A blooming cherry tree is the first whistle of spring's grand arrival. You don’t see a tree as beautiful as the blossoming cherry tree very often. Owing to such charm, some festivals are held throughout the spring season to celebrate the flowering of cherries.
Cherry blossoms tree is dense and full. The trees thus cover large land areas in the aroma and shade of their gorgeous pink or white flowers. At the arrival of fall, the leaves of the tree go gold or bronze creating a different aura altogether. This way, cherry trees make a significant impact on the natural beauty of several cities.
A fantastic thing about cherry blossoms is that it's easy to plant and grow them. And the flowering cherries need much lesser maintenance than the fruit-bearing ones. Although it's an unofficial national flower of Japan, it's found in many countries across the globe. It just needs sun and soil with proper drainage.
That's much less labour for a tree so stunning. Here we'll learn about some of the most important things regarding the cherry blossom trees.
General characteristics of cherry blossoms:
Cherry blossoms trees are decorative trees. The flowering cherry trees typically don't yield any fruits. These are planted and grown for ornamental purposes only. However, there are a few varieties of them that produce fruits. But these tiny and tart fruits are generally consumed by birds and not humans. Flowering cherry trees are found in a vast variety around the globe but exhibit some common characteristics. Here are the general features of cherry blossoms.
1. Cherry trees grow fast and die young. Most trees get caught by some diseases that the tree stays prone to. Also, even the healthiest of them don’t survive more than 20 years.
2. Cherry trees grow up to medium heights ranging from 15 to 30 feet. Some varieties may grow even longer, though.
3. The growth pattern of cherry trees varies quite widely. There are three varieties available on this basis. These forms include spreading, weeping, and upright.
4. Cheery trees blossom with beautiful flowers in the spring season. Some of them even grow bronze or purple leaves in the growing season and stunning colours in fall.
Varieties of the flowering cherry trees:
There are numerous varieties of cherry trees growing around the globe. Over 200, to be precise. However, the most common types of flowering cherry trees include Snow Fountain Weeping Cherry, Okame Cherry Tree, Kwanzan cherries, Pendula Higan cherries, Yoshino Akebono cherries. Pink Weeping Cherry, White Weeping Cherry, and Autumn Cherry Tree.
1. The Snow Fountain Weeping Cherry is probably the most popular variety. It's a dwarf tree with a fantastic bloom that quickly catches several eyes.
2. Okame Cherry Tree blooms very early in the springs. The tree grows up to 30 feet and gives out dark pink flowers.
3. The Kwanzan variety blossoms fragrant rose-coloured flowers with multiple layers of petals. These are the most disease resistant variety of cherry blossoms.
4. The Petula Hogan is a weeping type of cherry trees blossoming light pink flowers. It also grows small black coloured fruit that's generally eaten by the birds.
5. The Yoshino Akebono is an upright variety with light pink blossoms.
6. The Pink Weeping Cherry gives an impression of a pink fountain with its arched branches and beautiful pink blooms. Post-spring, the leaves create a bright green atmosphere when the flowers disappear.
7. The White Weeping Cherry adds a touch of drama to your springs. The tree has got a shape that's entirely different from other varieties. Also, the blooms are unique in their bright white forms.
8. The Autumn Cherry Tree is a powerful variety of the tree blossoming in the early springs or even in the warm winters. Their semi-double blooms characterize these trees.
How to grow cherry blossoms trees?
Cherry blossoms trees are bliss for landscapers. It also makes a fantastic addition to your home garden with its subtle touch of fresh colours for springs. So if you’re planning to grow some of them, here’s how to do it.
Unlike most flowering trees, cherry blossom is more natural to grow. It can grow in full sun or a mostly shady environment as well. The tree is native to a place of frequent rainfall. It hence demands moderate watering for proper growth. So try planting it at a place where water is readily available. If that’s a concern, cut down the evaporation by choosing a partially or fully shaded area.
Cherry blossoms are also prone to some diseases. Hence, to save your trees from such threats, plant them in a favourable environment and take proper care of them. Below is a list of needs for the appropriate growth of the tree.
Cherry blossoms can be grown in all kinds of exposures. You can plant them in full sun, partial sun, or mostly shady places as well. However, ideally, they grow well in full sun. But if you’re planting them in a sweltering area, make sure it's shaded for half of the day. Cherry blossoms can even grow with half day sun or permeated light for the whole day. But this may lead to a reduction in flowering.
As cherry blossoms are native to a place of frequent rainfall, water is essential for their growth. The tree needs moderate watering during its first season to stay healthy. Thirty minutes or 18-inch deep watering once every week would be great. Once it grows well, you can reduce it to once every 2-3 weeks.
Cherry blossoms trees also don’t flourish in waterlogs. So make sure that the drainage of the place is proper. You can also build an 8-12 inches mound as a plant bed.
The preferred soil for cherry trees would be acidic soil. But that's negotiable, and the tree is quite flexible to grow in all kinds of soil. Make sure that the soil isn't waterlogged or highly wet. It should be well-drained and moist for healthy growth.
