Ornamental Cherry Trees: All of Your Questions Answered!

Many people recognize that decorative cherry trees add a unique touch to landscaping due to their stunning array of flowers in the springtime.

These trees, which include a variety of species and cultivars, offer more than just beautiful flowers. They also provide interesting foliage, attractive bark, and a pleasing form.

However, like all trees, ornamental cherries have specific needs and potential challenges.

Are ornamental cherry trees hard to maintain?

The maintenance level of ornamental cherry trees can vary depending on the variety and growing conditions provided. They need regular watering and benefit from annual pruning to maintain their shape and health. They can be susceptible to certain pests and diseases, which may require additional care.

This guide aims to answer all your questions about ornamental cherry trees from their basic requirements to potential problems and everything in between.

Whether you are considering adding an ornamental cherry tree to your landscape or seeking advice on caring for an existing tree, this guide is designed to provide the detailed, helpful information you need.

Key Takeaways

  • Ornamental cherry trees are generally moderate in their maintenance needs, requiring regular watering, annual pruning, and periodic fertilization.
  • These trees typically bloom once a year in the spring. While many do produce fruit, it is generally small and not considered edible.
  • Ornamental cherry trees can be grown in pots, particularly dwarf or miniature varieties.
  • Preventing diseases and protecting the trees from pests involves regular monitoring, good cultural practices, and, if necessary, pest control measures.

Be sure to check with my comprehensive Guide to Cherry Blossom Trees to learn about important care requirements, growing tips, best varieties, propagation, resolving tree problems, and much more.

How Tall Do Ornamental Cherry Trees Grow?

The height of ornamental cherry trees can vary greatly depending on the species or cultivar.

Some, like the ‘Kwanzan’ cherry, can grow up to 25-30 feet tall, while others, like the ‘Weeping Extraordinaire’ cherry, typically reach heights of 10-15 feet.

Dwarf varieties, such as the Fuji cherry, may only grow 6-8 feet tall.

It’s important to consider the mature height of the tree when choosing a planting location as the tree should have ample space to grow without interfering with buildings, power lines, or other structures.

How Long Do Ornamental Cherry Trees Live?

The life span of an ornamental cherry tree can vary depending on the species or cultivar as well as the conditions in which the tree is grown.

On average, these trees can be expected to live for around 15-20 years. However, with optimal care and under ideal conditions, some ornamental cherry trees may live for 30-40 years or more.

Factors that can influence the life span of an ornamental cherry tree include the tree’s growing conditions, its susceptibility to pests and diseases, and the care it receives throughout its life.

Do Ornamental Cherry Trees Need Full Sun?

Ornamental cherry trees generally thrive in full sun, which means they prefer at least six hours of direct sunlight each day.

Adequate sunlight is particularly important for these trees as it promotes healthy growth and abundant flowering.

However, they can tolerate partial shade, especially in hotter climates where too much direct sun can cause leaf scorch.

When planting an ornamental cherry tree, choose a location that receives plenty of sunlight, particularly in the morning when the light is less intense.

When Do Ornamental Cherry Trees Bloom?

The blooming period for ornamental cherry trees typically falls in spring, although the exact timing can vary depending on the specific species or cultivar and the local climate.

Some varieties, like the ‘Autumnalis’ cherry, can even have a second bloom in the fall.

The blossoms usually last for one to two weeks, creating a spectacular display that is often associated with the arrival of spring.

It’s worth noting that weather conditions can affect the timing and duration of the bloom. Mild, sunny weather often leads to the best displays.

Cherry blossom trees in full bloom lining a winding path.

How Often Do Ornamental Cherry Trees Bloom?

Ornamental cherry trees typically bloom once a year in the spring. The blossoms emerge before the leaves and create a stunning display lasting one to two weeks.

However, some varieties, like the ‘Autumnalis’ cherry, can bloom twice a year, once in spring and again in fall.

The timing and frequency of blooming can be influenced by factors such as the tree’s age, its health, and the local climate.

Do Ornamental Cherry Trees Bear Fruit?

While ornamental cherry trees are primarily grown for their beautiful blossoms, many do produce fruit.

However, the fruit is generally small, about the size of a pea, and is not typically considered edible due to its bitter taste.

Some varieties, like the ‘Yoshino’ cherry, produce very small fruit that is often overlooked. Others, like the ‘Kwanzan’ cherry, do not produce fruit at all.

If you’re interested in a cherry tree for fruit production, you may want to consider a fruiting cherry tree, such as a Bing or Ranier cherry tree.

Are Ornamental Cherry Trees Invasive?

Ornamental cherry trees are not generally considered invasive. While they can self-seed under the right conditions, they are not known to aggressively spread or outcompete native plants.

However, it’s always a good idea to check with your local extension service or nursery to make sure a particular tree is suitable for planting in your area.

Some varieties of cherry trees can become problematic in certain regions due to their ability to self-seed or their susceptibility to certain pests or diseases.

The roots of ornamental cherry trees can be problematic if the tree is planted too close to underground systems, sidewalks, buildings, etc.

Are Ornamental Cherry Trees Poisonous to Dogs?

Ornamental cherry trees are not generally considered poisonous to dogs. However, the pits of the cherry fruit contain cyanide, a toxic substance.

While the fruit of ornamental cherry trees is typically small and not abundant, if a dog were to eat a large quantity of the pits, it could potentially cause harm.

As a precaution, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your pet and prevent them from eating the fruit or pits if possible.

Are Ornamental Cherry Trees Fast-Growing?

The growth rate of ornamental cherry trees can vary depending on the specific species or cultivar as well as the growing conditions.

On average, these trees are considered to have a medium growth rate, typically gaining 1 to 2 feet per year. However, under optimal conditions, some varieties may grow faster.

