Yoshino Flowering Cherry Tree
Few trees put on a performance in spring like the Yoshino Flowering Cherry tree. Oh, how those magical blooms, also known as sakura, welcome spring with a grand breathtaking display!
Description of the Yoshino Cherry Tree
The blooms are white-pink, prolific, and smell faintly of almond. This tree has a lovely shape that is symmetrical, spreading, and generally rounded. The bark is smooth and gray, and as it matures has interesting dashed lines that break up the even surface. After flowering the Yoshino does produce a small black fruit that birds love (which is why we rarely catch a glimpse of these relatively insignificant drupes). These fruits are nontoxic and edible, but not very yummy to humans. The green oval leaves turn a warm yellow in fall.
Caring for the Yoshino Cherry Tree
Location. Location. Location. Before planting your Yoshino Cherry tree be sure you have the right location and conditions for your new tree to thrive.
Spring and fall are ideal times to plant. However, if you avoid freezing temperatures and extreme heat you can plant your Yoshino flowering cherry tree almost any time of the year depending on your location.
Yoshino Flowering Cherry trees thrive in full sun and are adaptable to most soil as long as it drains well. Water deeply when planting and about twice weekly for 2 to 3 months while your new tree is establishing. Once your tree is established you will only need to water during dry periods. When the soil is dry (especially during high temperatures) water deeply once weekly as needed to keep the soil moist. Adding a layer of mulch is recommended especially with newly planted trees. This will help keep the soil moist and cool in summer and protect the roots in winter as well. Do not allow the mulch to touch the trunk as this can increase the chances of pests and disease.
Fertilize in early spring and when planting to give your tree a boost. Choose a good quality balanced, slow release fertilizer.
Pruning is generally not recommended for ornamental cherry trees, but, if needed, prune in winter or early spring to remove any dead, dying, or crowded branches.
Pests and Disease
The best way to prevent disease and pests is by providing good care for your tree. Proper location choice, watering, and fertilization are the keys to your success!
Scale, Aphids and Mites are insects that can affect flowering cherry trees. You can treat these pests naturally with horticultural oil, neem oil, or insecticidal soap. For severe infections you can use pesticides like carbaryl, also known as Sevin. Tent Caterpillars and Cankerworms are sometimes an issue for cherry trees. These can be treated with an organic pesticide spray, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt).
Occasionally fungal issues can arise. Generally, treating after infection isn't extremely effective, so if you have problems yearly treat in early spring with fungicides to prevent infection. Neem Oil is an organic method of treating and preventing some fungal diseases and pests. It can be effective, but the entire tree must be coated in order for this method to be effective.
Yoshino Cherry Trees in the Landscape
The Yoshino is the perfect focal tree for your front yard. Build your landscape around this beauty and you will have a look you love and your neighbors admire.
This ornamental specimen is beautiful by itself or in a group. A group of three in a corner of your yard or a line of Yoshino cherry trees going up a long driveway is a glorious sight in spring that will welcome you home.
While this flowering cherry tree is known for its phenomenal blooms and ornamental appeal, it is also a great shade tree since it grows quickly and reaches 30 feet at maturity. Plant near a deck or patio to add shade and beauty in a spot where it can be admired.
Interesting Yoshino Cherry Tree Facts
- This amazing tree, botanically known as Prunus x yedoensis, is a clone of a single tree and propagated by grafting.
- The gorgeous Yoshino Cherry is native to Japan, but is grown throughout the United States where it was introduced in the early 1900’s. It is specifically recommended for growing zones 5 to 8 here in the US.
- The National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, DC. This was and continues to be a symbol of friendship between Japan and the United States.
- The Yoshino grows quickly especially when it is young. Under optimal conditions it can grow 3 to 4 feet per year!
The Lifespan of Yoshino Cherry Trees
You will read and hear over and over that cherry trees including Yoshinos have short lifespans. There are many, many Yoshino Cherry trees that are well over 100 years old in existence. With proper care these trees easily live AND look lovely for about 80 years. So, no, they aren’t long-lived, but they can definitely be enjoyed for a lifetime and beyond. The reputation of Yoshino Cherry trees having a short lifespan of 20 years likely comes from them being planted in highly trafficked areas where they receive unintended abuse from soil compaction and bark damage. In the average homeowner’s yard this tree holds up much better.
Bloom Period of Yoshino Cherry Trees
“How long will the flowers last?” This is such a common question that it seems important to address here. About 2 to 3 weeks depending on the weather. Here in NC it is generally about 3 weeks with the blooms often turning a deeper pink before dropping. High winds and heavy rain can cut the bloom time shorter to that 2 week season. This short bloom period is why these stunning blooms are a symbol of the ephemeral, yet beautiful nature of life. Yoshino Cherry blooms are a treasure, just like life. So, soak it all in and enjoy those blooms while they're here!