Use of fertilisers can work wonders for your flowering cherry trees. The trees would grow faster and healthier with fertile soil. Hence, make the soil rich with the help of compost while planting your trees. For mature trees, you can use a layer of compost on the soil near the roots once every fall. Another great option would be spattering a balanced fertiliser like 10-10-10 near the roots through springs and summers.
Keeping your cherry blossom beautiful and healthy needs a bit of maintenance. Pruning can be one activity that proves to be highly beneficial. The trees tend to grow very dense. So you can make your tree stay gorgeous by thinning it every year. The ideal time for pruning is the winter season.
Pruning can also save your tree from various fungal infections and diseases by allowing better flow of air. To do it right, look for the branches that aren't organized. Prune out all the branches approaching the tree centre or other departments. The aim is to keep the chapters well organised.
Taking care of your trees
The first step towards keeping your cherry tree healthy and blossoming beautifully is keeping the basics right. Take care of everything that the plant needs at every stage of its life. At the plantation stage, make sure you choose the right soil. Most of the trees would grow well in all kinds of soil. However, for weeping cherries, you should have a bit more of acidic soil. You can also use some mulch or other organic matters with the soil. A regular and moderate watering at early stages is necessary. Also, avoid waterlogs with proper drainage.
A cherry tree can thrive on a slow-release fertiliser. Provide them with the right fertilisers at the right time, i.e. springs and summers. Pruning helps maintain an attractive tree shape and keep it free from diseases. So at early stages, prune the tree to maintain the shape and let the air flow smoothly through the branches. Once your tree matures, it doesn’t need much of pruning.
Cherry blossoms trees are prone to a lot of diseases. It’s highly important that you pay attention to how your tree is doing. The very first thing to look for is the presence of aphids. It can hinder the blooming of the buds on your trees. If you find ants on or under your tree, take it as a sign of the presence of the aphids. As a first aid, sprinkle your tree with water early in the morning to wash off the aphids. Also, if you find ladybugs on your tree, let them be. They eat the aphids and hence are good for your cherry blossoms.
Other concerns with your cherry tree may include canker, borers, and black rot. If you find anything out of these, call the experts as soon as possible. Also, beware of the fact that regular watering is the best way of keeping your cherry tree healthy and free from diseases.
Possible pest and disease threats:
As it’s said, prevention is better than cure. The saying goes well with cherry blossoms trees. The best possible safety measure for cherry trees is to keep them healthy with proper care. Still, pest damages and disease attacks are pretty standard for cherry trees. The usual symptoms include tattered leaves, sticky sap on the branches, roasted tips on the branches, and growth of fungus on the root. The most common diseases are listed below.
1. Black Knot Fungus
The disease causes small light brown lumps that later lead to the breaking of the affected part. The disease usually attacks the tree joints and branches. If not addressed at the right time, it may spread throughout the tree. Separate the affected parts as soon as you spot them.
2. Silver Leaf Fungus
A silver hue identifies the Silver Leaf Fungus to the affected part. More often than not, the disease affects the leaves of your tree. The most common symptom of the disease attack is branch die-back. Separate the affected part to prevent its spread.
3. Black Cherry Aphids
Black cherry aphids are common in the leaves and twigs of the flowering cherry trees. The curling of the leaves identifies this condition. The aphids if any on your tree leave an excreta that leads to the growth of a black fungus. You might need to take the help of insecticides to get rid of the issue.
Pest and disease control:
Diagnosis of cherry tree diseases isn't easy. It’s always a good idea to get help from the internet or pictures in a book. You can also take a sample of the affected part to the experts at the local garden centres.
Use a chemical treatment only when you’re sure that it’s the correct remedy. You can even consult the local cooperative extension service office for the right information. A few tips for controlling pests and diseases are as follows:
1. Never plant the tree below the soil level. Wet soil surrounding the tree trunk can affect various diseases.
2. Don't let the mulch or any organic matter that you use accumulate against the tree trunk.
3. Disinfect your pruning tools in a 10 per cent bleach solution before and after using them on your trees.
4. Separate the infected part of the tree immediately after you spot them.
5. Dispose of the separated parts at a safe distance from the tree.
6. Rake up and get rid of all the leaves to make way for new leaves every fall.
Interesting facts about the cherry blossom trees
The cherry blossoms trees are said to be native to the Himalayas. It’s abundant and cherished in Japan, though. The country takes much pride in its rich variety of cherry blossoms. It even happens to be the unofficial national flower there and finds its place in their 100-yen coins as well.
The advent of cherry blossom in the US dates back to 1900s. Back then, the gifted Japanese thousands of cherry trees to Washington D.C. This changed the scene of the city which now hosts the annual Cherry Blossom Festival every spring.
Cherry blossom tree is nothing more than eye candies. They don't grow fruits and are mostly grown for aesthetic purposes. The flower petals are edible and can be used in cookies, cakes, etc. Surprisingly cherry blossom is the favourite ice cream flavour for Japanese and favourite perfume fragrance for Americans. And the Cherry Blossom Capital of the World isn't Japan or Washington D.C. It's in Macon, Georgia.