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I was looking for a beautiful tree to put in my backyard for a bit of shade, and finally decided to plant a Yoshino Cherry blossom tree. If you are a fan of the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C., you’ll want to plant one too! Learn how to plant and care for the beautiful flowering Yoshino Cherry tree.

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Sally helped Clyde and I plant our Japanese Cherry Blossom Tree

About the Yoshino Cherry

Also known as the Japanese flowering cherry (it’s native to Japan), the Yoshino Cherry is a deciduous tree that blooms in late April. It was introduced to America in 1902. The Yoshino cherry is considered both a flowering tree and an ornamental tree because it’s typically planted for both its visual interest and profusion of white to pale pink spring flowers. In the summer, this tree will be a highlight in the yard with its oriental branching pattern, glossy bark and dark green leaves. It grows to 40 and prefers well-drained, moist, acidic soil in full sun.

The Yoshino Cherry is the star of the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. The first Japanese flowering cherries planted in the nation’s capital were a gift from the mayor of Tokyo.

The Yoshino Cherry blossom is a hybrid cherry of Prunus speciosa (Oshima zakura) as father plant and Prunus pendula f. ascendens (Edo higan). Although it’s native to Japan it’s now one of the most popular and widely planted cultivated flowering cherries in temperate climates worldwide!

  • Scientific Name: Prunus x yedoensis
  • Family: Rosaceae
  • Type: Ornamental & Flowering
  • Origin: Japan
  • Growth Rate: Medium (height increases of 13–24″ per year)
  • Mature Size: 40–50′ high and 25–40′ wide
  • Bloom Season: Spring (late April)
  • Zones: 5–8

Best Features                       

  • Produces an amazing profusion of white-pink flowers March through April.
  • Alternating leaves with a simple shape, often reddish as they emerge and turning dark green by summer.
  • Grows in a rounded shape.
  • Blooms attract butterlies
  • Produces 1” round fruits. You can eat them, but only small birds (robins, cardinals, waxwings) and small animals enjoy consuming them because the pit (seed) is huge in comparison to the flesh.

Here’s some full grown Yoshino Japanese Cherry Blossom trees on Marywood University’s campus. It’s a national arboretum!

Yoshino Cherry Pests & Disease

Cherry trees are susceptible to many stresses, including insect problems and disease. However, by properly controlling insects and cherry blossom tree disease, as well as watering, regular pruning, and using cherry tree fertilizer, you can enjoy the beauty and fruit of this tree on your landscape for years.

Some of the most common pests and diseases are:

    • Aphids cause distortion of new growth, deposits of honeydew, and sooty mold.
    • Borers attack flowering cherries under stress. Keep trees healthy with regular fertilizer applications.
    • Scales of several types infest Prunus. Horticultural oil can be used to help control overwintering stages.
    • Spider mites cause yellowing or stippling but are very difficult to see. They are usually recognized only after plant symptoms are quite advanced.
    • Tent caterpillars make large webbed nests in trees then eat the foliage. One defoliation may not be serious and small nests can be pruned out and destroyed. Use Bacillus thuringiensis when the insects are first seen and are still small.
    • A bacterium causes leaf spot and twig cankers on cherry. Small, reddish spots dry, and drop out, giving a shot-holed appearance. Defoliation can be severe when conditions favor disease development. Fertilize infected trees and prune out infected branches.
    • A fungus causes reddish spots which drop out leaving shot holes. Once the hole appear the leaves may drop. The disease is worse in wet weather.
    • Black knot causes black swellings or galls on the branches. Branches with galls are pruned out.
    • Powdery mildew causes a white coating on the leaves.
    • Yoshino Cherry may be subject to witches broom. Branches are deformed and clusters of small branches form. Infected branches bloom and leaf out earlier. Brooms are pruned out, to help control the disease
    • Resource Links

 

Growing and Caring Tips

Yoshino Cherry blossom trees should be planted in early spring.  If growing cherries for their fruit, a cooler drier climate is best.

When I read about trees planted within the last 2 to 3 years having problems I’ve found the cause is often due to either:

  • improper planting techniques or
  • inadequate care

Here are some tips for planting and caring for your cherry blossom tree, so you have the best chance of enjoying it for years to come!

  • Remove the twine before you plant: If the tree is b&b (balled and burlaped) and the twine isn’t removed, the roots could girde themselves and cut off the trees ability to take up water and nutrients.
  • Cut away some of the burlap and make sure none is above-ground: If not enough of the burlap was cut away and there is any above ground, the moisture will be wicked away.
  • Plant level with the ground (or even a little bit above): Many trees are planted too deep and young trees tend to show the ill effects within 2 to 3 years. Check to see that the trees weren’t planted too deep and the rootflare is showing.
  • Keep mulch away from the trunk: Mulch around the tree, but do not put mulch against the trunk.
  • Water adequately: If your cherry blossom tree was purchased in a container and severely rootbound, it might have trouble taking up enough water. Slow dripping the water is the best way to make sure that it’s absorbed. Get yourself a Treegator slow release watering bag. I use these — and absolutely 100% recommend them!            

Wrapping Up

Even though there are some diseases that cherry trees are susceptible to, it’s a beautiful tree that when properly cared for will be a show-stopper in your landscape. I work at a University that’s also a national arboretum, and we have many Yoshino Cherries on the property. All of them are healthy, beautiful trees. And, the arborist here also recommended this tree to me for my own yard! So if you want your own little cherry blossom festival in your own backyard plant a Yoshino Cherry blossom tree today! Not sure about the Yoshino? Check out my post on the Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry tree – it’s another beauty!

I will keep everyone updated on the growth and health of my tree.

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