Pruning weeping cherry trees

Ornamental cherry trees, also called Japanese cherry trees or Prunus, are very beautiful ornamental trees.

Key Ornamental Cherry tree facts

Name – Prunus serrulata
Family – Rosaceae
Type – tree

Height – 16 to 40 feet (5 to 12 meters)
Exposure – full sun
Soil – ordinary, well drained

Foliage – deciduous
Flowering – March-April

Pruning and care definitely help it to grow and bloom.

Planting ornamental cherry tree

It is recommended to plant in fall, before the first frost spells, to give the roots time to grow.
If you plant your Japanese cherry tree in winter, proceed only if it doesn’t freeze.

Just like most plants that have been purchased in pots or containers, it’s possible to wait for spring and summer to transplant it, if you avoid hot spells.

If this is the case, it will be necessary to water regularly over the first few months after planting.

Pruning a Japanese cherry tree

The only pruning that is really important is the removing of dead wood.

Don’t prune before the blooming, but wait until it is over to reduce tree size or balance the branches, if needed.

Ornamental cherry tree or Prunus varieties

The most common varieties are the ‘Kanzan’, which in spring bear spectacular blooms.

Other varieties are the ‘Kiku Shidare Sakura’, ‘Hokusai’ and ‘Accolade’. These last ones are smaller than the ‘Kanzan’, and grow to be 20 to 26 feet (6 to 8 meters) tall, and also cover themselves with beautiful spring flowers.

Lastly, if a small Prunus tree for a smaller garden is what you are looking for, check out the ‘Amanogawa’ variety.

  • Did you know…? Ornamental cherry trees or Japanese cherry trees are part of same family as traditional cherry-bearing cherry trees.

Learn more about ornamental cherry trees

An ornamental cherry trees is absolutely magnificent. It brightens our first spring days with abundant flowers in hues that range from white to pink.

This time span, although quite short, will turn your garden in to a burst of color that signals that warmer weather is just about to come back.

Smart tip about ornamental cherry trees, Prunus trees

Avoid places that are too exposed to wind so that the fragile blooms aren’t swept away too soon!

Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Ornamental cherry tree, whole by Hans Braxmeier under license
Ornamental cherry blossoms by prom under license
On Instagram : double-flowered ornamental cherry by Hans Braxmeier under license

Weeping Cherry Pruning – Steps To Trim A Weeping Cherry Tree

Weeping cherry trees have become very popular over the past few years due to their grace and form. Many gardeners who planted weeping cherries a few years ago are now wondering how to trim weeping cherry trees. The process for pruning a weeping cherry tree is not difficult.

Is My Weeping Cherry Grafted?

Before you trim a weeping cherry tree, you need to see if it is a natural or a grafted weeping cherry. A grafted weeping cherry will have a graft knot on the trunk, normally between just below the crown to about a foot down from the crown.

Weeping cherry pruning for grafted trees differs from trees that have not been grafted. Below, you will find directions for how to trim weeping cherry trees that are grafted and pruning a weeping cherry tree that is natural.

When to Prune a Weeping Cherry Tree

Both grafted and natural cherry trees should be pruned in early spring or late fall when the tree is still dormant. When starting your weeping cherry pruning, there should be no flowers or leaves open on the tree.

Pruning a Weeping Cherry Tree That is Grafted

Grafted weeping cherry trees frequently develop a “snarl” of branches in the center of their crown which can make them more likely to have damage in the winter or during wind storms. Because of this, the snarl must be thinned out.

Start pruning the weeping cherry tree by trimming back the tips of any branches that touch the ground. You want them to be at least 6 inches above the ground.

Next when you trim a weeping cherry tree, remove any branches that are growing straight up. On grafted trees, these branches will not “weep” and so should be removed in order to make sure the tree stays “weeping.”

The next step in grafted weeping cherry pruning is to remove any diseased branches and any branches that are crossed and rubbing one another. The “snarl” at the top will have many rubbing branches and this will help thin that out.

After you have completed all of these steps for pruning a weeping cherry tree that is grafted, take a step back and assess the shape of the tree. Trim the weeping cherry tree crown into a shape that is pleasing and uniform.

Steps for Natural (Ungrafted) Weeping Cherry Pruning

On an ungrafted tree, the first step for how to trim weeping cherry trees is to trim back any branches that are trailing on the ground so that the tips of the branches are at least 6 inches off the ground.

Next, trim the weeping cherry tree branches that are diseased and dead. After this, prune away any branches that are crossed over each other and are rubbing against each other.

If there are any branches growing straight up, leave these in place. Do not prune these branches because on naturally weeping cherry trees, the upward growing branches will eventually arch down. If you prune these off, the tree will lose its weeping shape.

