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Tree Profiles: Weeping Cherry (Prunus pendula), Part 2

This is the second half of a two part series on weeping cherry. The following examines how weeping cherry can be propagated, its damaging agents and pests, allergenic potential, cultivation, and uses.

 

Introduction

Weeping cherry (Prunus pendula, Prunus subthirtella, or Prunus subhirtella var. pendula), also referred to as the ,, is a small ornamental tree that is is native to Japan. It has a broad, weeping habit, and produces an abundance of of showy white to pink flowers in spring. These characteristics have made weeping cherry a popular selection for planting in landscape and garden settings.

Propagation

Weeping cherry can be propagated from seeds or cuttings. Propagation from cuttings is the more efficient method. In summer, a cutting can be pruned from a healthy weeping cherry. When removing a branch, select one that has two to four nodes and leaves. Perform the cut at a horizontal angle, and remove the leaves from the two bottom nodes. To hasten root development, dip the cutting in a root hormone. Once prepared, push the sliced end of the cutting into a container filled with fresh, organic soil. Place a bag over the container and transfer it to a sun lit location. Check on the burgeoning sapling once a day, ensuring that the soil remains moist. In two to three months, gently inspect the cutting to see if it has taken root. If roots have developed, allow the plant to grow until the roots have spread throughout the pot. The tree can then be moved to a gallon-sized container. Prior to transplanting the sapling, fill the container with potting soil. In spring, move the tree to an outdoor location. Allow the tree to acclimate to the environment for a week. Finally, the tree can be placed in the ground.

Damaging Agents and Pests

When healthy, weeping cherry is fairly resistant to disease pathogens and insects. When stressed or in a state of decline, weeping cherry can suffer from a myriad of pests and diseases. Some of the most common insects to infest weeping cherry include aphids, Japanese beetles, leafhoppers, peach tree borer, scale, spider mites, and tent caterpillars. Weeping cherry can be infected by black knot, various canker diseases, and leaf spot. If not sufficiently watered, weeping cherry can incur leaf scorch injury, especially during extended periods of drought. This results in the affected leaves curling, and being prematurely cast from the tree. Over-watering can render the roots susceptible to root rot. In winter, significant snow or ice accumulation can cause the branches and bark of weeping cherry to split. This creates wounds through which disease pathogens can infiltrate and infect the tree.

Allergenic Potential

Weeping cherry is a light to moderate allergen.

Cultivation

Due to its status as a popular ornamental tree, weeping cherry has been cultivated throughout its range. Some of the more popular selections include ‘Autumnalis rosea’, ‘Double weeping’. ‘Higan’, ‘Kanzan’, ‘Pendula plena rosea’, ‘Shidare Yoshino’, ‘Snow Fountain’ (sometimes referred to as ‘Snofozam’ or ‘White Fountain’), and ‘Ukon’.

Uses

  • The cherry blossom is the national flower of Japan, where it is considered a symbol of transience.
  • Weeping cherry is often used as a shade or display plant in parks, landscapes, and gardens. The dwarf varieties can be used as plantings near driveways or along walkways.
  • The blossoms can be used as ornaments or decorations.
  • In 1912, the Japanese government donated several thousand cherry trees to the United States.

Photo courtesy of T. Kiya CC-by-2.0

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