Pink weeping cherry trees are an exceptionally hardy and low-maintenance option for a beautiful and elegant ornamental. They’re adaptable to a variety of sites and provide visual interest year-round. Their arching branches provide a canopy of delicate pink flowers in the spring, and beautiful green and yellow leaves in summer and autumn.
There are many varieties of pink weeping cherry tree available today, so we’ll be going over the tree type in general here. In later posts, we’ll dive into these different varieties and see what makes them tick. In this post, we’ll be talking about the pink weeping cherry tree, its history, and how to care for this gorgeous addition to your lawn.
History of the Pink Weeping Cherry Tree
Weeping cherry trees are believed to have originated in China. From there, they were cultivated in 8th century Japan as ornaments for royal homes in Kyoto. These trees quickly replaced the plum trees that had been the favorite of Japan. The weeping cherry tree is now planted throughout the country and is nearly synonymous with Japan during the spring.
It wasn’t until the early 20th century that the tree made its way to America with the help of David Fairchild, an executive with the U.S. department of agriculture. In the years after World War II, Japan would donate hundreds of weeping cherry trees to the U.S. as gifts. The trees now stand all over the country as a symbol of friendship between the two nations.
There are many varieties of pink weeping cherry tree available today, each with its own unique features, but they all live under the umbrella designation of being weeping cherry trees. As a result, many of them share the majority of their characteristics with the original weeping cherry trees brought over from Japan.
Pink Weeping Cherry Tree Characteristics
The pink weeping cherry tree is a beautiful ornamental with arching branches which create a cascading fountain shape. In the spring, these are covered with delicate pink blossoms. In the summer months, they will be covered with glossy green leaves which gradually turn yellow as fall approaches. In the winter, its bronze bark stands out.
This drought-tolerant tree also attracts pollinators like birds, butterflies, and bees. Pink weeping cherry trees grow to be 20 to 30 feet tall at a rate of 1 to 2 feet per year, and require very little in the way of maintenance. Pruning is generally restricted to dead or diseased branches and shaping the tree they way you prefer it.
Hardy and able to adapt to most soil conditions, the tree only needs to be watered consistently during its first year and during long dry spells. Putting a 3-inch barrier of mulch down at least six inches from the trunk will help keep the soil moist.
Unlike other varieties of cherry tree, the fruit of the pink weeping cherry tree is generally considered to be inedible due to both its small size and its intense sourness. That said, birds love the fruit and by landing on the tree to eat, help to spread its pollen and seeds wherever they fly.
Pink weeping cherry trees grow best in zones 5 through 8, and can be found in zones 4 through 9. These trees do best in warmer climates with plenty of sunlight and mild winter temperatures. Generally, they also do well in all areas which are not the Southernmost states.
For more on this tree’s best environment, check out our post on How To Grow The Pink Weeping Cherry Tree.
Size and Spacing
A pink weeping cherry tree can grow between 20 and 30 feet tall at a rate of 1 to 2 feet per year. Pink weeping cherry trees grow quite large in terms of spread as well, so be sure to leave around 10 feet of space between the tree and your house or smaller trees and bushes, so that it doesn’t overshadow other plant life.
Most cherry trees require cross-pollination, meaning pollination from another of the species, and the pink weeping cherry tree is no exception. Most of this cross pollination is done through the help of honeybees. This tree also attracts a variety of other pollinators like birds and butterflies.
Pink Weeping Cherry Tree Care
Pink weeping cherry trees need at least six hours of full sun in order to thrive. However, they can also grow in partial shade with a less full bloom in the spring. The more shade, the lower the overall bloom count and the less ‘full’ the tree will look in the spring.
During the first year after planting, it’s a good idea to water your pink weeping cherry tree heavily twice a week. After this, however, you should only need to water the tree during very high temperatures, a long dry spell, or actual drought.
The pink weeping cherry tree needs very little in the way of pruning unless you’re cutting branches to control its size. Pruning should also be done to remove dead or diseased branches.
Diseases and Care
Common diseases to watch out for when caring for a pink weeping cherry tree are brown rot of flowers, general wood rot, spots, and knot diseases. These trees are also susceptible to blight, cankers on the trunk, and powdery mildew. Any diseased or dead branches should be pruned back as soon as you find them so that they don’t infect the rest of the tree or continue to drain energy from it.
Common Uses For Pink Weeping Cherry Tree Fruit
Actually, the fruit from the pink weeping cherry tree is considered inedible due to its small size and sour taste. However, birds love the fruit, helping to spread the tree’s seeds and pollen by landing on it to eat. It can also be mixed into birdseed.
Like most organic matter, the fruit makes for good fertilizer as it breaks down and so can be a welcome addition to your compost pile.
If done carefully, the fruit can also be dried, coated in sealant, and used for decorative purposes.
Where to Buy a Pink Weeping Cherry Tree?
There are many places you can find pink weeping cherry trees these days. Nature Hills Nursery has several varieties of pink weeping cherry trees available for purchase.
Fruit Facts / FAQ
How fast do these trees grow?
Pink weeping cherry trees grow between 1 foot and 2 feet a year on average.
How big do these trees get?
Pink weeping cherry trees generally grow to be between 20 and 30 feet tall, with a matching spread.
When should you prune these trees?
Pruning of dead or diseased branches should be done immediately after noticing them. Aside from this and pruning to control the shape and height of the tree, no pruning is required.
Can these trees be planted close to your house?
It’s generally best to give these trees at least ten feet of room away from the side of your house.
Can you eat the fruit from these trees?
No. The fruit from pink weeping cherry trees is generally considered inedible due to its small size and highly sour taste.
Wrapping up The Pink Weeping Cherry Tree
First brought to the U.S. in the early 20th century, pink weeping cherry trees are beautiful ornamental trees that have a long history of marking royal homes in Kyoto, Japan. Now, the trees are seen all throughout the country.
There are many available varieties of pink weeping cherry tree today, each with its own unique features. While the fruit of these elegant trees is inedible to humans, it’s a great source of food for birds, making the tree a favorite of birdwatchers. The trees also attract other pollinators such as bees and butterflies.
Pink weeping cherry trees do best in warmer climates with mild winter temperatures. They are hardy and highly adaptable to different soil conditions, but prefer rich, well-drained, loamy soil the most. They are also drought tolerant and require very little water past their first year. Placing a 3-inch layer of mulch at least six inches from the tree trunk will help keep the soil at a proper level of moisture.