After you have completed these steps for pruning a weeping cherry tree that has not been grafted, you can do some trimming to improve the shape of the crown. Trim your weeping cherry tree crown into a uniform shape and remove any straggling branches.

Pruning a weeping cherry tree requires a light hand. These trees look best when the branches trail gracefully on or near the ground. Branches that have been sheared to a short, uniform length lose their flowing lines.

Pruning practices for weeping trees differ somewhat from those for upright varieties. We’ve put together an infographic that shows you how to trim a weeping cherry tree.

You can use the same five tips to prune both regular and dwarf varieties. If you need to remove a diseased branch from a larger tree, contact us for help.

Steps for Pruning & Trimming a Cherry Tree

Weeping cherry trees are a beautiful addition to any landscape. They need to be pruned once a year and look best when limbs are trimmed but kept close to the ground. Here are some important tips on how to trim a weeping cherry tree.

The first step is to make sure you’re pruning the tree at the right time of year. Pruning the tree when the tree is dormant is key, so late summer or early fall should be the perfect time. Make sure the flowers are not in bloom and cut the branches when they’re small. Before you start, be sure that you have the right tools ready. Sharp bypass shears are the best to cut slender, young branches. If the tree is diseased, be sure to clean the tools with rubbing alcohol to disinfect and prevent spreading of any diseased sections to other parts of the tree.

Next, remove a few inches from the tips of the branches that are trailing too long. Take some time to stagger the length of the branches and allow the foliage to trail near to the ground. It is important to remember that if one branch is removed, multiple twigs will grow. If there are suckers or water sprouts emerging at the trunk near the ground, remove those, as they can suck water and nutrients from the tree, causing damage over time. Be sure to take note to not cut new growth from the top of the tree.

A properly trimmed weeping cherry tree will provide lasting beauty in your yard if pruned annually. If you want to make sure that you know exactly how to trim a weeping cherry tree, contact our team of experienced landscape experts at Inexpensive Tree Care for advice today. We are happy to help!

21 Jul 2016 by WooSupport

Get 6ft Bare Rooted Weeping Cherries for only $59.90 each!!!

Right now is the absolute best time to purchase and plant our beautiful bare rooted weeping cherries. Choose from White and Pink varieties and add a splash of colour to your garden this Spring!

Because they’re bare rooted (which means field dug) the savings are passed over to you the customer. These very same specimens will retail for over double the price in Spring and Summer. They make a lovely centre piece to any garden or act great as a feature to your landscape design. And because they are dormant now, if you get them in the ground now during winter, you will have an explosion of blossoms around the end of August and start of September. Perfect if you are planning to put your property on the market this Spring, or wanting to impress your friends for that long overdue BBQ. The weeping Cherry is sure to bring joy and colour to your garden this Spring.

The Weeping Cherry tree is a superb blossoming tree that has both spectacular floral and foliage beauty and high versatility. These trees stay small and do not grow in height once planted. Instead they mature by growing a thicker trunk and a much fuller weeping head.

The Weeping Cherry tree is a superb blossoming tree that has both spectacular floral and foliage beauty and high versatility. These trees stay small and do not grow in height once planted. Instead they mature by growing a thicker trunk and a much fuller weeping head.

Highly recommended as a landscape feature plant, with masses of flowers in spring. It’s adaptable to a wide range of conditions including heat and moderate drought. Good disease resistance, flowers best in full sun.

Order online or call and get yours today!

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GoodSeed Farm Nursery & Landscaping


Weeping Cherry trees are very popular, but they are widely misunderstood. Weeping Cherry Trees
Published May 6th, 0218