It’s worth noting that while fast-growing trees can provide quick results, they often have shorter life spans and can be more susceptible to certain pests and diseases.

Cherry blossom tree covered in white flowers.

Do Ornamental Cherry Trees Attract Bees?

Yes, ornamental cherry trees are known to attract bees. The trees’ abundant, nectar-rich blossoms are highly attractive to a variety of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and birds.

This makes ornamental cherry trees a great choice if you’re looking to support local wildlife and boost biodiversity in your garden.

However, if you or a family member is allergic to bee stings, you may want to consider this when deciding where to plant the tree.

Can Ornamental Cherry Trees Be Grown From Cuttings?

Yes, ornamental cherry trees can be grown from cuttings, but the process can be challenging. The best time to take cuttings is in the late spring or early summer when the tree is actively growing.

Cuttings should be taken from healthy, disease-free branches and should be planted in a well-draining medium, kept moist, and placed in a location with indirect light.

It’s important to note that while growing trees from cuttings can be a rewarding process, it requires patience and care, and success rates can vary.

Can You Grow Ornamental Cherry Trees From Seeds?

Yes, it is possible to grow ornamental cherry trees from seeds, but it can be a complex and time-consuming process.

The seeds need to go through a process called stratification, which involves exposing them to cold temperatures for a period of time to mimic winter conditions. This process can take several months.

After stratification, the seeds can be planted in a well-draining soil mix and should germinate within a few weeks.

Be aware that trees grown from seed may not always resemble the parent tree due to genetic variation.

How Do You Plant Ornamental Cherry Trees?

Planting an ornamental cherry tree involves several steps.

  1. First, choose a location that receives full sun and has well-draining soil. The hole for the tree should be twice as wide as the root ball but no deeper.
  2. Place the tree in the hole, making sure the top of the root ball is level with the ground surface.
  3. Backfill the hole with soil, firming it gently around the base of the tree.
  4. Water thoroughly after planting, and apply a layer of mulch around the base of the tree to conserve moisture and suppress weeds.

How Do You Care For Ornamental Cherry Trees?

Caring for ornamental cherry trees involves regular watering, annual pruning, and periodic fertilization.

  • Water the tree regularly, especially during dry periods, but avoid overwatering as this can lead to root rot.
  • Prune the tree in late winter or early spring to remove dead or diseased wood and to maintain its shape.
  • Apply a balanced fertilizer in early spring to promote healthy growth and abundant flowering.
  • Monitor the tree for signs of pests or diseases, and treat as necessary.

How Do You Prune Ornamental Cherry Trees?

Pruning ornamental cherry trees should be done in late winter or early spring before the new growth starts.

Begin by removing any dead, diseased, or damaged branches. Then, thin out any crowded branches to allow light and air to reach the tree’s interior.

If necessary, you can also reduce the height or spread of the tree by pruning back to a side branch or bud. Always make clean, angled cuts just above a bud or branch to promote healthy regrowth.

Are Ornamental Cherry Trees Drought-Tolerant?

While ornamental cherry trees can tolerate short periods of drought once established, they generally prefer consistent moisture.

During dry periods, it’s important to water these trees regularly, especially young trees that are still establishing their root systems. However, avoid overwatering as this can lead to root rot.

Mulching around the base of the tree can help conserve moisture and keep the roots cool.

What Is the Best Time To Plant Ornamental Cherry Trees?

The best time to plant ornamental cherry trees is early spring or fall.

Planting in the spring gives the tree a chance to establish its roots before the hot summer weather arrives. Planting in the fall takes advantage of the cooler temperatures and fall rains.

Avoid planting when the ground is frozen or waterlogged. If you’re planting a container-grown tree, it can be planted at any time of the year, provided you can give it enough water.

Can Ornamental Cherry Trees Grow in Pots?

Yes, certain varieties of ornamental cherry trees can be grown in pots, particularly dwarf or miniature varieties.

When growing a cherry tree in a pot, it’s important to choose a container that is large enough to accommodate the tree’s root system with ample drainage holes to prevent waterlogging.

The tree will need regular watering because pots can dry out faster than garden soil.

Additionally, potted cherry trees may require more frequent feeding as nutrients can leach out of the pot with watering.

How Do You Prevent Diseases in Ornamental Cherry Trees?

Preventing diseases in ornamental cherry trees involves several strategies:

  • Choose disease-resistant varieties whenever possible.
  • Ensure the tree is planted in a suitable location with well-draining soil and plenty of sunlight as damp, shady conditions can promote disease.
  • Regularly prune the tree to improve air circulation and remove any diseased or dead wood.
  • Keep the area around the tree clean and free of fallen leaves or fruit, which can harbor disease pathogens.

How Do You Protect Ornamental Cherry Trees From Pests?

Protecting ornamental cherry trees from pests involves regular monitoring, good cultural practices, and, if necessary, the use of pest control measures.

Regularly inspect the tree for signs of pests, such as chewed leaves or the presence of insects themselves.

Maintain the tree’s health through proper watering, feeding, and pruning as healthy trees are less susceptible to pest infestations.

If pests are present, consider using a targeted pesticide or introducing beneficial insects that prey on the pests.

What To Plant Under Cherry Trees?

When choosing plants to grow under cherry trees, consider plants that enjoy similar conditions, namely well-draining soil and full to partial sun.

Low-growing perennials, ground covers, and bulbs can work well.

Some good choices might include hostas, ferns, astilbe, or spring-flowering bulbs like daffodils and tulips.

Avoid planting anything that requires deep cultivation as this can damage the tree’s roots.

Wrapping It Up

Ornamental cherry trees are a beautiful addition to any landscape, offering stunning spring blossoms and attractive foliage.

While they do require some care and attention, with the right knowledge and practices, they can thrive for many years. We hope this guide has provided you with the information you need.