteristic weeping effect of the branches and foliage.

In most weeping cherry trees, you’ll notice a graft scar at the top of the rootstock below the branches. If any shoots occur from the graft scar, then they are wild cherry tree shoots, not weeping cherries. Remove all of these shoots as well.

Make sure you undertake your pruning as soon as you start to notice the shoots appear. The longer you leave the pruning, the more energy the plant diverts into growing the sprouts.

What Are the Disease and Pests Affecting Weeping Cherry Trees?

Weeping cherry trees do experience a few issues with pests and diseases during the growing season. Trees planted in flowerbeds are more prone to disease than those in pots. However, all planting locations are at risk of contamination, and the gardener needs to ensure they keep a close eye on the tree throughout the year.

Check for the signs of infestation on your plant at least once a week. Borers, scale, spider mite, and aphids are all a concern for the weeping cherry tree. Hand-remove any pests or eggs, you find on the tree.

If the pest infestation is severe, then consider spraying down your tree with an organic insecticide. Neem oil is effective at irritating pests, chasing them away from your plants.

Neem Oil
Neem Oil for Plants and Its Uses: Complete Guide to It’s Benefits

Weeping cherry trees are also susceptible to diseases like mildew, canker, and rot. Make sure your plant gets adequate airflow around the leaves, especially if you live in a region of the country that gets heavy seasonal rainfall.

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Hollie Carter

Hollie is a life-long gardener, having started helping her Dad work on their yard when she was just 5. Since then she has gone on to develop a passion for growing vegetables & fruit in her garden. She has an affinity with nature and loves to share her knowledge gained over a lifetime with readers online. Hollie has written for a number of publications and is now the resident garden blogger here at GardenBeast. Contact her at hollie@gardenbeast.com or follow on twitter https://twitter.com/greenholliec

5 Comments

  1. Geoff Surgeon Reply

    I have inherited an old potted weeping cherry. I believe that it has been in the pot for over 10 years. The new growth in spring is not prolific, so I am wondering if the root stock requires root trimming. If so, when should this be done and to what degree? The tree has great sentimental value to me and I would love to see it thrive, Thanks, Geoff

  2. Paul Palkovic Reply

    I have a more mature weeping cherry that in bloom looks terrific but after the petals have fallen the tree is sparsely leafed . Is my tree dying or do I just need to fertilize to promote leaf growth?

  3. Elizabeth Eubank Reply

    The bark has started to peel off the trunk of my weeping cherry. Will this eventually kill the tree? Thanks

    • Katie McManus Reply

      This is partially happening on some parts of my branches. Not sure why.

  4. Katie McManus Reply

    Hi. I bought a higan weeping cherry about a month ago. The leaves have dry black edges and some branches has the bark striped.

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