Weeping cherries are one of the most-requested nursery trees, and one of the least understood. They also have a very high failure rate; after dogwoods they are our highest warranty cost item. We like to joke that each weeping cherry is actually two trees in one, so that’s why they have twice as many problems.
What we mean is that each weeping cherry tree has two parts. The roots and trunk (called “rootstock” by nurserymen) are actually a fast-growing sweet wild cherry (usually Mazzard or Mahaleb cherry) like the ones that grow along the roadside, but trained to a single straight trunk. The weeping part or “top-graft” is a hybrid variety; either double-flowering pink Higan cherry (prunus subhirtella) or “Snow Fountains” white weeping cherry (prunus “Snofozam”). The two plants are grafted together at the top of the trunk, which can vary in height between three to five feet above ground. The weeping section provides an umbrella effect if it is pruned regularly, or can grow 25 or 30 feet tall if not cut back.
It is common for sprouts or “suckers” to grow on the trunk or rootstock. If these are allowed to grow they will shoot straight up and take over the tree, ruining the weeping effect. There is a graft scar at the top of the trunk, just below the weeping branches. Anything that sprouts below the graft scar is wild cherry, not weeping cherry, and must be removed. This can be done at any time of year, the sooner the better.
People often ask us for “dwarf” weeping cherry trees. There is actually no such thing. Any weeping cherry tree will eventually grow to thirty feet tall and twenty feet wide if not constantly pruned back. The small weeping cherry trees you see in landscapes are probably still young; once they grow too large for the space most people remove them and start over. Clipping the tree each season can limit its size. If you cut off any shoots pointing upwards, the weeping branches will form a thick canopy.
Young weeping cherry trees are typically top-heavy and need staking for the first year or two to keep them straight. We’ve seen many people try to prop them up by heaping dirt around the base or planting them deeper, but this will kill the tree sooner or later (most likely sooner). Planting any tree deeper than it was growing in the pot or root ball smothers it and kills it. To keep the top-heavy young tree from toppling you must stake it securely for at least a year after planting.
Over-watering is a frequent mistake with weeping cherry trees. Cherry rootstocks are actually very rugged and will tolerate dryness, but are very sensitive to excessive wetness and will drown if over-watered. A deep-root soaking (five gallons or so) once a week is usually enough to maintain newly planted weeping cherry trees. Once the trees are established they should not need watering at all.
Japanese beetles and tent caterpillars love cherry trees, weeping cherries included. Spraying in May and June with BT or fruit tree spray can prevent this problem. Another fix is applying Milky Spore under cherry trees, which will control Japanese beetle grubs quite well over a long period.
People often ask whether the weeping branches should be trimmed off before they touch the ground. Our answer is no, unless you like the “bowl around the head haircut” appearance. Once the branches touch the ground they stop growing, so you get the effect of a gorgeous fountain by not trimming them off. Anywhere you trim, weeping cherries will fork. To get the best effect you should trim within a foot or two of the top graft. This will create more shoots and lead to a thicker appearance. The best time to trim weeping cherry trees is just after they bloom in early spring. Trimming at other times of year will remove the next year’s flower buds, so you won’t get bloom the following year.
Remember that a mature weeping cherry can spread 25 feet wide, so planting it close to buildings and pavement is a mistake. This is not the cute little tree you want at the corner of your house. You have been warned.
Steve Boehme is a landscape designer/installer specializing in landscape “makeovers”. “Let’s Grow” is published weekly; column archives are online at goodseedfarm.com. For more information call GoodSeed Farm Landscapes at (937) 587-7021.

From the Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary. Credit:Wikimedia

When an avalanche tears down a mountain, a revealing, if inadvertant, botanical experiment is sometimes begun. Though trees in the path of the angry snow are often ripped from their roots and deposited unceremoniously downhill, occasionally, overturned trees hold fast. Some roots of these partially upturned trees break and die of exposure. But some remain plugged into the soil. The tree survives and goes about its business, albeit in a very un-tree-like prone position. And almost immediately, something fascinating happens.

The overturned tree makes a hard turn, and begins growing vertically again. If you encounter such a tree in the forest many years hence, it will seem as if as a sapling, it decided to join a rebellious arboreal counterculture and then suddenly realized somewhere in young adulthood that it had better get serious about growing tall and making cones.

What this means, of course, is that trees can sense gravity. And, as it turns out, so can all plants. You may have never considered that plants might possess this magical ability, but they do. A potted tomato plant will do the same thing as the pine if left on its side. And if inverted (and rooted in a potting medium that won’t respond to gravity by landing on your shoes), the plant will make a U-turn.

Here’s a time-lapsed example of a popular houseplant called Coleus.

Possibly even more amazingly, re-oriented root tips — which never see the light of day and are physically constrained by soil — will abruptly change direction too, and start growing once more toward Earth’s core.

You could probably have deduced that plants sense gravity just by looking at trees growing on a steep slope. They don’t grow perpendicular to the soil. They grow perpendicular to the sky.

Scientists have a a name for this phenomenon: gravitropism. What they lack is a complete explanation of how it works. How does an organism that remains in one place its whole life know it’s been overturned, and, once that much is ascertained, how does it know which way is the new up? Once it knows which way is up, how does it go about making that hard right?

Whatever ideas you might have on this subject must also accommodate this startling fact: If you mount a plant sideways on machine that rotates it like a pig on a spit, the plant will *not* make a hard turn toward space. Instead, it will keep growing horizontally as if it had no ability to sense gravity at all.

Scientists have been studying this question a long time, and they are reasonably confident they know the answer to the first part of the question: how plants know which way is up.

Plants sense gravity, in essence, the way a snow globe does. Instead of fake snow, they use particles called statoliths. In conifers and flowering plants, the statoliths are food storage vessels called amyloplasts. Plants synthesize and store starch (polymers of glucose, which plants manufacture in their green parts from light, water, and carbon dioxide) in these granules. Inside the amyloplasts of the common bean the starch granules resemble variously sized cotton balls stuffed into a balloon. Although amyloplasts are usually white, the amyloplasts in this carrot root appear to be pigmented — perhaps they have been stained:

From Blancaflor 2012, American Jounal of Botany 100:1 143-152. Click image for link.

