What is Wrong with my Weeping Cherry Tree?

aubadeApril 10, 2009

I inherited a weeping cherry tree with the house I bought just one year ago. Last year at this time the whole thing was filled with flowers but this year there are only a couple flowers at the bottom of the branches. I pruned it a little bit, could that have been the problem? And if so, will it recover? I'm so sad for it. Here are pics:

As of today:

From Garden 2009

Same time, last year looking much better:

From Grow Peace! The Revolution Will Be Cultivated.

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Maybe there was a cold period that killed the buds above the snow line, the lower portions remaining beneath the snow and surviving.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 8:40PM
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pam_chesbay(VA 8a/7b)

In live in SE VA. The East Coast had a long hard winter and is having an unusually long cold spring. The Yoshino cherries are blooming now, but other cherries are not. This may be caused by temperature changes - several episodes of warm temps for a few days, followed by hard frosts and high winds. Everything is late. Leaves on native evergreen trees and shrubs are burned.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 11:18PM
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big_deck(5)

Stop pruning it and in several years you will have a show piece. I use fruit tree fertilizer spikes on ours and they are starting to look like an open umbrella.

I only prune the branches that reach the ground and only enough to allow the room for the mower.

The only thing you have to watch for is that a Weeping Cherry tends to grow surface roots and can be quite large (as large as the trunk itself). I tend to put topsoil over the roots to allow some grass to grow back where the roots have squeezed the grass out.

I agree about the winter/spring in the east, but you probably still have buds that have not opened yet. They will! These trees are hearty.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2009 at 8:09AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Tree spikes are a poor investment. Already purchased ones should be crumbled and scattered over the soil instead of inserted into the ground in columns, where only a percentage of the roots will have access to the fertilizer.

Regular substantial fertilization should be accompanied by sampling and testing of the soil. It is possible to poison the soil with too much of a fertilizer ingredient (phosphorus is a common example) as well as waste money on fertilizer that is not needed. Excess fertilizer from home gardens also makes a big contribution to fouling of the water supply.

The big roots coming from beneath weeping Japanese cherry trees are those of the sweet cherry trees they are grafted onto. With some care it is possible to avoid purchasing this prevalent but undesirable combination. I think some of the commonly sold Snow Fountains ('Snofozam') TM weeping cherry tree are being raised from cuttings; there has also been some grafting of Japanese cherry trees offered to the public on the Gisela dwarfing rootstock associated with orchard fruit tree cultivation.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2009 at 12:45PM
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aubade

Thanks so much all.

At first I also thought it was probably just from the cold weather we've been having, but then I saw a neighbor just a block or two away has the same type of tree and theirs was in full flower just like mine was last year.

Maybe they just have a different microclimate that protected the tree somehow?

In any case, I'm relieved to know at least it will recover.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2009 at 1:47PM
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big_deck(5)

Can't argue about the tree spikes, but I use them and this is what I have grown in 6 or 7 years. Only other fertilzer it might get is from the 4 season Scott lawn program I use?

The development this house/office is in was originally a strip mine (about 1910) - then an auto junk yard (1915-1955) - then a trailor park (1955 - 1995) - and finally all these homes went up.

The ground is full of car parts, engines, transmissions and chrome pieces. Long funny story how my weight lifting neighbor came out laughing at me when I was using a pry-bar and balltene hammer to get into the ground far enough to plant this thing. He was going to show off and ended up helping me as the pickax and any other tool I had did not penetrate the ground. Dug an 8' circle ring around it and filled it with water 2 or 3 times a day (as I could remember to do it) and this is in front of a house that I use as a office, so I am here all the time.

My hope was that it would eventually be a shade tree, but I did not have this property long enough to know what the sun pattern was in the summer - or not smart enough to take note before planting it.

No shade, but I do LOVE a weeping cherry!

Here is a link that might be useful: My weeping cherry

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 4:30PM
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big_deck(5)

Oh, and I am in North Central West Virginia - about 8 miles south of the Mason-Dixon line.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 4:33PM
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jqpublic(7b/8a Wake County NC)

Perhaps it blooms from the tips to the base of each branch? It sort of looks like that happened last year as well in your pictures.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 9:51PM
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dirtyhands08

I also live in southern Va and my weeping cherry did not have many blooms either. Actually none of my flowering trees did. I just chalked it up to the very cold winter that just didn't want to end.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 7:13PM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

Stop pruning it. No tree spikes are needed. Leave it alone for several years. IIRC they bloom on old wood, and you are cutting it out for some reason.

Dan

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 1:41AM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

It was said "Stop pruning it. ... they bloom on old wood"

Well, sort of "old" wood. They bloom on last year's wood.

So, the key to a full crown of bloom each year -- ignoring possible nasty weather events -- is to prune every year right after the bloom is gone. If you wait until later in the year, you will remove the buds that set beginnng in July/August.

The new wood that grows this year will support next year's flowers.

Don't give it a "bowl cut" which removes only the ends of the branches. But go all the way into the crown.

It's likely you can find instructions & images with an online search.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 12:31PM
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big_deck(5)

Not to contradict anyone, but the only thing I do, beside pruning as it reaches the grass line level to keep ground criter from more easily climbing on board, is to 'untwine' any branches I see (and can reach) that the wind has moved from a natural growth position.

If you are seeking to control how 'dense' the branches are, then certainly prune back to the trunk level AND seal any SIGNIFICANT cuts with a sealer - but minor cuts heal themselves better than anything man made. My rule is that if the cut is over 3", I seal.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2009 at 5:32PM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

My rule is that if the cut is over 3", I seal.

This is contrary to the literature. I spoke at a tree conf in Dallas recently and some guy presented before me whose topic was sealing wounds and he was listened to politely and sent on his way. It's sometimes nice to follow someone who doesn't knock 'em dead.

Dan

    Bookmark   April 22, 2009 at 9:50PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Tree seal is *not* needed. Skip it.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2009 at 10:46PM
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