Under normal circumstances amyloplasts do nothing more than sit on the bottom of special gravity-sensing cells in the central column (columella) of root caps, and in shoots next to the vascular bundles that transport water and sugar. When a plant is knocked over, the amyloplasts slide from what was recently the bottom of the cell onto a formerly vertical wall, as you can see above.

This is where things get fuzzy. Somehow, this movement is sensed and relayed to cells that secrete the growth-regulating plant hormone auxin on the new undersides of root and shoot. The hormone has opposite effects in the two locations, triggering growth suppression on the underside of roots and growth enhancement on the underside of shoots. As a result, roots veer earthward; shoots veer skyward. Once the root or shoot reorients, the amyloplasts slide down into their original position and the auxin equilibrium is restored.

What is particularly fascinating about the way higher plants sense gravity is that the gross mechanism is not so different from our own. Plants and animals have independently produced similar solutions to a common problem. This is called convergent evolution, and it happens quite a lot on Earth.

Inside the vestibule of your inner ear are two chambers called the utriculus and sacculus. The cells of the lining bristle with sensory hairs. The hairs, in turn, are embedded in gelatinous goo. And sitting on top of the goo are multi-faceted calcium carbonate crystals called otoliths.

Otoliths, like amyloplasts, move. When you tilt forward, they slide, pulling down the goo and hairs with them, as you can see here. The pull of the hairs triggers signals to your brain, which are interpreted appropriately. Once again, sedimenting particles are the gravity sensor.

But in plants, sensor and effector are not connected by a handy brain. In fact, how they are connected is particularly puzzling because sensing and physical response are often separated by a fair distance:

From Blancaflor 2012, American Jounal of Botany 100:1 143-152. Click image for link.

The distance can extend to a few millimeters. You can see the issue here.

Scientists aren’t at all sure how the signal generated by the amyloplasts reaches the cells that generate auxin. A recent review article by Elison Blancaflor in the American Journal of Botany spotlighted experiments that have provided a few clues as to how plants translate falling amyloplasts into swerving extremities.

Early theories focused on actin — the part of the cell’s skeleton that builds thin fibers called microfilaments — because these fibers support and probe all parts of the cell and often transmit information. If amyloplasts suddenly shifted, it seemed likely that the cytoskeleton would be in a good position to notice.

Originally, scientists thought that actin might directly sense and relay the force of falling statoliths. But upon closer inspection, there was a problem: in roots, chemicals that disrupt actin microfilaments strengthened — not dampened — plants’ gravity sensing. And in other experiments, the lack of a fully developed cytoskeleton in the appropriate root cells didn’t inhibit gravity sensing either. How could this be if actin directly sensed amyloplast movements?

Actin could still be involved in regulating gravity sensing if it inhibits it, and the fact that altering actin had an effect at all on gravity sensing suggests this. Experiments reviewed in the Journal of Botany suggest that actin microfilaments may form a sieve-like network that regulates how easily amyloplasts move around. They could also regulate gravity sensing if they bind to or help lift amyloplasts off the floor of the cell, since how hard amyloplasts press their substrate seems to correlate with the strength of the gravity response.

Yet strangely, experiments with an alga called Chara have shown that at least in this plant, the actual weight of the statoliths is not what the cell uses to gauge gravity.

In Chara, gravity sensing and the growth response all occur in the same cells in the root-like structures of the plant. Chara uses yet a third heavy particle to sense gravity: vesicles packed with the high-density chemical barium sulfate. Someone interested in how Chara senses gravity decided to send some on a joy ride in a Vomit Comet — a plane, popular with astronaut trainees and Stephen Hawking, that flies in high-amplitude waves, producing the experience of weightlessness on descent.

They discovered that when functionally weightless, gravity sensing still worked in Chara as long as the statoliths were still physically touching the cell’s plasma membrane. The investigators suggested that it is physical contact with the membrane, not the pressure generated by the weight of the statolith, that triggers gravity sensing. There may be a protein expressed on the surface of amyloplasts that binds to a receptor on floor of the cell. The more the amyloplast pushes down on the membrane, the more proteins come into contact with receptors, and the stronger the gravity perception. Clearly, we still have a lot to learn about how plants transmit amyloplasts’ gravity signals to auxin-producing cells far afield.

Let’s now return to our plant-on-a-spit puzzle. You may now grasp why the plant acts as if it doesn’t know up from down: as the plant is slowly rotated, so too are the amyloplasts, like rocks in a tumbler. The result is a continuously changing growth direction signal as they sequentially stimulate all sides of the cell. The sum of these omni-directional vectors is zero. To the plant, the message is clear: full speed ahead.

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